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Discussion Starter #1
Very curious to see for ourselves how the Quattroporte fares in the real world, we tested one against a Jaguar XJR (same luxo-exotic segment, roughly same performance claims), with an Audi RS6 as a performance benchmark. The full write-up (in french) with loads of pics is available on Asphalte, but I wanted to share some impressions here to gather comments from owners.

The Maserati stunned us in many ways. The gearbox is the surprisingly the best of the bunch, although the tendancy to creep & slip in second gear makes clutch wear a probable concern. The interior is the best looking among the three, the Jag instrument cluster looks a bit dated, so does the Satnav and the Audi is plain ordinary, you could hardly the difference with an A6. Whether you're driving or following the car, the presence and sense of occasion are truly amazing.

The engine however was a let-down, struggling to handle the weight. Low rev torque is appalling, and the payload tames the character at high revs, making it impossible to cope with the pace the two other blown V8s can manage in the real world.
Worse, the handling can harldy make up in the bends what is lost for good on the straights. Roll is nealty contained, but in spite of the fattest rubber on the test, lateral grip is not greater and the steering not direct enough. Add average breaks and even the brave will not feel keen to dive into corners with 2 tons of rather pricey italian metal. Balance at the limit is refined with subtle transitions between understeer and a hint of oversteer at lift off, but the lack of seat lateral support is regrettable.

In absolute terms, the lack of torque would be see as a weakness, but in such company, it's unforgiving. The Audi RS6 is such an amazing straight line performer, and the XJR surprises by being not far behind, making with weight savings what its supercharged V8 not have in raw power. The Roots blower whine sounds really out of place, the body floats worryingly in spite of the CATS suspension, the brakes are mushy, the gearbox awful, but somehow this flawed package delivers pretty impressive pace. If not very enjoyable at the limit, except for a nice ability to slide out of hairpins when traction control is off, the big cat delivers pace that would humble many cars. You just need the nerve to ignore all your instincts and keep gunning the XJR.

The Audi RS6 is the epitomy of the RS line, a stunning engine is an almost anonymous body. Remove the badges and your neighbours will believe you drive a very reasonable station wagon. Yet, the twin KKK deliver hilarious thrust, damping and steering are taut, traction out of corners hard to fault courtesy of the Quattro AWD system. The automatic gearbox is an annoyance that you somehow have to sign a truce with, and the brakes far from immune to fade (euphemism) when you summon all of the 450hp on straights repeatedly. If only this recipe could come in a more inspiring package: in terms of sense of occasion, neither the RS6 nor the Jag can match the Quattroporte.
 

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I had a 1995 XJR (First model year, about 400 made) and it was a monster, and they only got nicer ;-)

Of all the cars I have owned, I miss this one the most. I was just wondering what I would if I were in the market for a 4-Door. Quattroporte or XJR?

Tough decision, but you can't go wrong either way.

-dsd
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If my sources are right, in the US, an XJR base price is 76K$ while a QP starts at 100K while several options are breathtakingly expensive. On our test car, there was 23K$ worth of extras !
If you liked your '95 XJR, chances are the new one would not disappoint you either. Forking out 30% more to have a taste of not-so-extravagant italian metal may be a tough sell.

Maserati sold 1550 QP in the US in 2005, something they consider a success in the 100K$+ übercar segment they believe the car belongs too, while I find it a quite low for the 75-90K$ segment I believe the Quattroporte is overpriced for. I don't have market data for competing models though.
 

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I had an RS6 and replaced it with the QP

The QP doesn't have the power the RS6 has, but it is a much more enjoyable "big car" to drive and own. When driven enthusiastlically, neither have the seats to support you. I will agree, although the QP has a great engine, it feels anemic and could use a little more kick. My QP has the sport package (not the Sport GT package). I actually prefer the handling of the QP to the RS6. I felt with the AWD of the RS6, my driving habits were getting "sloppy".

To add a further comparison, I recently purchased a Mercedes E55 wagon for my wife. That car is faster than both the RS6 and QP, but I prefer the handling of the RS6 to the E55, but the E55 holds you in the seat better than all of them combined.

I just love the cars, in spite of their faults, for what they are.

In short,

Acceleration
E55>RS6>QP

Handling
QP>RS6>E55

Features
E55>RS6>QP

Exclusivity
QP>RS6>E55

Sound
QP>E55>RS6

Comfort
QP>E55>RS6

Style
QP>RS6>E55

Ease of driving
E55>RS6>QP
 

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Great real life comparisons!
Glad to know that we bought the right uber limo specifically for its Handling, Exclusivity, Sound, Comfort, Style .....I'll gladly leave the serious acceleration to a real sports car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There used to be wild speculation what the QP could be upgraded to the V12 of the 612, but I don't quite see how the engine would fit under the bonnet and the gearbox on the platform. With Maserati now under Alfa-Romeo ownership, I don't quite see where more torque & horses would come from.
Blowing the engine would not seem very elegant, and I doubt the existing transmission could cope.
 
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