The Maserati Quattroporte was first presented to the world 60 years ago, on October 30, 1963, to be exact. On this day, the 45th edition of the Turin Motor Show opened its doors to the public. The star of the Maserati stand was not just its all-new flagship model, but a car that was spearheading a new automotive concept – a luxury sports saloon.
Davide Grasso, Maserati CEO, says: “Quattroporte is Maserati’s history. A car that tells our story and has prestigiously represented us in the world of saloon cars, for over half a century. Since 1963, it has chronicled the evolution of one of the most beloved and appreciated Maserati models, inaugurating a segment that had previously been uncharted territory.
“A car that has succeeded in reinventing itself every time without ever losing its identity, in adapting to the passage of time, to changes in society, to advancements in technology and industry, and to trends, it has become the choice of our most select clientele, as well as the world of entertainment and for the international establishment.”
This year, the Modena brand is celebrating the legacy of the Quattroporte, one of the greatest expressions of the Trident brand – from its stylistic leaps to innovations and technical developments. This luxury sports saloon has long served a specific cross-section of society, and its success – with more than 75,000 Quattroporte models produced – launched a new automotive segment.
The first Quattroporte was penned by Frua, followed in the next six decades by other masters including Bertone, Giugiaro, Gandini, and Pininfarina. The latest and current generation of Quattroporte, however, was brought to life at Maserati’s in-house Centro Stile division, where a team of technicians, mechanics, test drivers, and designers took it from the blueprints to the road.
The first-generation Quattroporte – a result of intuition and Italian audacity – featured a roaring racing-derived V8 engine that could take the car to 230 kmph. Turinese coachbuilder Pietro Frua designed the car based on a special 5000 GT Maserati, while the body construction was carried out by Vignale. Featuring a refined interior, it was marketed as a “living room on the move,” or a “limousine with a racing spirit.” The original Maserati Quattroporte, known as Generation I, had a production run that lasted from 1963 to 1969.
The second generation, which had a five-year production run from 1974 to 1978, was the result of a joint venture with Citroën. As a result, this model had more subdued styling compared to its predecessor. While Gen I was a front-engined rear-wheeled-drive car powered mostly by a 4.1 litre V8 engine, Gen II was a front-engined front-wheel-drive car powered by a three-litre V6.
Generation III of the Quattroporte was conceived under the leadership of Alejandro de Tomaso who insisted on returning to the rear-wheel drive layout. He also insisted that the standard engine be a 4.1 litre V8, generating around 275hp. The exterior was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The car was hailed by critics and loved by customers, as evidenced by the twelve-year production run from 1979 to 1990. An armoured Gen III, produced by the Milanese coachbuilder Carrozzeria Pavesi, even served as the official state car of the Italian President Sandro Pertini.
The fourth generation, manufactured from 1994 to 2001, was the first Quattroporte to be produced under the Fiat ownership. The car’s architecture was based on a stretched version of the Maserati Biturbo’s platform, and styled by Marcello Gandini. Gen IV was initially powered by twin-turbocharged V6 engines, but a twin-turbocharged V8 from the Shamal flagship grand tourer was offered in 1996. As it was slotted below Shamal, Gen IV Quattroporte had relatively compact dimensions, being smaller than any of its predecessors and successors.
The fifth generation is arguably the most important in the modern era of the Quattroporte story. Not only did it return the Quattroporte badge to flagship status, but also generated the kind of reaction not seen since the original in 1963 when it debuted at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. The revolutionary exterior and interior design was penned by Pininfarina, and was built on an entirely new platform that was 50cm longer than its predecessor, and sat on a 40cm longer wheelbase. It was powered by the naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 engine with a power output of 395 hp.
Given the tremendous impact of the Gen V Quattroporte on the brand, Gen VI was always going to be an evolution rather than a revelation. The Gen VI was introduced in early 2013 with styling that stayed true to its predecessor. However, unlike all its predecessors, Gen VI Quattroporte was completely designed in-house at Maserati’s Centro Stile design centre. With a 317cm wheelbase, it is a considerably larger vehicle than any of its predecessors. Engine choice includes twin-turbocharged V6, V8 petrol engines, and a turbodiesel V6.
In the sixty years after it made its debut, the six generations of Quattroporte cars have graced the garages of discerning motorists, from Presidents to enthusiasts, have been in the background of more than 60 films, and photographed on red carpet events.
“Now as before, Quattroporte remains our flagship, synonymous with a unique luxury,” says Davide Grasso. “It’s appreciated for its refinement, attention to detail, superior performance, quality, and enveloping spaciousness – all of this combined with its timeless stylistic touch – has made Quattroporte eternal.”