2018 Maserati Ghibli

2018 Maserati Ghibli Review

The Ghibli makes up for its lack of overall refinement with an engaging driving experience.
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Generally speaking, midsize luxury sedans offer a serene driving experience, one that envelops passengers in a cocoon of comfort and quiet confidence. At the same time, they carry a certain presence that gives the impression of superiority over their smaller siblings. They don't have much in the way of personality, however, and most are so refined to the point that differentiation comes down to styling. One notable exception is the 2018 Maserati Ghibli.

The Ghibli has all the trappings of a midsize luxury sedan, but its sporty handling, sonorous engine note and seductive design make it stand out in this accomplished but staid crowd. The Maserati badge also suggests it'll be priced higher than comparably equipped competitors. While it's true the Ghibli is more expensive than, say, a six-cylinder BMW 5 Series, it's not prohibitively so. The Ghibli narrows the price gap somewhat with standard features that you often have to pay extra for in those other cars, including leather upholstery, a navigation system and blind-spot monitoring.

There are a few downsides. As good as the interior looks, the materials quality is a bit underwhelming, and the base V6's acceleration isn't as ferocious as rivals' (though the uprated motor is properly quick). On the whole, we think the 2018 Maserati Ghibli's sporty handling and exotic pedigree are just the thing to fix your midsize luxury sedan blues.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Maserati Ghibli gets restyled front and rear bumpers and a new grille. The S-level engine gets a power boost to 424 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque, up from last year's 410 hp and 406 lb-ft. Last year's Premium package is now standard, and all models receive electric power-assisted steering. Several new driving aids are also available. Maserati has also reworked the Ghibli's trim naming, so variants are no longer distinguished solely by powertrain choice.

We recommend

The Ghibli's low base price may entice buyers otherwise considering one of its dime-a-dozen German rivals, but the 350-horsepower engine isn't all that impressive, especially when you consider it's built by Ferrari. With the extra power bump for 2018, it's easier than ever to recommend the 424-horsepower S or S Q4. We'd also check the box for the GranSport trim to enhance the Ghibli's sporting pretensions.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 Maserati Ghibli is a midsize luxury sedan sold in three trims: base, GranLusso and GranSport. The base model is very well-equipped right out of the box, with standard features that include heated seats, leather upholstery, navigation and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability. From there, buyers can choose the luxurious GranLusso or the thrilling GranSport model. A turbocharged V6 powers all Ghiblis, though the S and SQ 4 variants develop more power.

Each of the above trims is available in three distinct powertrains. The base Ghibli is motivated by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine (350 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque) that drives the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The same engine powers the S, though it's more powerful in this application (424 hp, 428 lb-ft). The S Q4 adds all-wheel drive to the S model.

Standard features on the base Ghibli include 19-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, LED taillights, a sunroof, automatic wipers, a rearview camera, remote engine start, keyless entry and ignition, auto-dimming mirrors, a 7-inch driver information display, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable and heated front seats, 60/40-split folding rear seats, leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Also standard are a navigation system, an 8.4-inch touchscreen and an eight-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a USB port, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Safety features include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring.

From there, buyers can choose between the luxury-themed GranLusso or the enthusiast-oriented GranSport. Both build off the base model's features, though each comes with adaptive headlights and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

Features unique to the GranLusso include chrome exterior styling elements, laminated (i.e., quieter) rear glass, a power-closing trunk, a power rear sunshade, open-pore wood accents, upgraded leather upholstery, additional leather trim, a heated steering wheel with wood, and ventilated front seats.

The GranSport includes 20-inch wheels with summer performance tires, red-painted brake calipers, adaptive dampers, aerodynamic enhancements, column-mounted shift paddles, a sport steering wheel, sport seats, and leather coverings on the dashboard and door armrests.

