Home' Motoring Plus : May 21st 2014 Contents AT A GLANCE
Powertrain: Front in-line-mounted
R/4WD 24v V6 Quad Cam turbocharged
petrol and diesel engines with eight-
Outputs: Ghibli - 2979cc, 243kW at
5000rpm, 500Nm at 4500rpm.
9.9L/100km, 223g/km CO2.
Ghibli S - 2979cc, 301kW at 5500rpm,
550Nm at 4500-5000rpm.
10.4L/100km, 242g/km CO2.
Ghibli diesel - 2987cc, 202kW at
4000rpm, 570Nm at 2000-2600rpm,
overboost 600Nm. 6.0L/100km,
Performance: Ghibli - Maximum
263kmh, 0-100kmh 5.6 seconds.
Ghibli S - Maximum 285kmh, 0-100kmh
Ghibli diesel - Maximum 250kmh,
0-100kmh 6.3 seconds.
Chassis: Double-wishbone front and
five-link rear suspension. Vented disc
brakes front and rear. Choice of six alloy
wheel styles from 18 to 21 inches.
Safety: Seven airbags, ABS, ESP,
designed with crash-force load paths,
five-star Euro-NCAP safety rating.
Connectivity: Wi-fi Wlan hotspot
capability, streaming Bluetooth and
compatibility with most mobile phone
Dimensions: L 4971 mm, W 2100 mm, H
1461 mm, W/base 2998cc, F/track 1635
mm, R/track 1653mm, Fuel 80L (70L
diesel), Weight 1810 to 1835kg.
Pricing: Ghibli: from $129,990. Ghibli
diesel: from $131,990. Ghibli S: from
HOT: Powerful, creamy-smooth V6s,
brilliant automatic; achingly lovely
styling; nimble and comfortable chassis,
NOT: Coarse low-speed ride,
recalcitrant gear selector when parking,
some Chrysler/Jeep switchgear. Ghibli
could offend neighbours with visually
similar Quattroportes asking $65k
VERDICT: Perfectly placed to give the
hurry-up to the similarly-powered but
far less stylish luxury German offerings.
Up front: More
and an equally
Comfy for the
but less so for
the piggy in
❚ Continued from page C11
Generic rear: From this angle the Ghibli is a little more anonymous.
As well as having styling that only really
the Jaguar can compete with in this
segment, the Ghibli arms itself with a
variety of powertrains, with V6 3.0-litre
twin turbocharged petrol engines offering
243kW in the Ghibli and 301kW in the
Ghibli ‘S’ and Maserati’s first diesel, a
similarly-sized six derived from those
used by Chrysler and Jeep with 202kW on
tap. An eight-speed paddle-shift auto is
standard across the range.
The more powerful version of the petrol
V6 is also fitted to the Ghibli S Q4 which
features all-wheel-drive. This model is still
some time away for New Zealand.
Pricewise, the Ghibli sits at least $65,000
underneath the new Quattroporte in the
Maserati line-up, its starting sticker of
$129,990 giving the Marque a compelling
new entry-point which not so long ago
was well beyond $200,000. Suddenly you
can see where all those extra sales are
expected to come from.
The bean-counters and marketing
specialists at Maserati say they have
researched what elements are required in
the segment. We can already tick the box
for styling. How does it score elsewhere?
There are more soft textures on the
inside of the Ghibli than the Quattroporte
and it does look and feel like the sportier
of the two cars, with five gorgeous leather
trim choices which include swatches for
the dash-top, wheel-rim and seatbelts.
The centre console can be had in piano
black finish or textured natural wood and
carbon fibre if that’s your bag.
Up front, the seating is superb and the
driving position one of the nicest places to
be this side of a first-class airline seat. The
air-conditioned glovebox, big door
pockets, a centre console storage bin, two
cup-holders, plus USB and 12V sockets as
well as the 60/40 split rear seats make the
car a flexible place to travel too.
Maserati has left nothing out of the
The Ghibli has entered this sports
premium market with a Maserati Touch
Control screen, reversing camera,
Poltrona Frau leather interior and a
15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio
system should you ever grow tired of the
sound of its gorgeous V6, as well as
WLAN-based wi-fi and compatibility with
most modern mobile phone systems.
