This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Maserati Quattroporte review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The standard Quattroporte is powered by a 4.2-litre V8 engine with 395bhp. As you'd expect, this gives the Maserati superb performance with a 0-62mph time of just 5.2 seconds - even more impressive when you realise it weighs almost two tonnes. It sounds immense and the four tailpipes emit a delightful deep burble at a standstill but a purposeful roar at higher revs.

Originally this was available with a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox called DuoSelect. It can be used in fully automatic mode or there's a manual shift option, allowing the driver to change gears via steering wheel mounted paddles. In February 2007 a six-speed automatic gearbox was added to the range which gives the Quattroporte a smoother nature, but still provides immense pace.

However, the driver can select manual sequential shifting by using the gearlever on the central tunnel or by engaging Sport mode. The Sport GT Automatic comes with paddles located behind the steering wheel. In 2008 a 4.7-litre V8 was introduced with 425bhp in the Quattroporte S and 440bhp in the Sport GT S. The latter sprints form 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds and has a top speed of 177mph.

The Quattroporte uses a suspension system called Skyhook - an adaptive damping set-up that is standard on all models. It's supposed to be able to absorb bumps in the road for a smooth ride, but in everyday driving it can feel a too firm and quite crashy in town. On the plus side it's superb on more demanding roads or smooth surfaces, with minimal body roll and huge amounts of grip.

The steering is a little light but the steering is responsive and it turns into corners enthusiastically for such a large car. The Sport GT gets a faster shifting gearbox, newly designed exhaust system delivering an even better sound and specific Skyhook software for a more sporty drive.