Many of the GranLusso's and GranSport's upgrades can be added to the other models for an additional cost. Other stand-alone options include 19-, 20- and 21-inch wheels; carbon-fiber shift paddles; heated rear seats; soft-close doors; a rear armrest with USB ports; a Wi-Fi hotspot; and a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system. A Driver Assistance package is available on all trims, adding a 360-degree parking camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, and a blind-spot monitoring system that can change the direction of the Ghibli if you attempt to merge into a lane with a vehicle in the blind spot.

The S and S Q4 models are essentially the same as their counterparts with the base engine, though all trims come with open-pore wood and upgraded brakes.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the base Maserati Ghibli (turbo 3.0L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2014, the current Ghibli has received some revisions, including additional standard equipment in 2016, new safety features and an improved touchscreen interface in 2017 and 2018's electric power steering. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Ghibli, however.

Driving

If you want a truly pulse-quickening Ghibli, you'll have to step up to the 424-hp S model. This base Ghibli's power is merely adequate. But the handling is sensational and perfectly balanced at all times.

Acceleration

The 350-hp turbo V6 provides a smooth flow of thrust from 3,000 to 6,500 rpm. The exhaust is appropriately growly in Sport.

Braking

The pedal has some softness early in the stroke, but the brakes do a good job of hauling the Ghibli down from speed with zero drama. No pedal fade.

Handling

Precise, willing and perfectly balanced. The Ghibli is easy to control at the limit and exhibits almost zero understeer. As midsize luxury sport sedans go, this is one of the best.

Drivability

Throttle delivery is smooth. The eight-speed automatic is happy to kick down a gear, but it could use stronger throttle blips to create smoother rev-matched downshifts.

Comfort

The Ghibli is quiet and comfortable, especially considering it's an Italian sport sedan. The 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.

Seat comfort

The front and rear seats are thickly padded and comfy. The front buckets have good lumbar support. Your body settles into these seats, forming instant lateral support to keep you secure when going around turns.

Ride comfort

The adjustable suspension should satisfy most people. Normal mode isn't overly cushy, but it smooths out the big bumps. Sport mode is definitely more jiggly.

Noise & vibration

The Ghibli is very quiet in normal driving. The summer tires, however, do produce some extra humming over coarse surfaces.

Interior

The 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 and good outward visibility as well as some useful storage.

Ease of use

The steering wheel has an overly large diameter. It's hard to see some buttons next to the console shifter and for the climate controls. The left-side paddle shifter interferes with the turn-signal stalk operation.

Getting in/getting out

Access to the front is easy, but the rear doors are small. Your feet can get caught on the doorsill on your way in. The center console also protrudes rearward in back, which can make it hard to slide across to the other rear seat.

Roominess

There's excellent headroom front and rear, even for tall people. Good kneeroom for the driver and decent elbow space up front. But rear footroom is poor.

Visibility

The narrow and short windshield pillars allow an excellent view out the front. The rear of the car sweeps up, so the rear window is wide but short.

Quality

The interior could be better. The Chrysler-sourced switchgear brings down the quality level of the Ghibli. We also noticed some sharp edges on the trim, and one car had a rattle from the back deck.

Utility

The better-than-average trunk space, split rear seats that fold, and the rear-seat pass-through give the Ghibli surprising cargo-carrying flexibility and utility.

Small-item storage

There's a large center armrest bin with an air vent inside to keep small items cool. The door pockets are reasonably deep, but they're narrow.

Cargo space

The trunk is bigger than those of many rivals. Split-and-folding rear seats come standard and enhance utility.

Technology

The 2018 Ghibli enhances the comprehensive tech update from last year, with additional driver assistance features. These include improvements to the lane keeping assist system and an enhanced blind-spot monitoring system.

Audio & navigation

An 8.4-inch touchscreen display appears lifted from the Dodge-Jeep-Chrysler family but that's not a bad thing. Big surface area and quick response make it easy to use on the road. Optional audio systems are legitimate audiophile offerings, especially the 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround system.

Smartphone integration

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are now included. There's no native in-car app suite (diagnostics, service reminders, concierge service).

Driver aids

Parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring are standard. Options include most of the now-common features: auto emergency braking and lane keeping assist, among others.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.