A trip in a Maserati through the land where the world’s major religions all started will make you a true believer.
There’s a piece of hotly contested land that lies underneath an Iron Dome. It hardly rains there and when it does, it’s more likely to be Hezbollah rockets than H2O droplets, but that’s precisely where I woke up when my airplane bounced on the runway, the jolt coinciding with the moment the plane I was riding in my dreams was hit by one of those rockets. Needless to say, my hand was shaking when I signed the papers granting me access to a Maserati Quattroporte S GranLusso later that day, thanks to the guys at Auto Italia.
I hadn’t come to Israel with the intent of driving the Maserati Quattroporte, its name literally translating to “four doors” in Italian, but no sane enthusiast would turn down a Trident-badged luxury cruiser if it’s offered. And once I was out of the nerve-wracking hustling and bustling expanse of traffic that's known as Tel Aviv, Israel’s straight and long cross country roads became the perfect place to open up the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. With 410 horsepower trickling through an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission and out to the rear wheels, the Quattroporte is no slouch, launching from 0-62 mph in 5.1 seconds before topping out at 177 mph. Unfortunately, Israelis are known for pushing and shoving their way through crowds.
That philosophy holds on the narrow highway roads and as a result, I wasn’t able to explore the outer edge of the Quattroporte’s limits without inviting a healthy fear of mortality back into my brain, but that raspy exhaust note—one of Italy’s greatest exports after wine, olive oil, and Ferrari—is apparent throughout much of the rev range. Not like the handling is bad either. Though it’s comfortable, the Quattroporte exhibits a sporty character on whatever road it’s on. An adaptive damping suspension meant that peaceful cruises with outside noises being caught and sent back by the acoustically insulated windows were encouraged. Turn the drive mode selector into Sport Driving Mode, however, and suddenly an orchestra of activity begins.
Suspension components stiffen and the ride height is lowered while the gearbox switches to a more aggressive drive program. So does the engine, throttle, and stability control for that matter. And then, almost inexplicably, the exhaust gets even louder. No one ever accused the Italians of a lack of passion and drama, and though enduring quality is not a forte for the colorful people of the red, white, and green, endearing qualities, especially when it comes to leather handiwork, is. The inside of the Quattroporte is awash with soft Italian leather that’s complimented by Zenga Suede. Some of the Quattroporte’s components, such as the steering wheel, give the cabin a waft of age.
Maserati knows that, however, so it gave the Quattroporte a light refresh for 2017, breathing fresh life into the cabin while preserving its traditionally gothic looks with a hint of Ghibli. Though it's not the most intuitive thing on Earth, the 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system is placed where it's easy to interact with. If the software is becomes buggy, drivers can rest assured with the knowledge that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard. Unlike the BMW 7 Series we tested last year, the Quattroporte doesn't offer a technologically savvy cabin for patrons who'd rather spend their free time in an Apple store. Instead, it's for the eccentric restaurant owner that has a taste for the finer things in life like good wine and sublime hummus.
Unfortunately, if you're looking for a Maserati in Israel, you'd better own quite a few restaurants because this Quattroporte S GranLusso comes in at 1,095,000 Shekels, or $310,499 at today's exchange rates. Over in the States where tax laws are more relaxed, the equivalent Maserati can be had for $112,700. How reasonable. Like most Italian cars, the Quattroporte has one inherent quality that makes it a dud to the analytically minded but hard to avoid for the romantic gearhead. Its noise, looks, feel, and character will make you fall head over heels for the car despite its annoyances and shortcomings. If you're bored of the German status quo and need to outrun rockets headed towards the West Bank in style, this is the ride for you.