Want sportiness and luxury, but don’t want something German? Or British? Or even Swedish? The Italians try to make us an offer we can’t refuse.
Ladies and gentlemen, Maserati is back. The marque that makes some of the most desirable sedans and sportscars on the planet has returned to India after a brief hiatus that was the result of a less-than-desirable tussle with its previous Indian dealer. And what a great time for it too. While the last time around, the brand had a V8-only model range of two cars, it’s growing quite rapidly now. There’s a new, smaller sedan that’s hoping to rake in younger buyers, there’ll be an SUV very soon, and there’s even – gasp – a diesel engine option this time. What all this means is that there are more Masers for you to choose from, and it’s the two very latest offerings that the company is debuting with on its second innings in India – the all-new Quattroporte and the Ghibli.
Now, having never seen either of them in the flesh, when the first one pulls up by itself, my reaction is, “That is a big car; how the hell did it make it through the gate?” It’s low though, with a roof that curves down between a pair of rather prominent rear haunches, which only exaggerate just how wide it is. The bonnet stretches a long way ahead of the windscreen, but its length is masked by heavy contours, and the flanks that curve outward just above the wheel arches. It scowls at you from behind a big chrome Maserati trident, the front pinching together towards the aggressive nose.
It’s at this point that I’m interrupted by a snarl from the gate, and I look up to realise the car I’ve been gawping at so far is, in fact, the smaller one. As all 17.2 feet of the Quattroporte glides in and parks up alongside, I start to see the contrast between the two that you just can’t tell from the pictures. The family resemblance is all there, but where the Ghibli looks taut, muscular and tightly skinned, the Quattroporte seems to revel in its incredible length. Its tiny headlamps only amplify this, as does its massive 3.2-metre wheelbase – this is truly a full-size limousine. But it’s somehow not. It too has an angry bonnet, and hips that want to be seen, and a window line that kinks up just at the right spot. These are no ordinary luxury sedans, that’s for sure.
They’re more emotive, even without turning a wheel; they’re more art than science; and they can turn heads without resorting to loud noises and big wings. Even when they’re painted brown and grey!