Test Drive: Made to inspire and exhilarate
Published: 31/10/2017 12:00 pm
The Maserati Ghibli S Q4 is well tailored for everyday duties without compromising on the thrills and excitement of a luxury sedan
The blacked out front grille of the Ghibli S Q4 has the Maserati trident emblem siting predominantly encased in chrome, lower bumper has a horizontally long gaping air duct that bulges up at the corners for more air to access and cool the big front brakes and increase the front end grip. The bi xenon headlamps look sharp and give a concentrated look upfront. The engine bonnet is long and the sides, starting from the lights, protrude upwards like a frowning eyebrow. Just behind the front wheel arches sits three air vents that dissipate the engines heat and also for better airflow from front air dam. The big 20 inch wheel rims are designed to complement the cars exterior and have the four doors nicely sculptured around them. An aerodynamic roof line that scoops back and into the rear boot for an uncluttered and plain rear. The boot lid has an integrated spoiler for added down force and the brake cluster is plainly visible, the lower diffuser houses two twin chrome tipped exhaust tubes for a neat looking rear.
The frame-less glass doors are a nice design touch you do not normally see in a luxury sedan, but does well to uncluttered the entrance to the Ghibli's richly covered leather interior. Front seats are very comfortable and has perforated leather for better cooling, they also offer very good side bolsters that are not too intrusive.
The dual zone climate control is excellent and works very quickly to cool the cabin. Driving position is a little bit lower than your average sedan and getting into the perfect driving position is easily attained by the 12 way power seats and electronically adjustable steering column. Outward visibility is very decent and adjusting to the cars parameters does not take long. 360 degree camera gives very accurate display of the cars surroundings when in tight areas and it is clearly displayed on the Maserati Touch Control (MTC) 8.4 inch high resolution infotainment screen. The MTC is very quick to react to touch and is easy to use, Apple car play can be enjoyed and the navigation system can be manipulated just like on the iPad.
Rear seats are of the same comfort and support and offers very good leg room. With the slanting roof line, head room is still good and long trips in the rear is a very realistic choice in the Ghibli.
Start the car up and it will greet you with a roar from the exhaust, for this Maserati has the latest twin turbocharged 3 litre, 6 cylinder engine producing 410hp @ 5,500rpm. And maximum torque of 550Nm from 1,750rpm – numbers that really does not portray the Ghibli's true potential. This car weighs in at just over 1.8 tonnes and has all wheel drive, the famous ZF 8 speed automatic transmission is also used for very quick and smooth gear changes.
For everyday driving the Ghibli performs faultlessly, a nice and slightly firm ride that gives the driver very good feed back on the differing road conditions. Feel for the cars totally poised chassis is amplified by the accurate and slightly weighted steering direction. It does feel like driving a well built everyday luxury sedan.
Driving the Ghibli in I.C.E. Mode (In Case Emergency or eco mode) limits the torque levels and allows for safe driving in bad weather condition which highlights this Maserati's credentials for being sensible and practical.
It has a very quiet cabin that cocoons the occupants from outside interference, even the engine is quite muted. And so the excellent sound system can be thoroughly enjoyed but that is not the soundtrack that is most desired when driving this car.
The sports mode starts to show Ghibli's exciting option on hand by opening up the valves on the exhaust and frees up the engines breathing for proper running. And this is a sports sedan filled with Italian pedigree for the modern age. Very eager engine that is waiting to sprint in an instant, non existent turbo lag to content with means the ever fast gear box and all wheel drive system will get the car up to speed in quick succession. It has a fast and steady speed up the gears, no wheel spinning, just lots of grip from the all-wheel drive system coupled with wide and grippy tires.
Another, even more enticing aspect of this Ghibli is its ability to corner by engaging the magic button that shows a lone suspension. You have now entered the Skyhook electronic dampening domain. This is like a confidence button because it will allow mere mortals to drive like pros and enter corners much faster, drive around sharp turns at a faster pace with very little body roll.
The car will plant itself firmly into the tarmac and gives more grip to play with, changing directional angels are easily attainable with accurate steering and very enjoyable. Brakes are excellent and very effective and have a very good bite level to easily judge the required input needed when coming in at speed to take a corner. Then the precise steering input with high grip means a great handling car for more spirited driving.
Combine the beautiful sounding exhaust note with a lots of grip and rewarding gear changes that does the whole theatrical and pleasing buzzing up the rev meter and banging up the gears makes this Maserati a fun car to drive in sports mode. For track use then manual mode would be most beneficial.
The Ghibli is an exciting car to drive fast as it is very easy to do so and very manageable, and switching back to normal driving is done in a quick and smooth transition.
There are plenty of safety features present with seven airbags, forward collision warning, blind spot warning and rear cross path warning. Lane departure warning system and Maserati Stability Program (MSP) all work in unison to make driving the car feel more secure.
The Ghibli is very well mannered, well tailored for everyday duties in fine luxury and safety but also has the added bonus option to excite and thrill when it is so desired.