This wasn’t a shock but a rare prediction. Competing in the European market takes all the ingenuity imaginable. Even if that means altering the philosophy of a sporty brand to add a much-needed diesel unit. Maserati however, stayed true to its heritage and rather produced a sporty diesel machine. A well-invested part of that 1,2 billion intended for their product line reinvention. But did they triumph?
From where I sat for the past two days, behind the steering wheel respectively, it all seems right on spot. Nonetheless, let’s look deeper into the bowels such a challenge posed to the Modena engineers. The aim was simple. Being a sports car manufacturer, implementing a diesel engine into its lineup meant it should deliver class-leading standards. That path involved some inventions on the way as well. The result is much more than expected and it is a world’s first which can incorporate the words sexy and diesel sound in the same sentence. One will not oppose it has to do with sophisticated sound cancelling technologies in the exhaust manifold, anti-vibration elastic, silica and metal layers in the engine or even sound actuators or pneumatic valves in the exhaust pipes. A beefy bellow bass is well hidden from the driver and passengers, not the same goes for the outside world which peeks at the sound note this 5,26-meter limousine is able to produce.
The engine is a six-cylinder 60-degree angle between banks with a working displacement of 2.987 ccm. Peak torque of 600 Nm is delivered above 2.000 rpm and power output is at 275 HP. A wet sump construction and a single turbocharger bear the basic characteristics.
A slightly smaller fuel tank than the petrol versions measures 70 litres and with the acclaimed 6.2 litres of the mixed cycle, the autonomy drives past 1.000km. Not that we have been able to recreate these conditions on our test drive around the hills of Asolo amongst Venetian hilltop villas. The latter also included brisk highway tarmac tasting which averaged at a well promising 9 litres per 100 km. Quattroporte diesel weights in similarly as the V8 gasoline model, don’t forget the graphite iron cast engine block is needed to withstand the 16,5 compression ratio of the Rudolph cycle. At 1.885 kg it becomes obvious that at least 30% of the total mass has to involve the use of metal first shown to the general public at the Exposition Universelle in Paris 1855. Aluminium of course gives way to lightness. Similar mass but the lower final speed that the V8 flagship means that the brake discs can be lesser in diameter, at 345mm front to be precise, to halt it all the way from 250 km/h. Acceleration figures rest at 6.4 seconds from standstill while power delivery is through a well-balanced 8-speed ZF transmission (4 kg lighter than the predecessors 6-speed) via rear wheels.
Quattroporte diesel will behave sporty even without the use of a Sport button and stiffer suspension (both at the push of a button) however, a standard Skyhook electronic ride control dampens unnecessary road imperfection to an absolute premium. Should more sportiness be expected, don’t forget a mechanical differential lock varying between 35% – 45% is quietly transferring the electronic gas pedal demands. Overall, the previewed (pre-driven) package at 40 thousand EUR less than the 307 km/h high fuel octane variant makes it our favourite. Not that anyone would imagine that back in 1963 when the first Quattroporte was delivered to customers.