“What my customers want they can only get in Italy.” And that’s Davide Danesin’s job done. Head engineer at Maserati, Danesin knows his clientele doesn’t cross-shop. They just want to pocket a blue key with a silver trident on it. They practice saying the name in the mirror, accenting the third syllable, Maserati, with a bit of lip pout and raised eyebrow. How mysterious…

Actually, the mystery lies in who’d buy this updated-for-2017 Maserati Quattroporte over a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class or the new Porsche Panamera. They’re all vastly better luxury cars and it doesn’t matter one bit. They’re not Italian, and neither do they have Ermenegildo Zegna silk seats.

Danesin only needs to shift a couple of thousand of these a year, since the new Levante SUV covers Maserati’s bulk sales. The Levante alone has increased demand for the brand in the Middle East by 38 per cent, with the order book filled four months in advance and an additional four-month waiting period for specially-specced personalised cars.

Maserati customers want a Maserati, and that’s it. The Modena, Italy, based car manufacturer banks on a glorious past to sell cars, and a history of racing successes and technical innovations thanks to the genius of four Bolognese brothers who founded the marque in 1914.

Back in the day, the Maseratis – Alfieri, Bindo, Ernesto and Ettore – raced to develop their cars and promote their new brand along the way upsetting the likes of F.I.A.T. (when the corporate giant was still known as Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino). These days Maserati is launching their facelifted flagship in Sicily, the scene of some of the manufacturer’s most celebrated racing victories. At the storied Targa Florio race around the Mediterranean island, Maserati scored an overall win in 1926. Ninety years later there’s not much racing to speak of – the company hosts occasional outings for wealthy gentleman drivers and that’s about it.

But Sicily is quite a place to launch a new Maserati and get it under your skin – on crumbling tarmac laced with spilt diesel and bumps, the 2017 Quattroporte shifts like no Zegna-tailored limousine has a right to. Except for the new Panamera, because that one shifts better… Not that you’re cross-shopping anyway.

Maserati Quattroporte

This here’s the sixth-generation Maserati Quattroporte fresh off the production line with a few select changes to bring the car up to date. As long as that date is somewhere in 2015. Even if Maserati has made the car more relevant with new safety systems on board and driving assistance features, it’s no match for the technological tour de force that is the self-parking 7 Series and self-driving S-Class, not to even bother stepping up to the line with a new Panamera: the Stuttgarter will blow the silk socks off a Quattroporte with a 0-100kph time of 3.6 seconds versus the Italians’ 4.7.

Still, they persisted, improving aerodynamics by 10 percent for the 2017 Maserati Quattroporte, and introducing two trim options to choose from, the stately GranLusso or sinister GranSport. A new infotainment system includes an 8.4-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash and a rotary knob controller with intuitive use. After that, Maserati is just clutching at straws. An electronic parking brake is supposed to be another of the highlights…

The Quattroporte line was first released in 1963 as Maserati’s first ever four-door model. So the Italians just called it ’The four-door’. Sanguine, suave. Maserati doesn’t need numbers scrambling over one another to convey stature. Leave that to the Germans and their jumbles of alphanumeric numbers that mean nothing to the average person: the S 500 4Matic, the 750Li xDrive, the A8 L W12. The bigger the numbers, the bigger the compensating. The Italians, well they just focus on a melodic name, four seats, a steering wheel, some wood and leather, and most of all an engine wrought of Ferrari steel…

Maserati Quattroporte
Maserati Quattroporte

Since Maserati is today another cog in the Fiat Chrysler Automobile empire alongside Ferrari, the famous Modena supercar-maker lent some engine expertise to their cross-town cousin. So the Quattroporte packs a Ferrari V8 that revs and sings and shrinks Sicily and topples mountains. A pair of twin-scroll turbochargers hanging off that V8 reduce throttle lag, and some clever pipework increases aural pleasure, while Maserati continues to show the way to the rest of the industry with proper aluminium shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel, with some actual mechanical travel.

Seeing as Ferrari still stubbornly refuses to milk this cow and make a four-door of their own (the company keeps promising to remain true to sportscars and supercars only), if you want one of their incredible engines in a luxury limousine, well, you’ve heard Danesin.

Maserati Quattroporte

  • 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine;
  • 530 horsepower and 650Nm of torque;
  • 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds;
  • Top speed of 310km/h;
  • Price NA

Dejan Jovanovic

After years writing about fast cars in Dubai, Dejan Jovanovic is now a European-based motoring journalist covering the industry for UK and Middle East titles.
Dejan Jovanovic