By Joseph Moss, International Banker
Maserati and Porsche produce mostly sports cars, similarly priced and aimed at similar buyers; however, it seems they are clashing directly only with the Porsche Cayenne and the recently introduced Maserati Levante. Everywhere else, Porsche and Maserati are as far apart as it gets.
However, some close ties can be felt with their top-notch sedan offerings. The Panamera can be considered spiritually similar to the Quattroporte. The Maserati Ghibli is, of course, similarly sized, but it simply does not have enough tech inside to be considered a proper rival to the Panamera. What is more, the new 2017 Porsche Panamera has been recently revealed. Only weeks before, Maserati unveiled a slightly updated 2017 Quattroporte, which finally received the tech it badly needed. Yes, these two are luxury sports machines designed to excite the driver, to excite passengers and to cross the A to B path in a far more exciting manner than expected from cars of this size.
Both are modern! The Panamera is all new, while the Quattroporte is nicely refreshed—so which one is better? Honestly, the answer is plain simple. If speed, quality, dependability, high resale value and somewhat subtle style are what tick the boxes in your head, the Panamera is your car. Maserati offers something else—something elusive to mathematicians but definitely important. If emotion, excitement, adventure and spirit are all that you desire, Italy is the place to go.
The comparison is not that fair, to be frank. The Porsche Panamera is a product of people who had some crazy money and time for development, and they ended up building a car on an all-new platform. Maserati’s is already a three-year-old car, but as it is, more or less, in a higher segment than the Panamera, we can see why they could be compared.
As anyone can imagine, the Germans are obsessed with numbers, mathematics and precision. That neatly translates into all the features of the new Panamera, making it more aerodynamic, lighter, more focused and a lot faster than before. It seems, though, that mathematics were left aside when they crafted some of the styling features. The new Panamera is hot, sexy, sleek, not even ghastly and somehow friendly. Especially from the back. As for the wide rear light, expect all Porsches from now on to get this feature. It is a neat cosmetic enhancement, giving the Porsche a somewhat interesting aura.
As for the aerodynamics, Porsche has an active front shutter, active rear wing (which opens up like it’s a freaking Transformer) and special side air guides that channel the air out of the wheel arches, additionally lowering the drag coefficient. Interestingly enough, Maserati did some cosmetic tweaks, too. First of all, a keen eye will spot the concave front grille in comparison with the convex grille of the pre-redesign version. Behind it is hidden an all-new Air Shutter system, which provides optimal control of the radiator-fluid temperature. Also, it acts together with the slightly redesigned front bumper, flat bottom and redesigned rear bumper that reduce the drag coefficient by up to 10 percent. That said, both the 2017 Porsche Panamera and the 2017 Maserati Quattroporte apparently offer drag coefficients of less than 0.3, which is rather incredible for this size of car.
What is also incredible is the technology inside. Both cars represent high-end car segments, but while the Porsche Panamera rides on a platform that will be also used by some Bentley cars, Maserati had to source some of its gear from the FCA parts bin, and that is a bit sad because seeing an infotainment system in the Maserati that is almost the same as that in a RAM pickup truck is not exactly cool. Nevertheless, the Maserati has enough special features, one of which definitely is a Ferrari-sourced engine. A 3.8 liter bi-turbocharged V8 with 530 hp is top of the range for the Quattroporte (much the same engine is in the 488 GTB). It can accelerate to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds, reach a maximum of 191 mph (307 kph) and spend 20 percent less fuel than before.
OK, the Maserati Quattroporte is much larger than the Panamera and is heavier, but even these awesome performance numbers of the top-notch version cannot stand next to the Panamera Diesel.
What? This is not a mistake. The Panamera Diesel with its incredible TDI V8 can get to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds and allegedly return 42 mpg. That is it, then. A Porsche diesel is faster than a freaking Ferrari-powered Maserati Quattroporte. What about the 2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo?
Well, this car is faster around the Nurburgring than the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640-4. It is faster around the ‘ring than the Porsche Cayman GT4, and it can hit 62 mph in 3.7 seconds. Obviously, with 550 hp and an insane 586 lb-ft of torque, the Turbo is capable of proper supercar stuff. We cannot even imagine that the Quattroporte could handle it. So, the Panamera 4S with a 434 bhp bi-turbo V6 may be a better match for it. True, even this one hit 62 mph in 4.4 seconds.
Such differences aren’t surprising. The Porsche comes with a four-wheel drive system, launch control, Sport Chrono package and new PDK eight-speed transmission. On the other hand, the Maserati is a bit heavier, has rear-wheel drive and eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. This is a great transmission, but it cannot compare with the race-prepped PDK in the Porsche. Honestly, the Maserati diesel is not even worth mentioning. With three liters of displacement, it gives out 275 hp. Compared with the Porsche V8 diesel, it is underpowered.
What was a major Achilles heel for the Maserati was the advanced safety and autonomous technology. FCA simply did not have enough high-end features to integrate into the car. Now, three years after its introduction, the 2017 Maserati Quattroporte comes with a “new infotainment system with high resolution 8.4 capacitive touchscreen, advanced driver-assistance systems as an optional package, adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning with advanced brake assist, automatic emergency braking, surround-view camera, new electronic parking brake”. Apparently, the car revealed in 2013 did not have any of these.
The Panamera, on the other hand, was loaded in the previous version as well. What does it have now then!? It all starts with the advanced cockpit. Three displays dominate the interior. Two seven-inch displays are by either side of the centrally mounted analog rev counter, while the third 12.3-inch large touchscreen dominates the central console. No unnecessary buttons anywhere. Old Panamera interior translated into all modern Porsche cars. We are sure that this one will also find its way into all of the modern Porsche cars that come out in the next five years. We like it a lot.
So, while the Quattroporte is larger and offers somewhat bigger interior space—and even Ermenegildo Zegna interior, if you really push your wallet—the Porsche is, in all honesty, a better “sorted out” machine. Porsche tried to maximize space inside with the increased wheelbase, shortened overhangs and increased overall width. Luckily, the rearend was lowered by 20 millimeters, giving even more pronounced fastback stance to it.