There’s lengthy starter whine before the Quattroporte fires with a yelp and settles to a subdued rumble. Select manual gearchanges, switch off the Maserati stability control and select Sport mode to engage the transmission’s most aggressive shift operation.
Floor the throttle, and there’s a split-second delay as the revs rise before the huge saloon lunges forwards.
Short gearing means a lot of changes, which is fine when driving hard, the robotised manual gearbox giving 150-millisecond changes in Sport setting. As long as you’re happy to swap ratios yourself, the DuoSelect system works well, too.
It’s in Drive that it trips up. There’s a perceptible nodding from the occupants as each automated shift occurs. Press on and this becomes a real pain, with a long wait as the software decides which gear to provide.
The front/mid-mounted engine in the standard Quattroporte is the same 4244cc V8 that powers the Coupé and Spyder, but with revised camshafts and modified mapping to boost low-end torque. With twin cams for each bank and 32 variably timed valves, the dry-sump unit produces 400bhp at 7000rpm and 339lb ft of torque at 4500rpm. Those numbers are outgunned by many of the Maserati’s rivals.