People compliment my seemingly expensive outfit and say, “I love that jacket,” ask where I got my shoes, or admire my shirt-tie combo. I want to say, “I found the Cole Haan chukkas on clearance at Nordstrom Rack, my shirt is stained on the tucked-in bit, the tie costs $19 on TheTieBar.com, and I had the Versace jacket tailored after it hung on a rusty hanger in Salvation Army for who knows how many years,” but I don’t. I just shut up and take their praise.
I adopt a similar attitude in the 2016 Maserati Ghibli. See, I know how Maserati makes this sausage, a slightly shorter, stubbier, and slower Quattroporte. Its aluminum engine block starts life in Kokomo, Indiana, before going to Maranello to be strapped with a pair of Ferrari-designed heads. The Ghibli’s chunky steering wheel, plasticky switchgear, and frustrating electronic shifter all come from Chrysler parts bins, and the 8-inch touchscreen display, while simple and straightforward, is nearly identical to the one you get in a Dodge Dart. You would hope this cost cutting is offset by a raw and idyllically Italian driving experience, but no. The twin-turbo V-6 hits small peaks and valleys as it climbs through the rev range, and the hydraulically assisted steering doesn’t feel as attached as you’d hope. The seats are billowy, making it hard to hold still for too long, and you’re propped way up, sitting high and upright like you’re in a small crossover, not an sport sedan.
However the 2016 Maserati Ghibli’s chassis is cushy but also confident, even without the optional $2,900 Skyhook adaptive suspension system, and the S model’s extra horsepower are appreciated. When you want to play, the long, column-mounted shift paddles take full command of the 8-speed automatic transmission that sends power through a lively, rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. And that shiny chrome trident on the grille garners all kinds of good attention; when I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to drive the Ghibli while I took a few photos, you would’ve thought I’d proposed with an 18-karat diamond ring. People said they loved the $2,200 pearlescent white paint, the $2,300 blood red interior, and the $1,500 carbon-fiber trim. They liked the 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system almost as much as the “awesome” 8-inch touchscreen display, blissfully unaware of its humble roots. Most people didn’t know Maserati had ties to Ferrari, which made them love the Ghibli even more. And when I told them the car cost $87,750, expecting a gasp of horror, they’d ask, “That’s it?”
The Maserati brand is amazing, what with its longstanding prestige that holds sway over multiple generations of car buyers who have no idea what makes a Maserati special. They hear the name, see the badge, and they’re sold. They don’t care if the Ghibli uses cost-cutting parts from Chrysler, they don’t want to know how the sausage is made. They subscribe to humanity’s slogans like “ignorance is bliss” and “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and couldn’t care less if the Ghibli is good or not. It only matters to them that it’s a Maserati, so I shut up and take their praise.
2016 Maserati Ghibli S Q4Specifications
|Engine:||3.0L twin-turbocharged DOHC 24-valve V-6/404 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 405 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm|
|Layout:||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan|
|EPA Mileage:||16/24 mpg (city/highway)|
|L x W x H:||195.7 x 76.6 x 57.5 in|
|0-60 MPH:||4.7 sec|
|Top Speed:||176 mph|