2014 Maserati Ghibli Sedan (3.0L V6 Twin-turbo 8-speed Automatic)
Driven On 6/19/2013
In some ways the midsize Maserati Ghibli is simply a smaller Quattroporte. Yes, the interior shows obvious cost-cutting, but the driving performance more than makes up for it. And the overall experience is more interesting than its German rivals. The exhaust note is cracking good.
PerformanceIf you want a truly pulse-quickening Ghibli, you'll have to step up to the 404-hp S Q4 model. This base Ghibli is no slacker, but it never has alarming punch. The handling? Oh, it's sensational. Perfect balance at all times.
Not overly quick, but the 345-hp twin-turbo V6 provides a smooth flow of thrust from 3,000 to 6,500 rpm. Exhaust gets growly in Sport.
Pedal has some softness early in the stroke. But the brakes did a good job of hauling the Ghibli down from speed with zero drama. Didn't experience any pedal fade.
Effort was a tad too light and our test car had a rubbery feel off-center. It felt artificial, like it was electric. But it's hydraulic. Still, the Ghibli goes where it's pointed.
Precise, willing and perfectly balanced. Thank the 50/50 weight distribution. Not only is the Ghibli easy to control at the limit, but it exhibits almost zero understeer.
Smooth throttle delivery. Eight-speed automatic is perfectly supple and happy to kick down a gear but could use stronger throttle blips for smoother actuation on downshifts. Good outward views, comfortable ride.
ComfortThe Ghibli is quiet and comfortable, especially considering it's an Italian sport sedan. Front and rear seats are well padded. The turbo V6 only gets loud when the Sport button is activated. The Normal suspension setting is just soft enough.
Front and rear seats are thick and comfy. Front buckets have good lumbar. Your body settles into these seats, forming instant lateral support for cornering.
Our test car's optional Skyhook adjustable suspension should satisfy most. Normal mode isn't overly cushy but it smoothes out the big bumps. Sport mode is definitely more jiggly.
Excellent sound deadening and dual-pane glass keep the Ghibli extremely quiet in normal driving. Summer tires do produce some extra humming over coarse surfaces.
InteriorThe Ghibli's interior isn't as sumptuous as we thought it would be, and there are some ergonomic oddities. But there's plenty of room, good outward visibility as well as some useful storage/cargo ideas.
Steering wheel has a overly large diameter. Hard to see lights on buttons next to console shifter and for climate control. Left paddle shifter interferes with turn signal stalk.
Front access is easy. Rear doors are small. Rocker panels are large, can catch your feet on way in. Rear center seat difficult because of rearward-extending center console.
Excellent headroom front and rear, even for tall people, in our sunroof-less test car. Good right knee room for driver and decent elbow space up front. Rear foot room is poor.
Narrow and short windshield pillars give excellent view out the front, perfect for looking through turns. Rear of car sweeps up, rear window is wide but short. Rear camera standard.
No front bin but large (and cooled) center armrest bin. 17.7-cubic-foot trunk has a uniform shape. Door pockets are reasonably deep but narrow. Split/folding rear seats come standard.
ValueMaseratis rarely (if ever) offer exceptional value. This includes the Ghibli. The base price is similar to some of its "four-door coupe" rivals, but the Maser comes with less "stuff." And we trust its quality/longevity less than the Germans.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The interior could be better. The Chrysler switchgear brings down the level of the Ghibli. We also noticed some sharp edges on the trim, and one car had a rattle from the back deck.
It's silly that a $65,000 sport/luxury sedan doesn't come standard with Bluetooth. It does come with dual-zone climate control, six-way power front seats and a rearview camera.
Our European test car, with options, was estimated to cost around $70,000. Maserati makes the buyer pay extra for Bluetooth, paddle shifters and the Skyhook adjustable suspension.
The EPA has yet to publish ratings for the 2014 Ghibli. But with an efficient 8-speed automatic, the mpg figures should be reasonable. Just keep your right foot out of the turbos.
Both the Ghibli's basic warranty and the drivetrain are covered for 4 years/50,000 miles. That's identical to the Mercedes CLS and Porsche Panamera.
Roadside assistance for 4 years/50,000 miles. Free maintenance is not available, whereas the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe has a free maintenance program for 4 years/50,000 miles.
Fun To DriveThe Ghibli is an extremely fun-to-drive car, due in large part to its balanced handling. It simply does not understeer. Press that Sport button and the exhaust note comes alive, with beautiful popping and cracking sounds.
Sure, the interior quality and style could be better. But the seats are mega comfortable, the suspension is adjustable per your driving mood and the turbo V6 has just enough power.
The Ghibli's exterior is more highly styled than most. You'll get noticed. The twin-turbo V6 has some giddyup, and the popping/burbling from the exhaust under deceleration is fun.