Maserati is known around the world as a builder of luxurious, exquisitely designed and prestigious automobiles. It is a small manufacturer when matched with the likes of Lexus and Cadillac, and not well known in the United States. But like a few other small companies they are making inroads and beginning to be noticed worldwide.
In part, that is the reason Maserati brings its new Ghibli (pronounced Gibb-lee) Stateside. The Ghibli is a finely designed, luxury mid-size sport sedan that carries itself as any fine Italian automobile would. Fitting into the midsized category the Ghibli is just under a foot shorter than the Quattroporte, Maserati’s full sized sedan.
Like the Quattroporte, the Ghibli is constructed of many of the same or quite similar aluminum and steel components. For some who are even more prestigious minded and feel a name is more important than the capabilities, the Ghibli is fitted with a V-6 engine built by the masters at Ferrari.
Don’t begin to snicker at the mention of a V-6 for this sedan because it is as capable as would be demanded of Ferrari and Maserati. Two versions are available, a 345 horsepower and a 404 horsepower version. Both are turbocharged to give this compact gasoline engine the performance demanded by sporty minded drivers; which of course we include ourselves.
There are some automobiles that we enjoy driving. They are fun, feel good to be seen in and just are appreciated. There are others that are a far cut above. They are fun to drive and can be appreciated but are so special they create a persona that makes you want to stay in the car never to give up on the drive. Those become a bit of an obsession, to be behind the wheel 24/7. With the Maserati Ghibli there is a visceral attraction that is created, in a major way, with the symphony of sound emanating from the dual exhaust. With every blip of the throttle there is emitted an exhaust note that penetrates every bone and nerve in your body, saying let’s go for a run up that country road. We found we were looking for new places to drive more for enjoying the Ghibli than for discovering a new landmark.
Though the excitement of the drive is more important to us than other aspects of this finely engineered vehicle, we cannot overlook the Italian design of both the exterior and interior. The exterior is every bit a collection of sleek and gorgeous Italian lines. You observe this car drive down the road and you cannot avert your eyes, you must allow it to invade your mind. Even if you have no idea what brand of vehicle it is, you must stare. If you know automobiles you will recognize this is of Italian descent, if not a Maserati, at first glimpse. If the swooping design isn’t a dead give-away, the huge oblong grille with the prominent Maserati Trident will leave no doubt in your psyche that this is a special sighting. Your ears will alert you with the beautiful harmony of sounds emitted from the dual exhausts.
The interior is a collection of Italian refinement with a bit of American frugalness as Fiat/Chrysler has a hand in the business at Maserati. The design of the interior is a collection of curves and flowing lines that give it flare with leather, wood and carbon fiber trim. Some of the controls, buttons and switches seem a bit under-whelming, yet all work as they should.
Though some might say the Ghibli doesn’t contain a bevy of the much clamored for electronic equipment as you might find on other European luxury sedans, We are glad for the fact the Ghibli doesn’t have things such as adaptive cruse and a few other addendums that seem to dumb down the driver. We are ones who still feel that a driver must drive the vehicle, not simply guide it. Leave the texting and such until you have arrived.
The atmosphere of the passenger compartment is full of the fine Italian leather, though some touch areas are not as padded as we would like. Yet, even with that, the touch of this leather seems higher quality than some others.
We were given, thankfully, a Ghibli S Q4 that ups the horsepower to the 404 engine, as well as numerous additions that also increases the spirit factor considerably. Wider, bigger wheels and tires and the driver-adjustable adaptive suspension system plus steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters certainly increased our fun quotient as we adventured along the two-lane sections of Highway 1 of the Pacific Coast in Northern California. No better place in our minds to experience the abilities and qualities found in every inch of pleasure the Maserati Ghibli had to offer.