Porsche Viertürer, Volvo Fyrdörrars and not even Bentley Fourdoor would ever be considered as a proper name for a sedan. Yet Maserati uses a simple description in their native language to name their luxury sports sedans and have been doing so with six generations since 1974. Quatrroporte became a household name among aficionados with a finely balanced taste for comfort and sportiness. During production of the fourth generation, from 1994 to 2001, Ferrari acquired fifty percent of the company in 1997 and launched a comprehensive renewal plan, resulting in the Quattroporte Evoluzione.
This Evoluzione was introduced at the March 1998 Geneva Motor Show as the Quattroporte Evoluzione V6 and Quattroporte Evoluzione V8 with 2.8 and 3.2 litre engines respectively. For the home market there was the 2-litre Quattroporte Evoluzione V6, so Italian customers could avoid the higher taxes mandatory for cars with an engine capacity over 2,000 cc. The new sedan had 400 all-new or modified parts, but the press gave a surprising amount of attention to the fact that the traditional clock disappeared from the dashboard. The AM574 biturbo V6 and the AM578 biturbo V8 were not updated, which means our test car offers 280 PS (206 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 413 Nm (305 lb·ft) at 3,500 rpm, since we drove a V6.
Mated with the 6-speed manual from Getrag instead of the optional 4-speed automatic from BTR, shows that the first owner made the right decision. With only 27,000 kilometres (16,777 miles) and a complete service history we could not ask for a better example of how a Quattroporte IV should look, feel and drive. Based on the evolved and stretched underpinnings of the unloved Bitrubo, some expect this fourth generation – internally known as AM337 – to be rather dull and a potential pitfall, but with proper maintenance and the right amount of care these cars could actually be considered a safe investment. The total production of the IV came to about 2,400 cars and only 190 of them were V6 Evoluziones.
From the outside the updated Quattroporte IV can only be recognised by the Evoluzione badges on the front fenders, also denoting if there is a V6 or a V8 under the hood. The rest of the design from Marcello Gandini remained unchanged with its distinguished wedge-shape and the signature slanting rear wheel arches. Especially in dark colours like this ‘Blu Nettuno’ with the Connolly leather and Alcantara interior upholstered in beige and trimmed with elm burr veneer, the car looks elegant and very classy.
The sumptuous interior offers plenty of comfort for four and regardless if your are stuck in traffic or traveling long distances at high speeds, it is a joy to spend lots of time in this car. The all-independent suspension (MacPhersons upfront, trailing arms at the back) does have a sporty side as well though, so in case the driver feels like hooning around for a bit, the Quattroporte will participate gladly. Don’t expect razor sharp responses like those from a BMW M5 or the blistering performance of more recent sports sedans though. With 280 PS (206 kW) and 413 Nm (305 lb·ft) there is more than enough performance to make this Quattroporte the perfect alternative in a segment that is traditionally dominated by German manufacturers.