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I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of picking up my Quattroporte. At 22,000 miles this car is probably among the highest mileage cars in the States.. So I thought I’d report in and let you all know what my experience to date has been.

Too many choices to make and no/few cars in the U.S. to look at back when I was ready to order so my wife and I went to the factory in Modena to do research, then ordered the car from there. We had it delivered through Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo in Portland, Oregon and it was their first QP delivery. Visiting the factory was a fine experience and really sharpened trim and option choices that I’ve appreciated over this year. It’s got the sport package, Pirelli tires, sunroof and the fancy seat package. Trim and color is just about like the Neiman Marcus package, just by coincidence though, as the NM package and program had not been announced at that time.

The car is my daily driver mixed with a lot road trips around the Western United States. It lives at our summer home in Sandpoint Idaho from June thru November, then migrates to our place in Palm Springs for the winter. I do a lot of sport driving with it; up in mountains, in the desert and places where I can push it hard. All but about 200 miles have been in Manual and Sport modes. I can’t feel much, if any, ride difference with Sport mode and it’s very hard to tolerate the slower shifting of the non-sport mode.

I thought the car was subtle enough looking to not cause a public fuss, but I was wrong about that. This car gets huge attention

Reliablity and Care

Here’s a surprise. I’m still on the original clutch and it seems to be working fine. Ironically, I had the dealer reprogram the clutch operation to make it more aggressive (and smoother starts), which they warned would decrease clutch life.

I’ve had one thing (and only one!) break and that was the CD player. The dealer just replaced the whole unit, gave me a nice loaner car for the day and had it back to me in the afternoon (Orange County M/F). So that was painless. Otherwise the car has been perfectly reliable.

Tires and wheels have cost some money though. Replaced the rears at about 7K miles and they are due again. Hit a hole in the road and put a bubble in a front and had that replaced. Didn’t realize at the time that I also bent the rim and knocked it out of alignment enough to quickly screw up the front tires and I replaced those. I had the wheels chromed, which looks just right on this car, and so replacing the bent rim was going to be a hassle. Took it to a place that has one of those sophisticated Hunter 9700 balancers and vibration control systems and they were able to balance the thing out so the bent rim isn’t noticeable, up to 155 mph at least, so I can avoid that hassle for now.

I have averaged 14.3 mpg over the last 3000 miles. Have seen as low as 11 over forays into the desert with serious disregard for the posted speed limits and sometimes, it felt, disregard for the laws of physics as well.

The things that really suck (and there are some)

This car, in all its magnificence, has perhaps the worst Navigation system I have ever seen. This is my eighth car with Navigation and this one is far and away the poorest one. Don’t get me started!

The seats are great but the seat massager and whatever this “adjusts to your body feature” are worthless. They just don’t do anything worthwhile.

Even if this is a driver’s car it is still a good road tripper, but needs a second cup holder and better use of interior space.

The center console that heats and cools beverages and whatever must be something dreamed up by the marketing department. I have this feature on another car (Mini Cooper S) and it’s useless there too. I think the term is GIPE (Good Idea, Poor Execution). And in the QP it ends up using up a lot of space that would be nice to have for something functional.

The heating and cooling system is erratic. This seems to be a common complaint that they haven’t figured out how to fix yet. The heating and cooling in the seats works well though.

Subjective View (the part that really matters)

I love this car. I have had a lot of nice ones in my life but this one is special, very special. Every car I’ve had takes some time to learn and thereafter grows or declines in appeal. The thing about this car is its “specialness” just keeps growing. I like it better today than I did yesterday and feeling quite bullish about tomorrow. Of course, you can drive it on day one. A month later you think you are pretty in tune with the gear box, power band and driving characteristics. But a couple months after that you realize you weren’t haven’t even been close to “getting it.” There is rhythm to the car that takes a while to emerge. Then you become part of the rhythm and it is very satisfying and extremely seductive. I’ve succeed in the past at having a supercar of some type that I drove for certain purposes and then had a daily driver. Can’t do that now. The QP is just too compelling to not drive at every opportunity, except winter weather.

