The engine fitted to the new Maserati Quattroporte and GranTurismo is fruit of an entirely new project and it is assembled at Ferrari’s Maranello Head Quarters.
The production of the compact and lightweight (184 kg) eight cylinder V90° engine takes place in the Engine Mounting Area where Ferrari engines are assembled. This means that Maserati engines benefit from the same level of technical excellence as Ferrari ones. The engine is a 4244 cc unit that has a peak power output of over 400 bhp at 7000 rpm. To ensure that the highest standards are maintained, they are assembled, by hand, by highly trained personnel who, before they begin work, are put through a month long training programme.
This training period, christened ‘test flying’ by insiders, is designed to familiarise the personnel with the assembly process. It teaches them how to diagnose problems, servicing and the basics of how the engine works. At the end of the month they are awarded a certificate to testify that they are ready for the real production process.
Turning to the production cycle, the process begins with the preparation of one of the sub-groups (for example, pistons, air intake manifolds and preparing completed cylinder heads).
Once these subgroups have been finished, it is over to the assembly line for the stage that unites each component. Here, Ferrari and Maserati engines alternate on the same work cycle. This cycle consists of short blocks (piston rods and cylinder blocks) and long blocks (where final engine assembly takes place).
The process includes a series of checks to ensure an excellent end product. The production system combines the advantages of work carried out by hand with precision electronics. Courtesy of a revolutionary bolt tightening certification system, a special screwer sends data to a central server. The server then compares the tightening values from the car with parameters set by the technical department. The worth of the system is that the process only moves on when the values correspond exactly.
The checks carried out in the testing room involves entire engines that are analysed individually. The opening phase sees the engine ‘dragged’, when it is run at minimum in order to lubricate the gearing and set up the mechanical parts. This forms the basis for the running in of all the engine’s mechanical components during which the engine is set at 2000 rpm for around twenty minutes, at 4500 rpm for another twenty minutes and then at 6000 rpm for thirty minutes. At the end of this testing cycle, it is on to an analysis of the torque curve, the peak power and a final emissions check (another emissions check is carried out during the final test room exam).
Once the final results are known, the engine is ready to be sent to Maserati, in Modena, to be mounted on the car.