Hot on the heels of the introduction of their Ghibli sedan in Beijing (the jury is still out on the name—try saying it five times fast), Maserati began this year by storming the North American International Auto Show with the luxurious new 2014 Quattroporte, the sixth generation of their longest-standing model.

Designed to bring Maserati into the next decade while staying faithful to its long history in the realm of sport sedans, the QP6 is the key factor in the company’s plans of selling 50,000 customer units by 2015—a massive goal, considering they sold only 6307 units in 2012.

{“pbembedwidget”:“gallery”,“id”:“14196”,“size”:“large”,“alignment”:“left”}Improving on the QP5—a best-selling demon and globally acclaimed vehicle that stole the hearts, wallets and driveways of many a worldly playboy—the QP6 builds on its presence with a faster, larger, lighter and more luxurious package that helps set the stage for the next generation of Maseratis due out in the coming year.

The sexy but subtle QP6 is being offered with two new direct-injection powertrains: an entry-level 3.0-liter V6 and the top-performing 3.8-liter V8, both of which Ferrari is assembling at its plant in Maranello with design input from Maserati. To keep things quick on the gearshifts, each model will come standard with the latest ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

The new Quattro actually sets a new performance standard for four-door vehicles (the name “Quattroporte” is Italian for “four doors”), reaching a drool-worthy top speed of 190 mph—a feat equal to most coupe sport vehicles these days. Drivers who want to whisk their posse around as quick as a bunny may prefer to stay away from four-seater corporate cousin the Ferrari FF, which settles in around 209 mph but easily eclipses the QP6 on price.

The turbo V8 weighs in powerwise at around 530 horses, reaching zero to 62 in about 4.7 seconds. This is a stark improvement over the outgoing Sport GT S on speed, fuel consumption and torque, with even the all-wheel drive V6 variant nudging in around 177 mph.

The QP6’s AWD system is a big source of pride for Maserati this time around: it instantly redistributes excess rear-wheel torque and funnels it to all four wheels, delivering a perfect 50-50 distribution front/back when that extra level of control is needed by the driver.

In terms of design, we love the mature but still sporty element the QP6 brings to the table. It’s obvious that it is capable of kicking some serious ass but doesn’t flaunt it—leave that to the owner’s choice of paint job.

The front fascia and hood are bold and mildly aggressive but with the tameness that hallmarks luxury. Paired with the wide, low sculpted hood wrapping around to the streamlined side panels, the QP6 has enough presence to be instantly noticed and recognized for what it is without coming off as flashy as its sporty younger sibling the GranCabrio.

The cabin retains the handcrafted Italian luxury standards established by its predecessors but adds modern leaps in technology with touchscreen functionality, adjustable pedals and a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins optional system that we’re sure will give the new 2013 Range Rover Autobiography’s 3D system a run for its money. To top it off, WLAN-based Wi-Fi is incorporated, a feature seen heavily in Bentleys and Rolls-Royces these days.

While the entry-level price point of $130,000 isn’t too far off what competitors such as the Jaguar XF and XJ are doing, we think the new Quattroporte will stand out from the crowd with an exceptional package that looks as good on your driveway or at top speed as it does on the wallet, considering what you’re getting.

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