Maserati amp up the power: tackling twisties in the new Ghibli
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Maserati has updated and improved its best-selling Ghibli luxury sports saloon, the model that has helped expand the Italian marque’s share of the premiere sports car market throughout the world.
There are now two new versions of the Ghibli available here, with a host of new technology features and a power boost for the top-of-the range Ghibli GrandSport model.
The Ghibli shares its core architecture — chassis, suspension layout, V6 engines and eight-speed ZF automatic transmission — with Maserati’s flagship, the Quattroporte, but is 293mm shorter and 50kg lighter.
Driven spent more than 400km behind the wheel driving the GrandSport model across some of Australia’s tightest, twistiest mountain roads in the Snowy Mountains, and can confirm the new model retains the sharp road manners Maserati is renowned for.
The 3-litre V6 engine delivers 320kW of power in the S model, and we were powering up and down the steep, windy roads, with the paddle-shifters processing the gear changes fast enough to deliver a thrilling and agile drive.
There is enough pop and crackle from the exhaust on the downshift to satisfy the enthusiast, without scaring the neighbours.
The exterior changes are subtle, with adjustments to the bumpers and other styling refinements, but then the current Ghibli has always been a smart-looking vehicle in the style of a true European sports sedan.
Among the safety enhancements are advanced driving assistance systems and an integrated vehicle control system, while the new models feature an upgraded infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity available.
Ghibli prices range from $135,990 for the 3-litre, 257kW V6 petrol engined baseline model, through to the Ghibli S Gransport model we drove, listed as $179,990.
Both Ghibli lines are priced at the same level across the range, the only variation being dependent on engine choice.
Maserati has sold around 70,000 Ghiblis since its introduction in 2014, and is the marque’s best-selling model, and one that has cemented the luxury brand’s standing in the premiere sports sedan market.
“The Maserati Ghibli has, since its 2014 launch, transformed the position of Maserati here and around the world,” says Glen Sealey, the chief operating officer of Maserati in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
“It has brought the traditional Maserati values of unique style, personalisation and performance to a whole new group of owners who aspired to make a Maserati a treasured part of their lives.”
The new Ghibli features a distinctive C-pillar with the iconic Saetta logo, frameless doors, and a more pronounced front grille that resembles iconic Maserati models of the 1950s; and all models feature distinctive quadruple chromium-plated exhaust pipes.
Though the exterior changes are subtle, Maserati says they have improved the aerodynamic efficiency of the Ghibli by 7 per cent, reducing the drag coefficient to 0.29, from 0.31 on the existing models.
The twin turbo petrol engines are manufactured by Ferrari in Maranello, and are coupled with a ZF eight-speed transmission. The Ghibli S now delivers 580 Nm of torque, 30Nm more than 2017 car.
Maserati says the increased power gives the new car a top speed of 286km/h, and the car can now accelerate from 0-100km/h fractionally faster than its predecessor, at 4.9 seconds compared with 5 seconds for the 2017 car.
The Ghibli 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines, developed by Maserati with VM Motori, produce 202 kW of power.
The Ghibli and Quattroporte are the first Maserati models to adopt an Integrated Vehicle Control system from Bosch, which helps to prevent (rather than simply correct) vehicle instability, providing enhanced active safety and improved driving dynamics.
The new models also introduce electric power steering, which the company says improves the car’s handling and comfort, better supports the driving modes and enables the newly introduced active functions of the Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), while retaining the Maserati steering feel.
The new ADAS package includes functions such as Highway Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition.
The baseline Ghibli and the new Ghibli GranLusso share the same design features, while the Ghibli GranSport boasts a larger grille with a sharknose profile and integrated chrome bars.
The air duct has also been restyled for 2018. Wide open and more linear on the Ghibli and Ghibli GranLusso, it features a sportier layout on the Ghibli GranSport with two wings virtually supporting the grille, separating the central splitter from the side air ducts.
The design accentuates the width of the car, conveying an extra sense of stability from the front.
Externally, it is distinguished by its adaptive full LED headlights, the front bumper’s chrome inserts, GranLusso badge at the base of the front wing, body-colour side skirts, black brake calipers and 19-inch alloy wheels.