By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor
Among production cars, it doesn’t get much more exotic than a Maserati, and the 2016 Ghibli will deliver all the Italian-flavored motoring imaginable. One of the most sensuous-looking sedans on any road, the Ghibli brings a full dose of Mediterranean style, luxury, performance and image, with curvaceous shapes, a sumptuous interior, a snarling powertrain and undeniable cachet. There are three trim levels; Ghibli, Ghibli S and Ghibli S Q4, each powered by a twin-turbo V6 of 345 horsepower in the base and S models and 404 in the all-wheel-drive (AWD) Q4. Other European (and American) sports sedans can beat it in getting-down-the-road performance or driving refinement (BMW 5 Series, for example) but none of them has the undeniable sensory appeal of the Maserati Ghibli.
New for the 2016 Ghibli is a Start and Stop system, Blind Spot and Rear Cross Path alert, Power Trunk Lid/Hands Free feature, premium harman/kardon 900-watt audio, Siri Smart Personal Assistant, new wheel choices and Ermenegildo Zegna interior package options.
Maserati didn’t build a reputation by cranking out a history of boring cars, and the Ghibli maintains the tradition. Rear-drive models (base and S) have a potent twin-turbo V6 of...
... 345 horsepower and the AWD Q4 has the same engine, in a higher state of tune, with 404 horsepower. Step on the gas and this thing gets with the program. The suspension has been configured to deal quite capably with all this performance, if it’s a bit on the firm side. The Q4 can make it to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, with the power sent to the rear wheels until requirements change, and pressing the Sport button brings crisper throttle response and quicker shifts of the 8-speed, paddle-shifted automatic. The steering might feel a little light on-center and then firmer in the corners, but, make no mistake, the Ghibli likes to be exercised with enthusiasm.
The Maserati Ghibli weighs right in the neighborhood of two tons; it would have been even more without the benefit of its aluminum-intensive structure that saves as much weight as possible and keeps it stiff for good handling.
Whether it’s tailored suits, expensive purses, soft leather loafers, high-end motorcycles or soul-stirring cars, nobody makes them look as good as the Italians. In the midsize sports-sedan segment the 2016 Ghibli sets the style standard, but the valet parking guys will expect a bigger tip.
The interior of the 2016 Maserati Ghibli will not disappoint its discerning owner. There is really nice leather, really nicely designed and really nicely detailed. And this is no coupe masquerading as a sedan; the four doors open to allow decent seating for real adults. Front-seat occupants are provided with 8-way-power seats and dual-zone climate control keeps things comfy. Taken as a whole, from the curving and swooping instrument panel to the artfully crafted seats, this is a fine spot to sit and take a ride.
It’s not just the sculpted exterior that sets the 2016 Ghibli apart from the rest of the parking lot; it can be personalized in a multitude of ways. There are about a dozen color selections, color choices for the brake calipers, and numerous wheel and tire options. All that only embellishes the Ghibli’s nearly living, breathing shape. Up front is a familiar Maserati grille, with the trident displayed prominently; bearing close family resemblance to the larger Quattroporte, the theme somehow seems more fitting on the Ghibli’s smaller structure. From Fiats to Ferraris, the Italians have seldom done un-handsome cars.
We’re talking about a midsize luxury-sports sedan with an exotic heritage, so the Maserati Ghibli is expectedly well-equipped. Standard fare includes a power sunroof, Italian-leather upholstery (we assume from cows that speak Italian), heated and 8-way-power front seats, navigation, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and starting system, Start & Stop, Blind Spot and Cross Path alert, power trunklid with hands-free operation, and all the usual and expected driving aids and occupant-protection features. New for 2016 is a harman/kardon audio system with 10 speakers and a 900-watt, 12-channel amplifier.
Maserati offers the 2016 Ghibli with an immense array of personalization choices, with multiple exterior colors, leather interiors, wheel selections and even different colors for brake calipers. The Ermenegildo Zegna interior includes Poltrona Frau leather with 100-percent, natural-fiber Zegna Mulberry Silk inserts on the seats, door panels, roof lining, sunshades and ceiling-light fixture, and it’s available in three different colors: Anthracite Ermenegildo Silk with the leather in Nero, Cuolo or Rosso. There’s also a Bowers & Wilkins Premium Surround system with Clari-Fi, which scans digital music and restores the details lost from digital compression; it’s yours for $5,200.
The 2016 Ghibli models use two slightly different versions of a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. In the base Ghibli and the Ghibli S it makes 345 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque; in the AWD Q4 it makes 404 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. In either case, it’s matched to an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters and various shift modes, offering maximum efficiency or optimum performance with crisper shifting. The engines deliver rousing performance and the Ghibli likes to be driven with verve, but it is not particularly fuel-efficient. But, if it’s fuel efficiency you’re after, why are you shopping for a Maserati Ghibli?
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Ghibli/Ghibli S)
345 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (Ghibli); 16/24 mpg (Ghibli S)
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Ghibli S Q4)
404 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2016 Maserati Ghibli starts at around $72,000 and the S model is about $77,000. The AWD Ghibli S Q4 is near $80,000; that’s our purchase recommendation, because it’s all-wheel drive and more power for not a lot more money. Add options, and the total can reach $100,000 or more. By comparison, some of the major competitors (BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6) can be much lower before adding on the extras. Furthermore, the higher potential price of the Ghibli is not helped by Maserati’s record of not holding onto residual values nearly as well as the competitors. Before scribbling your signature on the final line, be sure and check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what other folks in your area are paying for the 2016 Ghibli.