If you’re not particularly familiar with the current model range, and someone mentions the name “Maserati,” chances are you’ll think of low, sleek, exotic sports cars that rival the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini. However, Maserati is now more about four doors than two, and the 2019 Maserati Ghibli is a prime example.
The Ghibli is a four-door sports sedan that doesn’t try very hard to hide its exotic Italian credentials, but it definitely is still a very practical alternative to a Ferrari or Lamborghini. It’s certainly not the only car of its type around these days, and the competition in this market is actually very strong at the moment — even with so many buyers turning to SUVs these days. The Ghibli is probably behind rivals like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi in terms of public consciousness where performance sedans are concerned, so let’s see why it should feature higher up in the pecking order.
Italians don’t tend to go along with the Cadillac and Lexus themes of sharp edges and right angles, preferring instead to stick with seductive curves instead. The Ghibli hardly wears an angle worthy of the name, but it’s also not as bulbous as some other cars that embrace curves. The front fascia of the Maserati is notable for its unique grille and that trident logo, but there isn’t too much that screams Italian exotica.
The side view is attractive, but without going over the top. Some manufacturers in this segment can go too far with the old sloping roofline aesthetic to create a really sporty look. It’s not that a ridiculously sloping roof ever looks bad, but a severe slope always has a detrimental impact on rear headroom. The Ghibli has just enough of a slope to identify itself as a sport sedan, but doesn’t overdo it. The rest of the side profile really could be from any one of a number of rivals, and that even includes the Kia Stinger.
Even though the Maserati Ghibli is a performance-focused sport sedan, it’s also very much a luxury car too, and that means the interior needs to live up to that billing. Although the seats are far from being overindulgent, they do provide decent support when the Ghibli is being thrown around bends and corners. The base leather upholstery is soft and very high quality. There are some very attractive two-tone upholstery options too, which really do add an extra element of style to this impressive interior.
If you haven’t been in any Fiat Chrysler vehicles lately, you might notice the amount of design elements in the Maserati that have been borrowed from the likes of the Grand Cherokee. In that case, it probably won’t matter to you. But if you have, you might start to ask questions about the Ghibli’s price.
Overall, the fit, finish, and the materials used inside the 2019 Ghibli are higher quality than in the past, but it’s still questionable whether they’re as good as you’ll find in an equivalent model from the big-name German luxury automakers.
Under the hood of the standard Ghibli is a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that puts out 345 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque, which gets the Maserati from 0-to-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 166 mph. That’s good, but are they the kind of numbers you’d expect to be signing up for if you are thinking of buying a Maserati?
For a more authentic Italian performance car experience, it would probably be better to go for the Ghibli in its S trim, which then means the 3.0-liter V-6 is then tuned to develop 424 hp and 406 lb.-ft. of torque. This powerplant then gets you to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, and the top speed jumps to an impressive 178 mph.
The top-of-the-line model is the Ghibli S Q4, which adds an intelligent all-wheel-drive system that delivers additional grip and traction in adverse conditions, and with the highest levels of performance. Despite that, it still gets the same engine and power ratings as the S.
Naturally, in two-wheel drive format, the power is sent to the rear wheels of the Maserati, and it goes through an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted using the ubiquitous steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. At low speeds when cold, the transmission is fairly unremarkable, but it really comes to life at higher speeds once the Ghibli gets warmed up.
Trim Levels and Features
Once you’ve decided between the Ghibli, Ghibli S and the Ghibli S Q4, you can also have your chosen model in GranLusso and GranSport levels. You probably don’t need to have a strong grasp of Italian to work out that the GranLusso adds even higher levels of luxury and convenience to the package. Likewise, the GranSport package goes down a more performance-orientated route with a sharper sporting edge and more exciting driving dynamics.
Although the Ghibli has only relatively recently added a backup camera to its standard equipment list, this is still a very nicely equipped car at all levels. Another of those features carried over from Fiat Chrysler is the infotainment system, but this time it’s a piece of Chrysler equipment nobody should complain about. The Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen system is one of the best out there, and it’s standard in every Ghibli, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
- Curvy, exotic good-looks
- Styling not polarizing
- Fabulous engines
- Evocative branding
- Hard ride
- Uncomfortable seats
- A lot of Chrysler parts
- Not as exotic-looking as it could be?
The Last Word
This is a tough one, and not because there’s anything at all wrong with the 2019 Maserati Ghibli. On the one hand, there are probably better cars out there for similar money — ones that are more powerful, better put together, and better equipped. On the other hand, the German rivals we’re alluding to don’t have anywhere near the character of the Maserati.
When someone at the golf club asks you what you drive, and you say a BMW, Mercedes, or an Audi, you’ll probably get no more than a nod and a knowing, approving look. However, tell them you’re driving a Maserati, and all of a sudden you’ll appear an awful lot more interesting than if you answered one of the usual suspects. And rightly so.