Behind The Wheel of the Latest Maserati Ghibli S
Words by Nick Tobias
In the past Maserati haven’t really tried to compete with anyone, they have always been a pure individual brand, doing their own thing and with their own cult following. The 1967 Ghibli Coupe was no exception and was always going to be hard to live up to (for those who were lucky enough to experience it). Now, owned by Fiat Chrysler conglomerate (Alpha, Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep, Ferrari, Maserati and more) they must compete and they must sell a lot of units. Enter the latest Ghibli, a 4 door saloon built to create a different access point for this very popular market.
The new Ghibli is really a smaller version of the awesome Quattroporte that lead Maserati back onto the map a decade ago. On first approach there’s no question the Ghibli is a Maserati – sultry eyes, wide haunches, gaping grillage, shark-like gills, and of course, the trident badge front and centre. That said, It doesn’t go quite as far as it’s Quattroporte and GranTurismo cousins. Maybe this is due to the search for broader appeal.
The self-assured interior is clearly Italian – luxurious, full of details (double stitched leather, quilted seats, traditional clock) and un abbraccio (it hugs you). Again the commonality of the group elements show through but it somehow gets away with it. The steering wheel feels great in the hands and technology works as well as it should.
Where this car comes into it’s own is the engine (a 3.0 litre V6, twin turbo), and particularly it’s sound! After spending some time on the highway (which was very nice and civilised thanks to the super acoustic rated windows), we headed into what some would call, ‘challenging territory’ where sport mode was activated. The gearing gets wound up (all 8 of them!), the dampers in the exhaust system are opened and in true Italian style, it’s like an aria from one of Puccini’s operas at full volume.
Coming out of corner one into a reasonable straight there was room for a bit of a poke, and that’s all it took to get to 200km/hr! It’s clear to see that this 400+hp engine is part made in Ferrari’s Maranello factory.
Backing off a little it was then time to test the handling. Although in Europe this is an all wheel drive model, Australia gets the rear wheel drive and it’s perfect for this type of car. Limited body roll and a reasonable weight to the car means that it loves to be given a bit through the corners, the rear 275/45 R18’s are like putty on the road.
Heading back into the city, I’m not sure whether it was the car or me who needed settling down. The Ghibli is easy going as a day to day saloon – an alternative to the usual suspects if you are looking for something a little more unique and individual with an engine that will drive the neighbours nuts!
Price $169,900 (not including statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery) | www.maserati.com