Re: Bit OT: Maserati QP IV vs Alfa 166
My Dad and I have a QP4. It's a 3.2 Bi-turbo, and one of the last pre-Evo models.
Although the Evoluzione is a much better car, it has basically lost all character. The modifications to the engine released a few more horsepower, but it is not noticible, and in my opinion is a small price to pay for the tasteless interior that Ferrari decided to spoil the car with.
Owning a Quattroporte is easy, so long as you get a good one that has been well looked after. This is not as hard as you might expect; with a huge following in the Maserati owners' club there are always plenty of A1 examples available.
Check for oil in the boost pipes, as the IHI turbos are very expensive to replace as they are high spec VL9's with both oil and water feeds. Radiator fan relays can often pack up unexpectidly, but there are two fans each with their own relay, so you will always know when one has given up the ghost. The fans are so loud on full chat that you'll hear when one has stopped working.
Budget for a stainless steel exhaust with sports cats as well. I can tell you it's like driving a different car once you get rid of the standard system. Ours is as quiet as stock, but the gas flow is greatly improved, and the result in reduced back pressure greatly reduces spool up time.
Interior-wise, check for dampness in the boot. The battery is housed there under the spare wheel, (which incidently should be an alloy some people sell these seperatly to the car to get some extra dough) and has holes for the overflow pipe to the battery. If the grommets drop out then there is a hole that allows water into the boot.
Also a common problem is that the lacquer covering the wood trim under the handbrake can sometimes go cloudy because of how much rests there when it dried at the factory. A quick mop wih some wet and dry can fix it should you want to do it yourself.
Aside from all of that, it's a great car. One of the best things about it is that it has NO AVAILABLE TRACTION CONTROL, so you actually have to drive it rather than let the ECU do it for you.
We've had Thema 8:32's, Integrales, Alfa 75's, an Alfa SZ and we have a 3200GT at the moment, but I can honestly confess that the QP pulls WAAAY better than all of those cars. The thing is amazing, and can return 30mpg if used gently on the motorway!
One of my happiest memories of the long distance drives to Italy we used to do in her in the early days was having a race with a then new M5 V8 on the Autobahn. The best moment was when the M5's electronic limiter cut in a 155mph and I sailed off into the distance, much to the other owner's disgust!
Thats the best thing about Italian cars, the electrics that they put into their cars don't work, but at least they don't put too much in!!