2022 Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo Test Drive Review: Executive Sedan Absurdity

Test Drive / 6 Comments

The Quattroporte Trofeo is an absurdly fast car, but it's not quite in bananas territory.

You don't buy a Maserati because you want to fit in. You don't buy a Maserati because you want the world to make sense. You buy a Maserati because you don't need everything to make sense. You want things to be a little absurd, then stepping over the line into being bananas. That's what we expect from the performance version of Maserati's executive sedan, the Quattroporte Trofeo.

Traditionally, a long-wheelbase executive sedan is something that exudes style and not flair. It's powerful and handles well but smoothly and assuredly. The interior is comfortable, plush, has the latest technology, and doesn't risk offending the eye. BMW and Mercedes have mastered the art of the executive sedan, and other upmarket brands like Genesis are following the same rule book and are fitting into the market nicely. Maserati has never been about fitting in, though. The Quattroporte Trofeo happily mixes flamboyancy with style both inside and out. Under the hood is a Ferrari-derived twin-turbo V8, and while BMW and Mercedes have taken their executive sedans down the all-wheel-drive route, the Quattroporte sticks with sending its 523 horsepower to the rear wheels only.

The perfect recipe? Perhaps not.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright

First Impressions

In the introduction, we worked to avoid saying we want the Maserati to embrace Italian car cliches. But yes. we do. Particularly in the looks department, and that's where the Quattroporte Trofeo shines the brightest. It's a long-wheelbase sedan, but it has a short rear deck and a long, sloping hood. It also has lines, haunches, curves, creases, and more curves and creases because they look cool. However, the designers managed to catch the balance just right and not overcook the styling, although the highlighted vents on the side are a matter of taste. Unlike a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes S Class, the Quattroporte Trofeo grabs eyes and holds them as it passes.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
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Inside it's a similar story, and the pronounced carbon fiber weave across the Trofeo's dashboard declares an intent not to be subtle with its style. The whole interior feels beefy and solid, including the satisfyingly wider-than-expected steering wheel. The seats are wide and firm, which is unusual for a performance model. Passengers are just going to have to find something to hold onto for steadiness in corners as the bolstering is of no help, but the adjustable lumbar is stellar. Rather than pushing out what feels like a lump into your back, the airbag smooths out to nicely fill the gap you want to, and after a few minutes, it feels like it is part of the seat design.

Overall, the interior isn't quite on par with other executive sedans. It lacks quality in places, such as some of the switchgear that feels like it might be from the Fiat parts bin. However, it's bold and stylish where it counts and a comfortable place to be. Passengers in the rear have little to worry about as the recessed seats are super-comfy, and the Quattroporte offers the kind of legroom basketball players will appreciate.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright

One of the Maserati Quattroporte's charms is that it doesn't fall into the trap of throwing all the tech at you. We choose to believe the product planner drove an Audi A8 and then a Mercedes S-Class to research the competition, then just came away annoyed.

"Put real dials in the gauge cluster, and make sure they're old-school stylish," he said, but in Italian.

"Make sure the dials are clear and easy to read. And use the infotainment system from Stellantis; it's pretty good. Right. Off you go, lads; I'm getting more coffee," except in Italian.

Then he came back twenty minutes later, slammed the door of a BMW 7 Series, stomped into Maserati headquarters, and yelled at his staff, "And don't you dare limit it to 155 mph! Make sure the Trofeo version goes over 200!"... in Italian.

We suspect the product designer also loves music as the upgraded sound system comes from Bowers & Wilkins in the UK, and it's superb. The bass is tight, the mids are punchy and engaging, and the treble is balanced nicely, so you won't get tired of listening to any kind of music over a long trip.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright

Maserati Quirks

It wouldn't be a Maserati if it didn't have some odd design choices and quirks. The comedically large (and optional) carbon-fiber paddle shifters flare out so close to the edge of the steering wheel that you have to work around them every time you need to reach the indicator stalk is a real head-scratcher. There's a cigarette lighter and removable ashtray cup in the center console's storage bin that reminds us that rich Italians will damn well smoke in their car if they want to. Most confusingly, the trunk release is on the roof with the sunroof controls. That was frustrating to find. Another frustration is the slim compartment in the dash hidden behind a flip-out door with the wireless charger in it. It would be a nice touch if you could fish the phone back out again without cursing. That's the kind of thing any of the major luxury brands would sign off on.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright

Great. But how does it drive?

The Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo is fast, and in a properly old-school way. There's no all-wheel drive to help you off the line if you just stomp on the accelerator; the 538 lb-ft of torque doesn't care that the car is equipped with sticky Pirelli P Zero tires. Even on sunbaked California concrete, there's an underwhelming lack of acceleration to start with, and the Quattroporte Trofeo's hips start to wiggle. Just before you start to wonder if traction control has been turned off, the rear tires stop skittering and hook up, then warp speed kicks in. Off the line, it's a handful, but it's a guided missile when it comes to overtaking. There's no head-snapping acceleration when it drops a gear as the transmission isn't as razor sharp as some other sport sedans, but it just goes. And goes. Then keeps on going until you either panic about your license or breach the 200 mph mark.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright

There's no overwhelming array of settings when it comes to modes and drivetrain settings, either. The normal mode would be close to a Sport mode in terms of throttle response on an Audi or Mercedes. The softer mode you want around town is labeled I.C.E, presumably because an engineer was made to design an economical mode against their will and thought nobody would read the manual. I.C.E stands for (Increase Control and Efficiency) and slows throttle response dramatically. We put in some miles in on I.C.E mode, but good luck getting better than our 16 mpg over a long weekend. In reality, the mode is perfect for when you have family on board or important colleagues in the back and softens the ride quality somewhat. There are two suspension settings, standard and stiffer, and in standard mode, it's not remarkably smooth on the road and leans in corners like a crossover. We describe the other setting as stiffer as it still doesn't keep the chassis flat in corners.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright

The fun button is labeled Sport Corsa (Corsa translates to "Racing" in Italian), and that opens the exhaust up, stiffens the suspension, and makes the throttle response more aggressive. Hold that button down, and it gets more aggressive in the gear shifts and slacks off the traction control and other computerized safety nets.

Sport is enough, though, on a public road, and the rear will still wag its tail while the long wheelbase stops the back from snapping when it steps out of line. Grip and agility-wise, the Quattroporte Trofeo is crazy impressive given its size and urges you to go faster all the time. The suspension tuning is a little baffling, though, as that chassis roll is still there and is less fun for it. The exhaust isn't as raucous as we expected when it opened up in Sport Corsa, although when you hear it, it sounds great.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright

Should You Buy One?

If a Maserati weren't flawed, it wouldn't be a Maserati. The Quattroporte Trofeo's biggest flaw is the suspension tuning. Around town, the car is fine but get it onto a road that isn't as well maintained as it should be, and it's not executive sedan smooth. We would shrug that off if the suspension stiffened up properly or the sway bars tuned a little better. It does bring an old-school feel that's on-brand with the drivetrain when you chuck it around. It comes together more on a freeway or a long sweeping road where the power brings exhilaration, and the suspension works better with high-frequency flaws in road surfaces.

Don't get us wrong; the Quattroporte Trofeo is an absurd car. There's a reason BMW doesn't make an M7, Audi doesn't make an RS version of the A8, and AMG's S-Class models aren't quite as visceral as the lesser E63.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright

Turning a long-wheelbase executive sedan into a performance car is an absurd thing to do, and we love Maserati for having a crack at it again.

Absurd as the Quattroporte Trofeo is, it doesn't become bananas. For that, it needs a raucous exhaust, a stiffer sport mode, and a snappier transmission. Or Ferrari's flat crank version of the twin-turbo V8, although, understandably, Ferrari might not want that to go in anything but a Ferrari.

Does any of the above mean you shouldn't buy a Quattroporte Trofeo if you want one? Hell no. You clearly have money to burn, and anything but a healthy dose of absurd sporting luxury isn't going to satisfy you. The Quattroporte Trofeo is totally on-brand for Maserati, and it's fast as hell once it's off the line. There is room for improvement, though.

CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright
CarBuzz / Ian Wright

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