While there’s not quite as much rear
legroom as the longer Quattroporte, the
Ghibli feels at least as roomy as the
previous model Quattroporte. In the rear,
the outer seats are very shapely and tend
to relegate the centre perch into an ‘‘if you
must’’ prospect for a fifth passenger.
The switchgear feels a little hard to the
touch as some of them come from
Chrysler/Jeep, but centre rear seat aside,
we’d give the new car an above average
pass in the cabin, helped by an excellent
score for the boot, which can swallow half
a cubic metre of luggage.
On the driving front, the Ghibli is a
much more sporting choice than its
Crisply geared steering makes the
Ghibli respond eagerly to driver input and
its well-sorted 50:50 weight distribution
means that it feels satisfyingly balanced
and poised from turn-in, through a bend’s
apex and into the exit point.
The whole car feels directly linked to
the driver and its levels of grip are
reassuring, with plenty of feel in the
variable-speed steering to help bring
things back into line, should the tail start
to move out, though this will only happen
if you fiddle with the switchable stability
Ride quality is always an important
consideration when looking at the New
Zealand market and it has to be said that
the Ghibli does fidget on less than perfect
surfaces at lower speeds. On the open road
it all changes and it’s quiet and smooth
except when traversing expansion gaps
though it does transmit bumps and
Compared with Maserati’s longer-
wheelbased Quattroporte flagship, it’s a
little too firm to double up as a limousine,
but with handling and communication
like this, few will care.
I guess it’s the trade-off you have to
make when entering the sporting edge
required in the modern executive market.
The petrol-fuelled Maseratis tick all the
boxes for this segment. The Ghibli’s V6 is
built by Ferrari with twin-turbochargers,
and even in less powerful non S form, the
unit offers crisp, quick-acting throttle
response and an almost orchestral
baritone exhaust note from the four
stubby outlets under the rear splitter.
Looking at the power and torque figures
and acceleration figures (see the adjacent
panel) there doesn’t appear to be a slow
Ghibli in the line-up. If Maserati decides
to give the model a go at the BMW M5,
Audi RS6, Benz AMG and Jag XFR by
borrowing the thunderous blown 4-litre
V8 from the top Quattroporte, we and the
market are in for a lot of fun.
As it is, the basic petrol Ghibli still
dispatches the zero to ‘sorry, officer’
sprint in 5.6 seconds, which is plenty
quick and the saving of just over half a
second afforded by the Ghibli S model for
an extra $20,000 hardly seems worth it.
Another two-tenths of a second can be
scrubbed from that time if the Ghibli S is
a Q4 all-wheel-drive model.
With eight speeds shuffling the power
and torque, any level of acceleration is
seamless and ultra-smooth, but when in
sport mode, which tightens up throttle
response, suspension rates and raises
shift speeds, it thumps through the shifts
just a touch harshly. But maybe that was
my right foot, for taking it only slightly
easier on the go pedal brought everything
back to delicious smoothness again.
Squeezing-off shifts with the ZF system
is fun enough on the open road, but
moving between R N and D for parking
purposes is tricky, requiring the use of a
trigger button on the lever to do so. It’s
not as intuitive as most.
Euro NCAP has already awarded the
Ghibli a five-star crash test rating. As
you’d expect with seven airbags, anti-
whiplash headrests and the use of high
strength steels in the car’s crash zones.
However, so communicative is the car and
so replete with stability aids and
heartbeat-quick brakes that the driver
probably feels equally safe in the
knowledge that the Ghibli would be more
likely than most to help the user to avoid
loss of control in the first place
I had to ask twice about this car’s
pricing when I picked it up last week.
Truth be known it looks no less gorgeous
than the bigger and more expensive
Quattroporte, and sounds and drives like
the thoroughbred it is.
Initial sales indicate it’s well on the way
to becoming the Maserati cash-cow. I can
imagine a lot of German trade-ins as the
Ghibli starts to blow hard and hot in the
12 —THE NELSON MAIL Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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