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Video | Here’s Why You Should Never Buy a Cheap Used Maserati Quattroporte

I imagine Thomas Tusser was referring to Maserati owners when he wrote, "a fool and his money are soon parted." Well, maybe not, since he wrote those words in 1573. Still, the old phrase applies to my Maserati ownership experience very well, as my 2007 Quattroporte has been continuously broken in the five months that I’ve owned it. Now that it’s finally sorted, though, I’m beginning to see the appeal.

For those who don’t remember, which is understandable, as I’ve forgotten about this car several times myself, I bought the cheapest Maserati Quattroporte with the updated ZF automatic gearbox in the USA — for only $8800. Since I bought it out of an auction from Florida, I had no idea what condition it was in, or even if it ran and drove under its own power. This was an incredibly stupid decision, since these cars are about as reliable as Doug DeMuro’s opinions on fashion, and ridiculously expensive to repair. Miraculously, my Maserati arrived running and driving well enough, but not without a slew of warning messages and electronic faults.

My mechanic, the Car Wizard, tried his best to slay as many of these issues as possible — but without the proper Maserati diagnostic computer, this proved impossible. He was able to sort most of the electrical and wiring issues, along with the clunky suspension, and smooth out my jerky transmission with a new transmission computer, but the flashing and beeping transmission fault warning message continued. $2000 was spent, and I still didn’t have a sorted Maserati. My only hope of living in a world without the beeps and flashes of an angry Quattroporte dashboard was sending my car to the Maserati dealer for diagnostics. During the drive up, my transmission fault was joined by an active headlamp warning error — a duet that made the instrument cluster squawk every 30 seconds throughout my 2-hour drive to Kansas City. I expected the dealer to quote something like $3 million dollars to replace the transmission, which was shifting perfectly, but their fix for my main problem cost less than $200.

2007 is an odd year for the Quattroporte, as some of the cars were still fitted with the much-maligned F1-style single-clutch automated manual transmission, while some (including mine) received the new traditional ZF automatic gearbox. It seems my Maserati’s computer was confused, and it thought it still had the old transmission — but with the magic of a proper Maserati scan-tool, the confusion was simply reprogrammed away. Another $400 to replace a height level motor in the headlight took care of the other remaining error as well.

Leaving the Maserati dealer for under $1000 with a sorted Quattroporte felt like a miracle. Unfortunately, the car is still terrible, but it left the factory new that way. The overall fit and finish is awful for a luxury car that was over $100,000 new, and the technology and interior layout is terrible. It’s also not very comfortable, and it’s way slower than my 2007 E63 or my old 2007 BMW M5. Yet there’s still enough Italian charm to almost make up for its endless shortcomings.

I guess that’s why people buy Italian cars in the first place: they look so beautiful, and their exhaust note sounds so intoxicating, that people forget that German luxury cars are better in every quantifiable way. We’ll see if the charm wears off now that I can start actually enjoying my car — but for now, I’m happier than an American with $100 gift certificate to the Olive Garden. Find a Maserati Quattroporte for sale

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