Nautica Digitale
Share this page
Tell a friend

May 2005

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news



Yachting catalogue

Navigation tests

Used boats


Video Nautica

Article by
Fabio Petrone Angelo Colombo

To the Dusseldorf boot in a four door Maserati

You're going to Düsseldorf by car? This was the almost astounded chorus that everyone repeated. But when we said, "yes, a Maserati Quattroporte", the expression of amazement often turned into one of ill concealed envy, especially if the interlocutor was a car enthusiast with a capital C. Well, we did this "crazy" thing and, having returned, we've got plenty to tell: we'll begin with figures, taken from the on-board computer at the end of the journey.

The round trip from Rome, including a short visit to nearby Cologne, totalled 3,684 kilometres, quite a bit really, at an average speed of 103 kph. A small but significant part was spent in city traffic and on bypasses, but mostly on motorways, observing all speed limits. So while in Italy and Austria the cruise control ensured that we didn't do more than 130 kph. This changed when we got to Germany. The speed limits there, which everyone respects, are regularly displayed on specific stretches that usually have heavy traffic or are considered dangerous. But where conditions are favourable, with less cars and a broad road, drivers can go as fast as they like. In our place, with such a car and so much power (exactly 400 HP), what would you have done? We got right down to it! Impossible to resist the lure of that roar under the bonnet, impossible not to want to fully feel that unrestrained, seemingly endless thrust, impossible to miss the shiver that comes with a change right up to the red of the rev- counter, impossible not to succumb to the fascination of the Maserati trident, emblem of style and speed. So down with the boot and up with the adrenalin, rivers of it, even soaking your clothes, and with all your senses intent on perceiving each single detail of those moments. You pay less attention to your own car - which sometimes drives itself even at 260 kph - than to what other people are doing: frighteningly "stationary" in comparison with us.

Rear wheel drive, impressive torque, power to give away. Twenty years ago few people would have been able to handle such a car, especially when taken to the limits. Today, thanks to technical progress and above all refinement of the omnipresent electronics that govern its functioning, even a "thoroughbred" like the Quattroporte is really within the capabilities of all motorists and also driveable on wet surfaces. So on we went for hundreds of kilometres, at an average of 180/200, punctuated by brief stretches with no traffic whatsoever which we took literally at top speed. More than once our speedometer touched 260 in just a few seconds. Astounding for someone accustomed to driving a "normal" car is the progression, the incredible thrust of the engine between 4,000 and 6,500/7,000 revs when you change gear. The next gear is selected and you still feel all the full force releasable by the 4.2 litre V8 you're driving, the famous 400 HP. The electronically governed mechanical gearbox, which functions fully automatically but can also be controlled by the driver from butterfly levers at the sides of the wheel, only partly attenuates the exuberance of all that power, a "cannonade" you feel when the clutch engages, prelude to a breathtaking progression that you never get used to. Highly sporty supercar sensations, yet the comfort here is at superyacht level.

Then, around the big cities, back to 90 kph, lining up next to ranks of German cars whose owners had eyes only for our Quattroporte. More than once we were greeted by sounds of the horn, thumbs up and a probable "wunderbar" exclaimed behind the window. At every petrol station, glances and words, someone even shaking our hands and, with a touch of Italian: "Maserati.oooh, buona, molto buona" It can't be denied. The manufacturer Pininfarina has given it a no-frills body that offers a vaguely vintage design, characterised above all by the generous size radiator grill, very sporty and elegant, a distinctive sign of lines that are always soft and succeed in making the car's big saloon dimensions less imposing. The fairly spacious boot can hold two large suitcases plus various sizes of bags and knapsacks. Enough, in a word, to meet the needs of a family on holiday. Inside the car you live luxuriously, in luxury. Plenty of space, and the splendid leather seats are very comfortable thanks to numerous electrically operated adjustments. The back seats are also adjustable. Four people have an easy life where each element, from the air-conditioning to the hi-fi, from the electric shades to the sunroof, contributes to making the journey all the more comfortable, notwithstanding the car's "monstrous" performance. Take a nap while the driver shoots along at 200 kph? I can assure you it's possible. So setting out from Rome at 4.40 a.m., alternating driving and snoozing with fair regularity and following the instructions of the on-board navigator, we were already halfway at 7 p.m., undoubtedly less tired than might be imagined and ready to tell our dinner companions about the many emotions experienced along the way.