Maserati Club Test Drive 2014 Ghibli S

Maserati Club Test Drive 2014 Ghibli S
Kai Mysliwiecz
Club Maserati Australia (NSW)
Thanks to our good friends Glen at Maserati
Australia & New Zealand, Angelo and Nicola
at the Maserati Dealership we managed a
sneak peak and a test drive of the first
Australian production 2014 model Ghibli S !
You will no doubt see many journalists
reporting on the new range of Maserati cars
over the next few monthly motoring
magazines which is great. I just though that
you would all appreciate a perspective from
the point of view somebody who has had
many different incantations (and I think
that is indeed the correct word) of the
famous marquee over the past 24 years and
has driven pretty much everything Maserati
has had to offer since the mid 80s.
So with that personal history I was eager to
savour what the Squadra in Turin have
made of the new mid size 4 Door.
If you know Maserati history you will know
that the V6 Twin Turbo was the weapon of
choice to power the marquee in the 1980s
and well into the late 1990s.
222, 430, 228, Spyder, Quattroporte, Karif
and Ghibli were the cars of that time being
powered by the 2.5 litre 3 valve motors and
the 2.8 litre 4 valve units in the later cars.
So the all new 3 Litre Maserati designed
and Ferrari built V6 engine had a great
tradition and daunting history to both draw
upon and which it had to live up to !
The Engine…
The engine has always been and will always
be the beating heart of a Maserati…if you
have a Benz, BMW or an Audi then the
engine is sort of just the thing that takes the
box of techno tricky bits go down the road.
In a Maserati however you start there…the
engine is the most important thing…it is as I
said the true heart of the car.
To put your mind at ease…let me say that I
found the new V6 engine a true Maserati
The engine is smooth and the old “turbo
deciding what it wants to do all by itself”
has well and truly been concurred.
The Maranello built engine is obviously a
turbo powered unit but the turbo is not
intrusive. Well that is other than delivering
the 550 Nm of torque driven “push in the
back” which was the trademark signature of
the 80s and 90s cars that I mentioned.
As a Maserati the engine hasn’t been
Lexused into submission and silenced to the
extent that you’re not sure if it is running or
not. The engine has not lost that distinctive
Maserati V6 growl and has even gained a
bit of a bark on the down shifts…
The Gearbox…
Maserati has never felt the need or had the
urge to go and try and build a gearbox.
Historically, the transmission systems have
generally come from either ZF or Getrag
and have been their top of the range units.
The distinction between the two is to be
honest getting more and more narrow. In a
strange way the automatic suites the turbo
engine better because there isn’t that
throttle off and on action on the shifts
(even if this is pretty quick now days). The
nature of the torque converter seems to
enable the turbo to stay on boost.
Overall Style…
Maserati styling has always been a matter
of elegance.
The Ghibli is the continuation of the styling
evolution of the 4 door which started with
the turbo Quattroporte of the 90s. This
theme has flowed through the V8s and now
in the latest new Quattroporte.
The Ghibli is however a more sports
orientated design and not simply a smaller
proportioned Quattroporte. The Ghibli is
easily distinguished from the larger car in
design and what I would call its character.
The Ghibli uses an eight speed ZF automatic
transmission that has been set up for the
weight of the car, the engine power and
how the power is delivered.
It’s a beautiful thing on both the up-shifts
and downshifts in both fully automatic shift
mode and in my favourite the manual shift
Gearshifts are smooth, quick and with a
nice power transition. And yes it is a real
automatic in that it has a torque converter
and not one or more clutches that are
hydraulically activated.
New 2014 Ghibli S…because there isn’t an “S” badge you
need to identify the car by the number plates :)
Maserati styling for me has always had an
edge to it as well. I guess knowing the cars
there is a slight feeling of something hiding
A feeling in my mind akin to somebody
wearing a fine Prada designer coat and
carrying a soft leather bound baseball bat
under it…just in case you might need it :)
Or more simply put . . . “oh no way you are
going to get between here and there in that
time” . . . but you just do . . .
The Ghibli can cover ground between
where you are and where you want to be at
an astonishing rate . . . you just need to
have faith in the gods of forced induction
and let it spool the turbos up a little . . .
I’m not suggesting that the Ghibli is in any
way socially mal adjusted but just that
under its designer label exterior a Maserati
has always had more than ample grunt,
stopping power and dynamics.
The Ghibli is no exception.
The Ghibli is easy to drive. The car is very
happy rolling down the road at just over
idle and changing gears as it goes along.
The car will also sit in 8th gear at freeway
speed no problem. Squeeze the go pedal
however and the Ghibli will get up and do
as you have asked…go.
But it will do that in a characteristic
Maserati turbo kind of way . . .
Not make a great deal of fuss about it but
kind of a time warp thing where you get
from point a to b but are not quite sure
how you got there that fast.
Turbo Maserati cars have always had a
funny effect on inexperienced passengers
causing them to believe they can see the
time dilation predicted by Albert Einstein's
theories of special relativity.
The view most people will see…
The Ghibli also handles the speed humps
and tight roads of the City with ease…great
turning circle of under 12m.
I have no idea how good the fancy looking
Stereo sounds or how well the SatNav
works and didn’t count the cup holders . . .
oops . . . I’ll pay more attention next time.
By the way go look at the Super Bowl TV
commercial for the Ghibli…
Kai Mysliwiecz
Club Maserati Australia (NSW)