Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Maserati has a V8 engine designed by Ferrari. It also has a version of that company’s F1 gearbox, which some say spoils the car’s demeanor. Let’s see if it’s priced well enough to make it worth putting up with a little rowdy behavior.
Yesterday we considered the question of whether an automatic transmission could ruin an otherwise solid sports car like a Porsche 911. The 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera in question came with a rebuilt engine and a few other updates making it otherwise very appealing. All-in, the seller asked $20,000 for the car and even with the automatic, fully 58 percent of you said, “eh, I’d tap that,” giving the two-pedal Porsche a Nice Price win.
Today we’re going to stay on the question of whether a transmission could spoil a car. Our current candidate is this 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT, and… well, just look at it. For a four-door saloon, that’s one damn-sexy car. According to the ad, this one sports a mere 27,000 miles and per the pictures, the bodywork shows no obvious issues nor is there any curb rash on the GT-specific seven-spoke alloys having racked up only that paltry amount.
The interior presents equally well. In the cabin, you’ll be cosseted by black-dyed leather that covers most of the interior surfaces, all of them accented with sporty red stitching. On the Sport GT, you also get aluminum pedals, an Alcantara headliner, and sporty carbon fiber trim pieces in place of the standard car’s Zebrano wood.
One thing you’ll also notice in here is a dainty little T-bar on the console next to the Rockford Brake handle. That, my friends, is the control by which you command the DuoSelect electro-hydraulic transmission.
The DuoSelect is Maserati’s version of Ferrari’s F1 gearbox, a single-clutch manual with hydraulic actuation via electronic controls that offers either fully automatic or manu-matic shifting. The finger-snap shifts of the redline-loving gearbox proved to be a good fit for flat-out sports rockets like the Ferrari 355 in which the F1 debuted. In an elegant and stately sedan that one might expect to also spend time inching in traffic or just not give you whiplash at every upshift, it proved not so popular.
So bad were the early DuoShift transmissions in the Quattroporte that Maserati undertook an accelerated effort to find an alternative. Talks with Volkswagen to use that company’s DSG gearbox fell through, and eventually, Maserati went with offering the choice of an up-graded DuoSelect as in this car, or a traditional six-speed automatic sourced from ZF. For most Quattroporte owners, the ZF box is a better fit. It also benefits from having a traditional shift lever and that change allows space for one more cup holder in the center console.
One other issue of the DuoSelect is maintenance. Depending on how aggressive a driver is on their flappy paddle usage, the transmission can go through clutches at an alarming rate. As you might expect, the cost of full DuoSelect service is daunting. Other regular maintenance items are equally expensive and there are a number of marque-specific issues like sticky buttons on the dash and tire pressure sensor failures that can pop up.
The ad doesn’t mention any issues with this car at all, choosing instead to focus on the pluses. Those seemingly include heated and butt-kneading seats, an automatic rear sunshade, and triple-zone climate control. Other benefits of ownership include a clean title and a set of new Lionhart tires.
When new, this Maserati would have set its owner back about $112,000 to drive off the lot. Now that the new has worn off (and any warranty has long expired) it’s an Italian car of a certain age, which can be an iffy deal. The seller seems to recognize that and has set an asking price of $18,750 as a result. Let’s decide how accurate that is in light of what we now know about the car.
What do you say, is this Maserati worth that $18,750 asking as it sits? Or, does the DuoSelect mean you’d select to shop elsewhere?
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