Have it All With the Maserati Quattroporte GTS
For years, “car guys” (referring to both men and women who love their machines) had tradeoffs . . . a two-seater for the thrills, a sedan for the practicality, a van for the whole family. Recent years have produced a spate of cars which don’t require so many concessions. Now there are several good-sized sedans which can blow the doors off what formerly were supercars — the world’s manufacturers have given us full-size cars with enormous power and performance shoehorned in. And Maserati has jumped into that fray with the Quattroporte GTS.
Unless you’re 101 (in which case, you’re probably reading Model T Monthly instead of this article), Maserati has been making performance cars since before you were born. And their “street cars” for years have been an interesting blend of performance and luxury. Let’s just all agree on this now – don’t the Italians know how to make leather more buttery-soft than anyone?
Of course, the GTS has its share of smooth and sleek and soft and quiet, but beneath the hood beats a 523-horsepower heart of prodigious ability, a powerplant which shows its breeding (after all, it is a Ferrari cousin) and which can propel this 4,500-pound machine to 60 MPH in about 4.5 seconds and keep on going to 190 MPH (for our math lovers, that’s about 3-1/2 times the 55 MPH maximum speed limit in most areas). It’s a car that’s equally comfortable at an opera gala and at a track day. A vehicle that is happy to chauffeur the family to an outing or to rocket the car-guy in the family through some serious canyon carving (note to the wise – if car-guy in the family is under 18, hide the keys).
Did I mention the hefty 524 foot-pounds of torque, that great measure of get-up-and-go? Plus you can’t talk about a Maserati without mentioning the sound. Maserati may not have invented the idea of tuning the exhaust note of a vehicle for a certain aural effect, but according to several sources, a study conducted by the British insurance company Hiscox concluded that the sound of a revving Maserati engine “has a biological effect on women”. Now some people would say that their neighbor’s early-morning commute departure has the biological effect of making one reach for a rock but this study talked about a positive effect. I think that we’ll change the subject now.
Unlike many of their brethren, Maserati does not give immediate and obvious clues that the car you’re looking at is the lowest-priced or highest-priced model of that vehicle. Case in point? The standard Quattroporte has a base price of $106,900 and the GTS version has a base price of $140,500, some thirty percent greater. And to the uninitiated, even the somewhat-smaller Ghibli (four-door sedan, same width, a foot shorter, about eight inches lower, about 200 pounds lighter) starts at $69,800. There hardly are major obvious differences between the littlest four-door and the biggest if they’re not parked next to each other. However, the feel, the sound and the whole gestalt of the GTS makes it worth the price. An elegant performer which you won’t see often on your daily commute, the Maserati Quattroporte GTS combines looks, performance, sound and comfort into a great-looking and a wonderfully-performing package.
2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe is One Fast Cat
Faithful readers will recall my great enjoyment of Jaguar’s first iteration of the restructured company’s initial true sports car, the F-Type S Convertible, which was unveiled in 2012 at the Paris Motor Show and then at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. With 500 horses, a great-sounding exhaust and terrific looks front, midship and stern, the fun drop-top was a winner in anybody’s book. And then, when I first saw the prototype of the 2015 hard-topped coupe, the fastback styling produced an immediate thumbs-up—reminiscent of the XK-Es of yore but clearly molded in a modern style, it was yet another Jaguar looker. And when the car showed up, the pre-launch hype turned out to be somewhat understated—the car truly is stunning.
The F-Type R Coupe upped the ante over the convertible S model, increasing the power by ten percent to a full 550 horsepower. (The F-Type coupes come in four basic flavors, ranging from V-6s with 360 horsepower—interestingly, all F-Types have superchargers.) And with a 5.0 liter V8 pumping out that many ponies, and using a supercharger (not the “ordinary” turbo) and driving all four wheels, that package motivates the car to 60 MPH in under four seconds. This is beginning to sound like some American muscle car, no? And as if to trump the others with the power card, the press reveal was not just an amble to and from a Rodeo Drive shopping excursion—my experience with the F-Type R was replete with a lot of seat-time around the roads in Los Angeles and wending our way to Willow Springs International Motorsports Park, where we were given the run of the track. I have to tell you, when they say a car is “well-balanced”, that’s all well and good until you hit a corner at north of 100MPH, at which time you will know if the sales department and the performance guys are in agreement. And they are.
For the coupe, what hits me first is the great beauty of that sleek, sloping roof which meets the elegant tail, at once both slim and powerful. I’ll not insert some cheesy reference to the departing vision of a superstar diva here, but I will say that the car is reminiscent of the BMW Z8 and, of course, the 1960s-vintage E-type. And both the coupe and convertible versions feature the available L O U D button, which truly is a Jekyll-and-Hyde option of the first order (with a nod to its proper English heritage, Jaguar calls that the Driver-selectable Active Sport Exhaust, rather than what an American company might label “badass”).
Of course, no one sells a car in America without a list of available upgrades and Jaguar is no exception. While the “base” car fights substantially above its weight, punching admirably with competitors costing fifty percent more and then some, the biggest single possible addition to the $103,500 base price of the F-Type R Coupe are bright yellow carbon ceramic brake calipers with black forged wheels ($12,000). However, this model is very well-appointed so the few other available options each are under $2,500.
Love the looks, love the performance, love the sound and love the price. Although I generally am more a fan of canines than felines, this is one very cool cat.