Maserati's Ghibli offers a different kind of sensation - what are they?
Photos by Azfar Hashim
If you’re reading this review, it’s obvious you’re looking for something else besides the new BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. And that’s good, as it shows you have that adventurous streak to go against social norms.
Not that it’s wrong for you to pick any of the three Germans, but come on - they’re everywhere now. Well there are also the Lexus GS and Jaguar XF to consider; however there is no way on earth you can deny that both are equally omnipresent.
That said, now lets focus on today’s car, the Maserati Ghibli.
It’s a fine car, this. I’ll begin with the interior: No one wraps their seats, door panels, dashboard and steering wheel in high quality leather like Maserati, to the point there’s a peculiar scent to it. It’s quite rare to talk about… Err… Scents, but really, you can’t beat the Italians when it comes to this. The Germans are faultless when it comes to overall build quality, but when you delve deeper and start talking about attention to details and style, the Ghibli is - for no better word - lovely.
On top of that, the seats are all sculpted to accommodate and hug; you also do seat slightly lower than say, in an Audi A6, hence it’s very snug overall. For the average Asian adult, there is ample leg and head rooms, so long drives in the Ghibli surely is going to be an enjoyable one (without the incessant “are we there yet?”). Even if you’re slightly taller it should be good still, without having to worry about a messed up hairdo at the end of your journey.
The cockpit felt properly focused towards the driver with most control buttons clearly labeled and placed easily within driver’s reach. Even better, there are ample storage spaces for all your knick-knacks, namely on the center console and door panels — glad to know Maserati went to great lengths to ensure the car remained practical.
The steering wheel is a joy to hold, nicely shaped with not too much controls — namely cruise control, active cruise control, audio system, Bluetooth and onboard info computer — that could potentially confuse you. Not forgetting the pair of aluminum paddle—shifter that is so nicely sized, and not available in any of its competitors.
Some cars feel overly powerful that it doesn’t return much joy in driving, while other cars are marketed as ‘powerful in class’ and whatnots but at the end of the day, seem underwhelming. Not in the Ghibli’s case though, as it felt adequately powered to lug around its more than 1.8-tonne kerbweight.
In case you're wondering, I.C.E means 'Increased Control & Efficiency'- reducing consumption, emissions and noise, think of it as the Eco Mode equivalent
Sure it takes extra time over the BMW 540i initially but once past the 3,000 rpm mark, the Ghibli comes alive. If you want to enjoy extra aural sensation, pull it all the way to the 6,000 rpm mark in second and third, after that be mesmerized by the exhaust note. For those who want more attention, press the ‘Sport’ button; better still, do it along the CTE tunnel.
The turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 powerplant seem to enjoy being exploited. However, that’s not to say the Ghibli is best suited for immature adults; because when you leave it in default mode and drive in a relaxed manner, it felt no different than its comfort-focused peers. Road undulations are effortlessly ironed out, and contrary to Maseratis of before, you do not hear any unwanted creaks or rattles.
One of the strongest selling point of the Ghibli is its handling. A good word to describe it would be ‘sensational' - the steering is perfectly weighted and it communicates directly with you. This is improved in Sport, where things get markedly stiffer; the entire chassis is equally communicative with body-roll well managed. Standard Pirelli P Zero rubbers compliments it further, giving you extra confidence as you turn playful along a series of bends.
So, if you want a luxury sedan that feels special and is a real joy to drive, you can’t go wrong with the Ghibli. Yes, there are other options too but what’s so wrong with being different?
It may not have the tech and gizmo list of the 540i or E300, but it sure made up for it by having an alluring character. Not forgetting class-leading handling.
500-litres on offer, but not the biggest in class; however, remains usable for long road trips