Born in the early twentieth century from a family’s passion for speed and precision engineering, Maserati has become one of the most iconic automotive brands in the world. Over the years Maserati have adopted a tradition of naming their models after winds from around the world, the Ghibli for instance is a hot, dry southerly wind of North Africa.
The first Maserati Ghibli was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and unveiled at the Turin Motor Show of 1966. The Ghibli SS was a 2+2, fastback with pop-up headlights and a shark-nosed profile. The modern-day version of the Maserati Ghibli is an elegant four-door sedan that is now available with the option of a mild hybrid engine. This is the first hybrid engine offered in the history of the company and Maserati claim it’s faster than diesel while being greener than gasoline. There are also two V6 petrol engine variants available plus the V8 Trofeo at the top of the Ghibli model range.
I recently sampled the Ghibli Hybrid and before I even sat in the Ghibli it had a sense of presence thanks to the substantial-feeling metal Maserati key fob that I was holding in my hand. The GranSport finish of this particularly vehicle features tri-coat pearlescent paint, full premium leather interior with Alcantara finishes teamed with the beautiful blue accent stitching, blue brake callipers and 20” Teseo rims. These are complimented by the blue highlights on the side air vents and the Iconic Saetta logo on the C-pillar, which designate this is the hybrid model.
Under this Ghibli’s bonnet there is a 2.0 litre, inline 4-cylinder, petrol engine with a maximum of 243kW and 450Nm of torque, which powers the Ghibli to a top speed of 255km/h and from 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds. The engine is also equipped with a 48V Belt Starter Generator that supports the combustion engine for when more power is needed, while it recuperates energy when you lift off the accelerator pedal; this is the mild hybrid technology. The official combined fuel consumption is 8.1L/100 km and for my week I used 9.6L/100km.
The Ghibli is rear-wheel drive, with the engine paired with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission that uses auto-adaptive software to modify its shift patterns according to your driving style. Using the lovely-feeling column mounted metal gear shifters you can precisely move up and down the gearbox while cornering enthusiastically. On long, high-speed journeys, the last two gears, seventh and eighth, are specially calibrated to reduce fuel consumption and further increase comfort.
There are two drive modes available on the hybrid Ghibli being Normal and Sport. In Sport mode there is a little more exhaust noise in the cabin, but even under hard acceleration there was not a lot of voice from the 2.0 litre power plant. The drive mode does not adjust the suspension firmness though, this is done using a button on the centre console, and I felt the ride quality was pleasant regardless of the suspension setting chosen.
The Ghibli cabin is very quiet and I suspect there is a lot of sound deadening under the sedan. The door glass is even two-layered for better noise attenuation and the doors have soft close technology. So slamming them should be a thing of the past if you can teach your children to gently pull them almost closed and allow the door to make the final movement.
The interior oozes style from the contoured leather dash with a central analogue clock to the curved glass edge on the 10-inch infotainment touch screen. Even the driver’s dash looks classy with its two analogue dials and a central digital screen between them. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, with other media sources including AM/FM, DAB, Bluetooth and USB. Your music can be enjoyed on the custom designed Harman Kardon sound system with a 900-watt amplifier and 10 high-powered speakers carefully distributed throughout the cabin.
The full grain Pieno Fiore natural leather used in the Ghibli offers an extraordinary softness to the touch and is considered unrivalled in terms of quality and durability according to Maserati. The suppleness of the leather is combined with the beautiful natural aroma to give the cabin a luxury smell as well as the look.
Both front seats are heated with power adjustment for recline, forward/back, front and rear cushion height adjustment and 4-way lumbar adjustment, with the driver getting two seat memory positions. Each seat is crowned with a beautifully embroidered Maserati trident for an extra special touch.
I loved the look and feel of the Alcantara headliner in the Ghibli along with the perforated leather wrapped steering wheel. Like most car companies the voice control button on the steering wheel is designated using a masculine-looking silhouette. I found that the voice control worked well for making calls, but was a bit hit and miss when I tried to use it to set a destination on the sat nav.
The cabin features many thoughtful storage details and a couple of cigarette lighters to remind you that you are driving an Italian vehicle just in case you forget. The glove box for instance can be ventilated from the climate control system and so can the storage cubby under the arm rest. This space is lined with felt and would be large enough to fit a small handbag or clutch. At the bottom of the cubby there are two narrow cup holders and a 12V outlet that is one of the cigarette lighters.
In front of the arm rest is a small felt-lined storage space that is a perfect size for your sunglasses. Under the gloss black flip cover there are two cup holders with another cigarette lighter between them. In the slim cubby at the front of the centre console there is a slot for your phone with wireless charging for compatible devices plus a USB-C and USB port. The gloss black does show bad finger-marks though as does the infotainment screen, so if this bothers you I suggest that you have a micro-fibre cloth on hand to keep them clean. There is also no space in the front door cubbies for drink bottle storage.
The rears seats are nicely shaped, but I found that the leg room was tight for adults and the headroom was just okay. For younger passengers there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but in reality, there is only enough space for two car seats. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest with two cup holders at the front of the arm rest and a shallow storage cubby underneath it. The central rear air vents have manual open/close and direction control only. There are no rear USB ports, the transmission tunnel is quite high and there is no room in the rear door cubbies for drink bottles.
The boot has gesture open and close or can be opened and closed from the button under the boot lid, on the key fob or in the cabin. The Maserati boot is very large and would fit a pram and the weekly shop or a lot of luggage for a long weekend away and if you need even more storage space the rear seats have a 60/40 split folding mechanism. There are two lights, four tie down points and one 12V outlet in the boot along with a discretely packaged tyre repair kit.
Active safety features on the Ghibli include forward collision waring, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and lane keep assist with steering assist. I thought the steering assist felt up to standard, but not as intelligent as the systems used on German vehicles.
The reversing camera has a 360o view on the left hand side of the screen with a standard rear view camera simultaneously display on the right hand side. The Ghibli also comes with both front and rear parking sensors. Passive safety includes dual frontal, side chest and side head airbags (curtains) and a driver knee airbag are standard. Overall, the Maserati Ghibli range has a 5-star ANCAP (2014) safety rating.
All new Maserati vehicles come with a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty, which includes three year’s road side assistance as well. The service interval for the Ghibli is 12 Months or 15,000kms, whichever occurs first and there are two pre-paid service options available that cover the first three services. Premium includes all the inspections and component or consumable replacements detailed in the car’s Maintenance Schedule ($2,420). Or you can opt for Premium Plus ($5,532), which also includes front and rear brake pads, front and rear brake discs, and driver-side or passenger-side wiper blades.
I have always felt that Italian-made cars, like their clothes, feel just that little bit more special and the Maserati Ghibli is no exception by being one very sophisticated sedan. As tested with no options fitted the Ghibli Hybrid GranSport model that I drove was $196,026 plus on-road costs. Visit your Maserati dealer for more information on the Ghibli model range.
Pros and Cons of the Maserati Ghibli Hybrid GranSport
|Stylish interior and exterior design||Limited head and leg room in rear seats|
|Quiet cabin||Voice control operation not up to standard|
|Large boot||Door cubbies do not fit drink bottles|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.