Maserati Ghibli
It’s a very Italian experience

I just finished a few weeks behind the wheel of the swanky 2018 Maserati Ghibli GranLusso. Other than a few rides and drives in an ex-girlfriend’s GranTurismo in the late 2000s, I hadn’t spent any time in or driving any Maserati models. My memories of that experience in around 2005 were quite good, at the time the brand was co-owned by Ferrari and was sourcing its engines and transmissions from their factory. There’s no longer a connection between Ferrari and Maserati but they are both based in Maranello. There’s something magical about that city as the twin-turbo V6 in the Maserati, produced in Maranello, just sings, especially when you crank it up to its 7,000 rpm redline.


 

Maserati grill
The aggressive front end, with the iconic trident logo

It’s that exhaust note, combined with a sumptuous, hand-stitched, full Italian leather interior that separate the Ghibli from its European competitors. It’s a lot more expensive than a BMW 550 or even an Audi S6 or Mercedes AMG E 43, but gives so much more visceral pleasure than any of them.

Maserati Ghibli
The Ghibli was wonderful on the freeway and twisty mountain roads

The Ghibli also offers exclusivity, as the brand limits its production to 75,000 total vehicles each year. In the entire time I was driving the Ghibli, I didn’t see another Ghibli or even another Maserati. Think about how many Audis, E-classes or 5-series’ you see every day.

Maserati Ghibli
It looks good coming or going


 

The overall driving experience is quite wonderful with ample power coming from that twin-turbo V6. In the base Ghibli I tested ($79,840 with the GranLusso package) the engine puts out 345 hp. In the Ghibli S, the same engine is tuned to 424 hp. There’s also a Ghibli Q4 and SQ4 with AWD.

Maserati Ghibli key
The key is huge, metal and very heavy

I drove the Ghibli all over Southern California and will be writing more about each, individual experience. I drove back and forth to Palm Springs a few times and also took the Maserati to the Coachella music festival. While in the desert, I drove the car to stay at the La Quinta Resort and Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. The Ghibli is a wonderful driver’s car. The exhaust note, especially with the car in Sport mode, was thrilling. The interior is so beautiful and well crafted, with hand-stitched Italian leather seats. It’s also usable, those luxurious rear seats fold down for easy access to the large trunk.

Maserati at La Quinta
I drove the Ghibli for a weekend getaway at the La Quinta Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort

The performance was wonderful, in all driving conditions and it was a luxurious way to cruise down the freeway, quite easily at near triple-digit speeds. The large, Ferrari-like gauges and frequency of Maserati trident logos constantly reminded you where you were. I found no real faults, my only negative comment would be a slight disappointment at the use of some obviously Chrysler / Dodge switches (door lock, window, turn signal stalk) instead of specially-crafted Maserati versions. You’ll be able to read my formal car review of the Ghibli at Business Traveler USA but here’s a driving video and review.