Uncommon Speed and Style
by Brendan R. Appel
If you listen to conventional wisdom, gas-powered cars are a dying breed, soon to be replaced with quiet, efficient, and green electric-only vehicles. Gas-powered sports sedans are even further along the road to extinction as buyers’ appetites for SUVs began some years ago. So how can an automaker get customers into a vehicle that already has one foot in the grave? Maserati thinks they have the answer: more power. Not just any power, either; to upgrade their “entry level” sedan, the Ghibli, Maserati went straight to their cousin Ferrari and sourced a 3.8L Twin Turbo V8 engine producing an astounding 580hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. Oh, and it also sounds just as incredible as you’d expect.
Until this model year, the Ghibli was only available with a V-6, making either 345hp in base form or 424hp in the step-up “S” version. Neither engine was lacking in performance, with the Ghibli S hitting 60mph in 4.9 seconds with RWD and a slightly better 4.7 seconds with the AWD variant. That 0-60mph number drops to an astonishingly quick 4.0 for the RWD-only Trofeo model, along with an increase in top speed from 178 to 203mph. Yes, you read that right – putting a Ghibli Trofeo in your garage will put you in the 200mph club and win you neighborhood bragging rights. All that power is routed through the highly revered ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, which does an excellent job in hustling through the gears in spirited driving (especially using the huge, column-mounted carbon-fiber paddle shifters) or smoothly working your way through rush-hour traffic. The Trofeo (which means Trophy in Italian) also handles as well as it powers down a straight away. With double-wishbone suspension up front and a multi-link suspension in the rear (both featuring Skyhook shock absorbers) and riding on 21” aluminum wheels, this car feels right at home when the roads get curvy.
Driving the Ghibli Trofeo really gives you an appreciation for its power, finesse, and its gorgeous interior. First, you will never tire of dipping your foot into the throttle and summoning tidal waves of power from the glorious Ferrari-derived engine. We happily verified Maserati’s acceleration claims, achieving a 0-60 time of 4.02 seconds with no special launch control or prepped surface: we just mashed the gas, wore an ear-to-ear grin, and hung on. Our only complaint was that the cabin is so well insulated, you don’t really hear the thrilling exhaust note throughout the car. Handling on a twisty road is a joy, with just a little bit of lean but an otherwise confident and tight performance.
If you like carbon fiber, then selecting the carbon fiber package will make you very happy. Along with the paddle shifters, carbon fiber is used on the door sills, center console, side air intakes, front splitter, rear diffuser and the engine cover. The comfortable and supportive leather seats are a joy to sit in, and the analog/digital gauge combination is blissful to use. There’s even an analog clock to round out the upscale touches. It’s not all old-school inside, however, with the Ghibli featuring a 10.1” multimedia screen, wireless charging, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Maserati also provides level II autonomy with lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise-control and object detection.
How much will all this power, styling and exclusivity set you back? The Ghibli Trofeo starts at $110,240 and maxes out at $119,535, fully optioned. Try getting that spread at your local Porsche dealer where a comparably powered 4-door Panamera will set you back $118k-$180k to start before the infamous litany of expensive options. Of course, six-figures for a car is a lot of money, but the Ghibli offers something most others in the class simply cannot: exclusivity. You will not see yourself coming and going in the Ghibli Trofeo as the entire Maserati brand produced only 17,000 vehicles worldwide last year. So, if you don’t want to be the 10th person in your neighborhood driving a Porsche, BMW, Audi or Tesla, then test drive a Ghibli Trofeo and find out why Ferrari-powered sports sedans aren’t dead – at least not just yet.
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