One of the most appealing parts is how the car turns-in. It reminds me of when I bought a pair of parabolic skis to replace a lifetime on traditional skis. It’s like they had a personality of their own that just loved to initiate a turn, find the perfect line and then link seamlessly to the next turn. And the skis seemed to do this so effortlessly that I think I’ve heard them giggle right after. They seemed to sense the turn coming and find, on their own, the most graceful line. The QP does that. The weight distribution of the car makes turn-in just a magical experience. Part of the rhythm is learning how to accentuate that by not overdriving the car. Its about learning to put more confidence in the car’s sense of what’s right than ever before. I imagine a lot of people test drive the QP, stumble thru in Auto mode and decide against the car. If you could have them drive it for three months I predict it would take the Jaws of Life to get them out of there.

The power band is amazingly consistent. The car just pulls and pulls. It is at its best above 80 mph. The pull from 80 to 150 or so is exhilarating. I think a potential buyer would be much better off thinking of this car as a Ferrari with luxury coach work than a luxury car with performance.

The wife’s view: My wife loves cars and she LOVES this car; but only if she is in the driver’s seat. She does not think it is among the top road trip cars.

Summary: This is a special car offering one of the most compelling driving experiences I’ve ever had. A big, smooth car with a suspension and weight distribution that makes it drive like a tight sports car. Just so good. And it grows on you like a favorite piece of music.

Hope this is useful.

Ken
 

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Useful, indeed, and a fine piece of writing, too.
Perhaps my Ferrari dealer will find it in their heart to allow one QP as a loaner in their service fleet. So far, I have only experienced this car on the 17 mile drive at Pebble. I was not done !
:0
 

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Your experience further fortifies my belief that Maserati is the most underrated car company out there. With probably better reliablity than M-B, it truly is a sleeper.
 

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excellent writeup!
mine is about a year old but i have certainly not done as much mileage as ken.

i find that the chassis does seem to be stiffen up in the Sport mode in response to steering and movements. it does absorb bumps crisper than on non-sport where it cushions it all. (mind had the sports package suspension settings; perhaps on regular cars the sports and off are too similar?)

the dislikes, very similar:
the A/C is hopeless.
the CD changer did had a couple of incidents.
the navi is a glorified electronic map.
the massage seats are fun for first few minutes. i ended up using them a bit on longer trips just to distract my muscles.
i do find the trunk to be too small. can't fit two standard size samsonites...

all these of course are forgotten when u really get to enjoy driving it.

all in all, i think ken's summary is excellent and it represents what many misbeliefs out there about maserati. at least now, i can be reassure that someone does survive the clutch much longer than expected.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
jrb said:
kb:

For perspective: What cars are you coming from?
uh, lets see . . . mostly large performance touring sedans; a couple 7 series BMWs, a jag, a couple large MBs (including an S55 AMG) Also a few sportier things; 911, (also a 356A restoration project), a 91 Testarossa and a 65 275.
 

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Amen to that!

I feel the same way about the Coupe. It has its "interesting" features, but no automobile I've ever owned has been as exciting to drive, to the point of actually looking forward to the days I don't need to carry my mountain bike so that I can drive the Maser to work...some people have called them "poor man's Ferraris", but looking at the interior of the Maser vs the Ferrari, I beg to differ. :wink:
 

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kbrookings said:
jrb said:
kb:

For perspective: What cars are you coming from?
uh, lets see . . . mostly large performance touring sedans; a couple 7 series BMWs, a jag, a couple large MBs (including an S55 AMG) Also a few sportier things; 911, (also a 356A restoration project), a 91 Testarossa and a 65 275.
Thanks, kb.
 

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What kind of loaner does Orange County F/M give out? I'm guessing you mean OC, California, even though you said you got the thing in Portland.
 

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Thanks for the report.

I have had my 2004 CC for about 15 months now and I love it. I traded in my XK8 Convert and my Testarossa on the new Maserati.

The Maser is really a love child of the above two cars. I went into the dealer thinking of a 550/575 and walked out with a Maserati.

I found the car to be much more livable then the Ferrari. The Jag was not fast enough, the Ferrari was not comfy enough. My wife did not care for either of the Ferraris I have owned. She loved the Jag and likes the Maser a lot (she misses the convertable though).

The Maserati just fits my needs very well as a combo between luxury and exotic. I suspect I would be happy with an Aston Martin as well, but the usable 2+2 of the CC puts it over the top!

As for the Nav system, I love it. It is quirky and takes a while to get used to but I like. FYI, my friend's 99-2000 BMW 740is has the exact same Nav System.

-dsd
 
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