2014 Maserati Ghibli S | Road Test
* Ideal 50/50 weight distribution in addition to a phenomenal Skyhook suspension system makes the Ghibli S an absolute blast to drive.
* The crackling exhaust note once Sport mode is activated is simply intoxicating.
* Surprisingly the Ghibli S is a lot more practical than you'd have imagined.
* Interior finishing is a slight let down.
* The introduction of staged turbo's would seriously enhance the driving excitement.
Introduction & Summary
The Maserati Ghibli is a nameplate that holds sentimental value for the brand, after all, it is the very same badge that had people abandoning the Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini Miura in favour of the Trident back in the 1960’s.
In third generation livery, the 2014 Maserati Ghibli is just as special as its ancestors were, and though it may have become prettier as the decades went by, the Italian Grand Tourer now faces competition from the detail oriented Germans with their Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS.
Styling & Design
The sleek silhouette of the 2014 Maserati Ghibli S is constructed with sinuous lines etched into the bodywork, pronounced shoulder lines, and tapered creases coming round the ends to give birth to a capacious boot. While it is undoubtedly elegant, the Ghibli’s sporting character cannot be overlooked; angular headlamps that integrated into the distinctive radiator grille, large Brembo calipers that take refuge behind 20 inch Urano wheels, and quad exhaust tips that should be called Carlos, Sebastian, Urs, and David (members of the operatic group, Il Divo).
Continuing its artistic streak to the interior, it’s Rosso leather that makes its way onto the supremely comfortable seats, carbon fiber trim that races along the centre console and door panels, and Alcantara that adorns the upper half of the cabin. While the materials are faultless and radiate a combination of sophistication and luxury, the same cannot be said for the finishing. Operating the sunroof controls not only lets out eerie creaks, but reveal just how flimsy the fitting and roofliner truly are.
The disapproving headlamps that give the 2014 Maserati Ghibli S an aggressive mien, do a lot more than just send fellow motorists fleeing from the fast lane on highways. Fitted with self-levelling and swivelling light control, the headlamps not only automatically adjust to the weight and angle of the vehicle, but replicate steering inputs to ensure the path the vehicle is headed towards, is always lit sufficiently. Additionally, there’s also an automatic high beam feature which works effortlessly and switches the high beams on when it detects you’re in a poorly lit area and reverts to dipped beams if it senses an oncoming vehicle; it’s all quite geeky, really.
Guaranteed to send shivers down your spine is the 1,280 watts, 15 speakers, Bowers & Wilkins sound system. Recreating the ambiance of a concert with pristine quality, there’s a genuinely satisfying feeling as you blast pieces from Italian maestros such as Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli while seated in one of Italy’s finest 2+2 Grand Tourers. For all those who haven’t been lucky enough to catch these legends perform live, this could in all possibility be the closest you’ll ever get.
Performance, Ride & Handling
Reach out for the push button ignition switch and the Ghibli bursts to life, quite literally too, as Carlos, Sebastian, Urs, and David perform a perfectly orchestrated snarl. Before proceeding to do anything else, there’s a set of procedures to be followed, procedures that I feel are an absolute necessity. First off, tap the manual mode button to engage the paddle shifters, once completed, depress the Sport button to open the exhaust flaps and heighten aural satisfaction, and finally, push the suspension button to enable a stiffer and more engaging ride; now, you’re ready to go.
Tossing up 410 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and an astonishing 550 Nm of torque at 5,000 RPM from its twin turbo 3.0 litre V6 engine, digging the brushed aluminium accelerator pedal into the footwell propels the 1,810kg Italian beauty to a 100 km/h in just 5.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 285 km/h.
Mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, the 2014 Maserati Ghibli S shuffles cogs in a matter of just 200 milliseconds. To put that into perspective, that’s exactly half as long as it takes to blink an eye; it really should just be referred to as an 8-speed telepathic transmission, I tell you.
In Sport mode with the exhaust flaps fully open, the curvaceous Italian beauty produces a distinctive growl which bellows in the air, and the harder you push it, the closer you get to aural gratification. Roars in the low rev range transform into high pitched shrieks, which, when combined with whistles from the turbocharger are loud enough not only to awaken the neighbours, but make the dead stir in the coffins in search for their Do Not Disturb door hangers as well.
Sending 410 feral horses to the rear wheels, the Ghibli S handles the power exceptionally well and the unintrusive traction control system allows the vehicle to fishtail under heavy acceleration, only stepping in if it detects you’re up to some immature antics. On the whole, the 2014 Maserati Ghibli S delivers a sublime driving experience, but the turbo’s hinder it to an extent.
On paper, the Ghbili’s 3.0 litre V6 engine generates 550 Nm of torque in the rev band of 1,750 RPM to 5,000 RPM. In reality, though the turbo’s can be heard spooling early on, it almost feels like the Ghibli S is hibernating until you’re hovering in the 2,750 RPM range. From there on, it spears its way through the air and leaves nearly everything in its wake. However, reducing the turbo lag is definitely something that needs to be worked on, as staged turbo’s that kick in at different points in the rev band could quite easily take the Ghibli to a whole new level.
Comfort & Practicality
With 8 way power adjustable front seats, adjustable pedals, and an electronically adjustable steering column, the Ghibli is most certainly comfortable, and the best part of all those different settings, is that they either allow the driver to be cocooned in as a rally driver would, or relax as though they were sitting in a lounge chair. Additional comfort features also include a dual-zone automatic climate control system and ventilated seats for the front row, while the rear passengers have to make do with toasted buns thanks to seat heaters only.
Hovering at just over 1,000 RPM’s when cruising at 80 km/h, the 8 speed transmission plays a great role in ranking the Italian Grand Tourer highly on the efficiency scales. Sipping 12 litres of Octane 98 in exchange for 100 kilometres, the Ghibli could most certainly be an efficient everyday driver, if you could restrict yourself from indulging in raunchy exhaust notes every couple of minutes that is. If your partner isn’t sold on the idea of having the Ghibli as a practical family sedan, just pop the boot, they’re sure to agree once they see the cavernous 500 litre cargo capacity.
Price & Verdict
Over the past couple of years, the Italian marque has gone through somewhat of a transformation. It has bid farewell to hand made vehicles and has opted to have them manufactured in factories instead; it has in turn increased volumes, utilized bits from other Chrysler vehicles, and reduced prices too, all while sacrificing its exclusivity.
While I for one will always live by the principal of Old is Gold as far as Maserati’s are concerned, you can trust me when I say the 2014 Maserati Ghibli S is the best new Maserati out there yet. Forget the similarly powered Mercedes-Benz CLS500, don’t even think about the Audi A7, and whatever you do, don’t even compare it to its elder brother, the Quattroporte. If it’s a new Maserati you’re after, it’s the Ghibli S and nothing else, take my word for it.