Inspiration can be found almost anywhere. Visitors to the Piazza Nettuno in Bologna, Italy, will find a tall bronze statue standing conspicuously above the fountain in the square. Completed in 1567, a powerful male figure was placed on top of this fountain which bears his name, the Fontana di Nettuno—Fountain of Neptune. In the late 1920s, a young local artist who wandered through the piazza stopped to admire this statue, the handiwork of sculptor Giambologna.

As he cast his eye over the huge statue, the artist’s interest was captured by Neptune’s metal trident. He took out a notepad and sketched the detail. Returning home to his brothers, he proudly showed them an idea for a logo. They had begun creating race cars and needed an emblem to symbolise the brand’s Italian passion and power. The trident was just what the Maserati brothers had been searching for. Thus, the Maserati logo was born.

Could this brand be any more Italian? Older than both Ferrari and Lamborghini, the Italian heritage clearly works in Maserati’s favour. Just consider its flagship sedan for a moment. If it had been called by its English name, it would have been the ‘Four Door’. But close your eyes and say it in Italian—‘Quattroporte’ (QP), pronounced with the trademark rolling ‘r’. It just sounds so much more … passionate.

When the start button is pressed, the V8 roars into life with a quick blip of the throttle. Oh, yes, it’s Italian. At idle, press the Sport button and flaps in the exhaust open, and the burble becomes even louder. Under the bonnet, the Italian theme continues, with a Ferrari-built twin-turbocharged V8. The engine uses direct injection to tweak power output to a not-insubstantial 530 hp. But get this: torque is an extremely healthy 650 Nm, with an overboost function bumping it to a whopping 710 Nm. That’s more pulling power than the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. Wind it up and it’ll accelerate to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and power on to a top speed of 307 km/h. This is one properly quick four-door.

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