2021 Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo First Drive Review

Maserati is fighting hard for relevance right now. Its car lineup is seriously dated with both the Quattroporte and Ghibli. The Levante faces more adept competition. At least there is hope in the form of alpha on the horizon – ahem, maserati – MC20 mid-engine supercar and high-tech Nettuno engine. Also, with the Grekel crossover coming soon, there could be more good days ahead.

That is yesterday, but today we still have the pawns of the beginning of 2010. The current flagship, more or less by default, is the larger Quattroporte, and Maserati is giving it the Trofeo treatment for 2021 in an effort to get it back on our radar. Until now, the Trofeo trim was limited to the Levante. In quattroporte, the tropheo formula is the same. It kicks off in an unbridled version of a Ferrari-sourced 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine—red wrinkle paint and all—580 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. Undoubtedly, this is the brightest and best part of this car. The most powerful version ever produced was the Quattroporte GTS with a 530-horse version of the same Ferrari V8.

Very little work has been done on the exterior to let you know it’s a Quattroporte Trofeo, apart from the script on its front fenders accented with red colored side air ducts. Apart from this, the Maserati logo of the C-Pillar gets a red lightning bolt, and more carbon fiber trim is used. It comes with 21-inch forged aluminum wheels, a glossy black grille finish and the same comfort taillights applied in the 2021 Quattroporte lineup. Unlike the “look-at-me” performance offerings from Mercedes-AMG or BMW’s Alpina, Maserati’s Trofeo is notably subtle. The same goes not only for the Trofeo Extra, but also for the Quattroporte in general. The big trident in the grille announces its presence, but as has been the case from the beginning, the current generation Quattroporte simply fades into the background in a parking lot. Our test car’s beige paint certainly didn’t help. While most people like their big luxury sedans to be restrained and tasteful, shouldn’t an Italian sedan have some flair and sparkle?

At least the Trofeo will be recognized by the sound it makes. Even with a pair of turbochargers, the Ferrari engine and exhaust notes are unmistakable. Although the V8 Levante Trofeo is the same basic engine, the Quattroporte variant gets a new turbocharger, stronger internal components and new camshafts and valves. Power is transmitted via a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission – yay to the giant, column-mounted pedals – and is sent exclusively to the rear wheels, which make it largely all-wheel -Drive sets it apart from the competition.

Acceleration is traction-limiting due to that rear-wheel-drive configuration, but it still blasts from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Thanks to the new Launch Control system programmed into the new Corsa drive mode, thanks to this extra accelerator excitement (0.6 seconds faster than the GTS) too. It’s a serious song and dance of system checking to successfully activate mode switching, pedal pulling, and launch (we had several false starts before we figured it out), but once you do, the car runs efficiently and efficiently. Manages wheel slip for quick start. Line.

From there, the V8 is silky and creamy like expertly crafted chocolate gelato all the way up to 7,200 rpm. The right pedal is just an incredible tap of power you can ask at any time to send you off the road gracefully and quickly. Maserati sticks to a rear-drive layout that makes this car even more enjoyable, as you can rip a fat burnout at a moment’s notice, which is significantly more than the diagnostic acceleration you get from a lot of the competition. is fun.

And then there’s the Italian soundtrack. That’s enough to make you drive all the time in Sport or Corsa mode (the exhaust valves are open in both), endlessly searching tunnels and overpasses to hear the trumpet ferrari the world over and over again. When it comes to emotional force and pure music, none compares to the Germans who play behind the Quattroporte. We loved hearing that our weekend fuel economy figures were about what the Hellcats usually get in our possession – the 12-14 mpg range.

Unfortunately for Maserati, our admiration for this quattroporte ends once we move on from this superb powertrain. No changes have been seen in the chassis and suspension with the Trofeo trim, which is a shame. Maserati’s press kit read: “Thanks to the excellence of the chassis used on the brand’s two sedans (the Quattroporte and Ghibli), no changes were required to accommodate the increased power of the Trofeo V8 engine. “

We’re going to disagree with Maserati on this one, because the ride and handling of the Quattroporte is in a confusing state. It is neither a fast handler, nor a cosetting cruiser. Maserati uses a continuous adaptive damping system it calls the “Skyhook” and stiffness is adjustable via a “suspension” button near the drive mode switcher. While the ride gets tighter in sportier settings, the handling gain is minimal. It’s a celebration of body roll when you press it into a tight corner, and the transition between consecutive corners borders on sloppy. Add in a super-slow steering rack that’s devoid of feel, and this car’s lack of sporty nature is heightened.

This big sedan simply doesn’t like being pushed left and right like the name Trofeo. This isn’t a big surprise either. It’s a huge sedan and Maserati doesn’t have some new technologies that make such a big sedan so nimble through corners these days. There’s no rear-wheel steering, variable-ratio steering rack or active anti-roll bars – all three features helping the Quattroporte better handle the competition, while still maintaining its barge-like shape.

Many of these complaints can be put to rest if the Quattroporte Trofeo S-Class is swam with a feature like the one on the rough roads. But still the Maserati disappoints. Any of the Quattroporte’s contemporaries are significantly more comfortable – think Porsche Panamera, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This Trofeo crashes due to a chill on the highway, and it makes sure you know the city street you’re on is a bad one. It’s not just the ride, but also the noise intrusion. We get to hear the tires smack with cracks and smack at high speed over the bumps, the likes of which you would expect to hear at a fraction of the price of this car. The mirrors on either side of the car created an unreasonable amount of wind noise that creeped into the cabin above 70 mph, which isn’t great considering this is a car that can hit 203 mph. – Maybe the noise goes away by over 150, but we think it’s not.

It’s all a little disappointing after working so hard for the engine.

Maserati has found a bit of salvation in the Quattroporte’s interior this year, though. As a member of the Stelantis Empire (and, more accurately, the previous FCA one), Maserati gets access to the latest Uconnect 5 infotainment software for the 2021 Quattroporte. The system is quick, easy to use, and pleasing to the eye – who cares that it’s also in Chrysler Pacifica?

The rest of this interior is an example of superb build quality and gorgeous materials. All the leather is beautiful and soft to the touch, and like the exterior, Maserati doesn’t use it on the amount of carbon fiber. As for complaints, there are few. Some of the FCA/Stellantis parts bin sharing has window switches, turn signal stalks and quattroporte using headlight controls that you would find in a Dodge Charger or Challenger. That’s fine if you don’t know, but these are details that are impossible to miss, and they classify what is otherwise a classy interior.

The Quattroporte Trofeo is after all a basic engine to put in a below average car. The question for potential buyers is: How much past are you willing to look to get a Ferrari engine? There’s certainly no four-door Ferrari sedan, and even if there is, what would it cost anywhere near the Trofeo’s base price of $142,890?

However, we will have many other competitors before this Trofeo. A Porsche Panamera GTS beats it well in every category but the sound. The Alpina B7 does just that with ease. And give Mercedes-AMG a second to get an S63 sedan up and running, as an S580 is already out there and the Quattroporte does in both luxury and tech. It’s a tough crowd as you near the $150,000 price point, and while Maserati has an argument for connoisseurs of Italian engines, most would be better served by a four-door sedan not named Quattroporte.

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