Maserati is that sales underdog you want to win. The Italian automaker has all the room to grow, with roughly 6,200 cars sold last year. So, the sky is the limit in terms of conquest buyers and Maserati plans to find many of them in the United States.
The Maserati lineup has grown to include the stunning Quattroporte luxury sedan, the upcoming Levante SUV and this beauty, the Ghibli. Aimed squarely at the Audi A6 , BMW 6 Series , and the Mercedes CLS-class , the Ghibli has a lot to prove. With the uniqueness and (current) exclusivity the Maserati name carries, we think plenty of the German driving motorheads will jump ship for something new and different.
We got our first chance to meet the Ghibli at the Miami International Auto Show , along with its big brother Quattroporte. It’s amazing to witness first hand the build quality and intricacies the Italian automaker puts into its vehicles.
The engine bay, for example, is coated with the same quality paint, clear coat, and wax the glowing exterior receives. It’s the minute attention to detail that makes the car even more special than its name and heritage bequeaths it.
The Ghibli comes to the U.S. in both standard and S trims. Powered by a Ferrari -engineered 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, the standard model makes 345 horsepower. The more athletic S version gets a 59 horsepower bump to total 404. Its sprint to 60 mph happens more quickly at around 4.5 seconds. Both versions are mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic powering all four wheels.
With a starting price around $65,000, we expect the Ghibli to catch the eye of some Audi, BMW and Mercedes drivers when it crosses the pond sometime in the near future.
Click past the jump for more on the 2014 Maserati Ghibli
The Ghibli’s exterior looks great as the Quattroporte’s little brother. The dimensions might be smaller, but the Ghibli isn’t a small car by any means. Its shape and curves give it a young Wall Street trader-type vibe about it.
Even from behind the glass barrier, the Ghibli’s angry Maserati nose seems ready to pounce on its unsuspecting German rivals. And with its class-average price tag, upsetting the German’s reign of America’s choice of luxury performance.
The grille is definitely discernible from any other car on the road, although from this angle, the lower fascia is reminiscent of the current BMW 3 Series.
Having a long nose and short rear end is a classic way to build a sports car. Others, like the Mercedes four-door coupe and BMW 6 Series, employ the same technique to add sportiness to their bodies.
The quad exhaust make the Ghibli look ready for business. The small "Q4" badge just left of the license place signifies all four tires are putting traction to the ground.
Fit and finish inside the Ghibli are spot on for its class. Gaps are tight, materials are soft touch, and the metallic trim bits contrast nicely to the otherwise leather-covered cabin.
Controls are setup much like the Quattroporte, so returning Maserati owners will be at home. Conquest buyers won’t have a huge learning curve as everything is nicely laid out and ergonomically fit.
Maserati falls under the Fiat umbrella and a few parts are recognizable. The GPS/infotainment system is like that of any Chrysler product, which is not a bad thing. Chrysler’s Uconnect is one of the better systems currently on the market.
The back seats in the Ghibli were roomy enough for the average adult. Legroom isn’t the best, but would easily be bearable for a three-hour trip to the beach side business conference a state away.
The Ghibli’s motivation comes from a Ferrari-sourced, twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 engine that has two different output ratings, depending upon which trim level is purchased. The standard Ghibli makes 345 horsepower while the sportier S version makes 404, and both versions are backed by a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.
Attention to detail is obsessive within the Ghibli’s engine bay. The blue paint lining the inner fenders appear to received the same attention as the exterior at the Maserati paint booth. The brilliant blue shines brightly around the twin-turbo engine, presenting it like pearl within an oyster.
Maserati makes it easy to customize your ride with such things as painted brake calipers. This display at the Miami International Auto Show was particularly eye-catching.