A few years ago Maserati loaned us one of their new Levante SUV’s with a Ferrari-designed and engineered biturbo V8 engine under the hood. To say that I raved about it is an understatement. I loved it and I was very clear about how much I loved it in my review. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to rave about it because Maserati did something extremely cool: they created a new trim level called “Trofeo” and every Trofeo car – Ghibli, Levante, Quattroporte – came with that incredible engine and a corsa suspension setting. Those two ingredients made the Trofeo cars easily the most capable Maseratis every built. They were everyday drivers with absolutely mind-boggling performance capabilities that could embarrass everyone else at the weekend track day.
Today we’re driving the Quattroporte Trofeo. This is the last Trofeo car to be tested, both for GT Spirt and for….ever. You see, not only is this the final Trofeo model for us to test, the last of the Trofeo trio, but the trim level is being retired after this year. Ferrari will not be supplying it’s engines to any manufacturers starting in 2024, so Maserati will have to bring the short-lived but super impressive Trofeo line to an end. It’s disappointing because the Trofeo lineup was the ne-plus-ultra of the Maserati line. It was the best they had to offer and it was – and still is – exceptional. So what will replace it? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps a version of Maserati’s new Nettuno 3.0L bi-turbo V6, an impressive piece of engineering in it’s own right. It generates 630 hp and 538 lb-ft or torque in the MC20, which is more than what the Ferrari engine makes. Time will tell.
We loved the Ghibli Trofeo and we loved the Levante Trofeo, so what do we think of the Quattroporte Trofeo? On the outside, it’s standard Quattroporte with a few badges hinting at what it is. The Italian flag on the b-pillar. The red-accented fender ports. The “trofeo” script on the flanks. The “V8” badge on the rear. The design is attractive. It’s a beautiful four-door sports sedan. It’s sort of like a larger, longer Ghibli. Or rather, the Ghibli is a shorter, smaller version of the Quattroporte. You can see the problem: the two models are a bit too similar and they diminish each other by being so similar. Personally, I prefer the Ghibli because it IS smaller, but others may like and prefer the larger, more refined presence of the Quattroporte.
The inside too is very similar to the Ghibli. The biggest difference is rear-seat legroom. Otherwise, the layout is nearly identical and the materials are identical also. Rich leather, aluminum, carbon fiber adorn the interior. A large infotainment screen is the focus of the center stack. Buttons for the various suspension settings and driving modes line the left side of the center console, beside the shifter. A round knob controls the radio and infotainment system. The seats are eminently comfortable – you could sit in them for days without discomfort. They’re both heated and ventilated. If you can’t get comfortable in the Quattroporte, you simply can’t get comfortable in anything.
Press the Engine Start button and the Ferrari V8 cranks and quickly catches with a loud rumble that will get the neighbors attention. The engine is amazing. It generates a ton of torque (figure of speech, not a real measurement), revs to a respectable 7200 rpm, and makes the Quattroporte’s girth and weight disappear as it tears to redline like a crazed animal.
The engine is attached to an 8-speed transmission that the driver can shift using the large aluminum paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. They feel cool to the touch and crack off shifts as quickly as you like without breaking a sweat. This makes for some amazing driving when you really want to enjoy a good backroad.
The suspension is a bit on the soft side. It’s compliant but there’s too much roll, squat, diving for my tastes. The sport and corsa suspension settings cure this and provide a solid foundational baseline of chassis control that match the performance of the engine. Those settings are not too harsh for everyday driving either.
The steering is intuitive but theres no sense of feedback. A little more communication from the steering wheel would have been nice. Also, it feels too light. Too electric.
The brakes are Brembo units, utilizing standard drilled steel discs and multi-piston calipers. They do an excellent job of stopping and provide good feedback on what’s happening down inside the 21” wheels. The tires are wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires and provide excellent grip and feedback.
The stereo system is amazing. The clarity at high volume was sublime.
The mileage was decent. Especially for a bi-turbo performance V8. We averaged lower results than the EPA figures, but then we usually do on cars that are fun to drive.
Driving the Quattroporte Trofeo is enjoyable. On one hand you feel like you’re driving an exquisite luxury sedan, on the other you quickly recognize the performance potential that surrounds you. You don’t know whether to be dignified or a hooligan. Can you be both? Why not? So we drove around as dignified hooligans for the week that we had it, reveling in the luxury and performance that it provided.
And yet…there was something off. Something not quite right. The car was perfect, we had no mechanical issues. But…maybe it was because we enjoyed the Ghibli Trofeo and the Levante Trofeo so much that we were surprised when the Quattroporte didn’t sweep us off our feet. The Quattroporte Trofeo felt like the least of the three Trofeo cars. Maybe it’s because I just prefer smaller cars. And maybe it was because we drove it right after we drove the unworldly MC20 – and frankly, after THAT car nothing will ever measure up for us again. Whatever the reason, while still very good, it just didn’t light our fire.
If you’ve been interested in a Maserati Quattroporte, Levante, or Ghibli, the Trofeo cars are the best of the best and I can’t recommend them enough. The decision just comes down to what type of car you’re most interested in: SUV, small coupe, or large saloon. With the engine licensing ending in 2023, you’d best move fast to drive one and try it out. Move fast! Because they will.