What to buy if your in the market for a performance saloon? Of course you could go down the normal route and follow the neighbours and go German, maybe even become a Jag’ man but what if you want something a bit different? A big more stylish with a bit more presence. How about a Maserati?
In particular the Quattroporte, a four door luxury saloon with style, character and charisma. There’s no denying a Maserati has this by the bucketload, and it’s this that leads many to take a look at the firm’s finest car of the early 2000s, the Italian carmkers flag ship model.
It immediately has some good things going for it, that will allay the first-thought concerns of many. The bodies don’t rust. The engines are robust and very dependable. The electrics may be complex, but they’re also generally proving reliable. Only the very earliest cars can be temperamental and, well, you’d expect that of any early-run car, wouldn’t you?
Maserati launched the Quattroporte in 2004, as a £70,000 luxury car with a 4.2-litre V8 producing almost 400bhp. Visually, it was beautiful, as was its interior, enhanced further in time with Executive GT and Sport GT variants. Only the jerky six-speed DuoSelect automatic really let the side down.
Maserati fixed this in 2007 with the launch of a new ZF automatic; installation of this was so complex, the firm had to extensively overhaul the underpinnings, although this also means these cars command a price premium that’s well worth paying. Things were further enhanced the following year with a facelifted Quattroporte, featuring new grille, lights, door mirrors and, inside, a neater centre console.
There was also a wonderful new range-topper, the 433bhp GT S, which was given expertly-tuned suspension and a spicy 4.7-litre V8 shared with the GranTurismo coupe that took it from 0-62mph in less than five seconds. This took it through to replacement time with an all-new car in 2013, and a few years of deprecation on, the range now looks a conspicuous bargain.
Matthew Sage was brave. He bought a 2005 4.2 Executive GT DuoSelect for £5000. Then spend £7000 putting it right. “Look after a Quattroporte and it’s sublime. Neglect it and it’ll be a money pit. New, they cost more than £70,000, so they have the parts and labour costs to suit. Brakes, suspension parts… they’re all expensive. That’s the bad. “The good is all that character. A Quattroporte has soul and there aren’t a lot of cars you can say that about.”
What to look for
Engine: The engine needs servicing every 6000 miles. There should be no oil leaks and it should run smoothly – any roughness is often traced back to a dodgy air flow meter.
Gearbox: The ZF automatic is tough; the DuoSelect ‘box, less so. If gear selection is clunky, revs rise randomly and the car actually stalls, trouble is ahead. Despite being an auto, it can eat clutches in just 12,000 miles; it’s a £1500 fix.
Suspension: Look at the tyres for uneven wear, as the suspension is easily knocked out of alignment. Feel for excessive wear in the steering system, and try to sense for broken springs and dampers, failed anti-roll bar links. At least Skyhook suspension electrics themselves are solid.
Body: Make sure the folding mirrors fold, that the bonnet latch works correctly and the soft-close boot actually closes. Kerbed wheels are common, sadly. Make sure a 2006 recall about randomly-opening doors has been carried out.
Interior: Check the windows work. And the headlights. And that the glovebox closes. Worn leather is common.
What to pay
Under £12,000: The very first Quattroportes. If you’re brave, pay as little as £6000
£12,000-£13,995 : You’ll be able to get an early Executive or Sport for this money
£14,000-£16,995 : Average mileage 2007 cars and low-mileage early models
£17,000-£18,495: The pick of the best Quattroportes up to 2007
£18,500- £21,995: 2007-2009 cars with average mileages and lots of equipment
£22,000 AND ABOVE : The very best late-plate cars; pay up to £35,000
*Courtesy Rob Adams – Autocar/iNews