2016 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

Test Drive: 2016 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

The Maserati Ghibli S Q4 is the Italian automakers latest effort at designing a sports sedan that slots just below the full-size luxury segment. I consider its main competitors in the market to be the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe and new Jaguar XF S. While it hits the mark in several key areas such as driving performance and luxury amenities, it unfortunately lacks the soul found in the Maserati sports coupe family and thereby misses the golden opportunity to set itself apart from its German and British competitors.

Clean lines and exotic curves have been a staple feature of the brand since the early 20th Century and the Maserati Ghibli S Q4 is no exception. But this is 2016, so curved lines are featured in equal proportion to angled corners and straight edges. A large Maserati oval grill highlights the typical trident emblem, as well as newly-styled rectangular edges that blend seamlessly into LED Bi-xenon headlights. Optional high-pressure headlamp washers keep everything bug free.

Our test vehicle is featured in Blu Emozione with just enough chrome accents around the windows, door handles and the front fender side vents to keep things interesting. Sport package 20-inch alloy wheels stand out, especially when combined with the optional red painted brake calipers. A Maserati, no matter the price, always looks best when decked out with high-performance wheels, tires and brakes.

The Ghibli assumes a similar look to that of the Quattroporte, but is considerably shorter in length. It’s as if someone put the Quattroporte into a washing machine, then left it in the dryer a little too long and out popped the Ghibli.

Two curved lines define the side profile; starting behind the front wheel arch before meeting at the rear door handle and continuing on to rear. A subtle rear spoiler is neatly integrated into the rear trunk lid. It is a handsome vehicle and one the valet attendant should have no trouble picking out in a crowded parking lot.

Inside, the Ghibli S Q4 is less dramatic than the familia’s 2-door collection and the Quattroporte for that matter, but it is a definite step up from the inwardly bland interior of the new Jaguar XF S or the hard-edged BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe.

Taking up position in the driver’s seat allows me to focus my attention on the brushed metal trimmed analogue speedometer and tachometer. The digital readout in the center is a nice touch and can be configured to provide additional useful information. A 3-spoke steering wheel is functional and elegant with its chrome accents, easy-to- access paddle-shifters and soft leather covering with proper thumb grips positioned at 10 and 2 o’clock.

Seats are sport-designed, but have a more “favorite chair” feel to them than the “must lose weight” seats found in several European sedans. The 8.4-inch Maserati Touch Display offers clear graphics for the audio, climate, navigation controls and more. In this area, it is easy to see the positive influence of parent company FCA on the brand. Although they run the risk of putting too much Chrysler inside a Maserati, the touch screen control center benefits greatly. Harmon/Kardon provides the audio experience.

Brushed metal on the accelerator, brake and dead peddles looks racy and fully adjustable. The HVAC system is logical, the center console roomy and covered in exceptional wood plus there is plenty of interior space for up to five adults. Trunk space is also better than expected.

The suspension features double wishbone up front and a five bar multi-link setup in the rear. Our test vehicle is equipped with the optional Skyhook suspension for added performance. Two settings, Normal and Sport, adjust load transfer and limit body roll, but have no impact on vehicle height.

Brakes on the Ghibli S Q4 are Brembo all around, with 6-piston calipers in front and 4-piston at the back. Standard wheels are 18-inch alloy, but our test vehicle is equipped with 20-inch alloys as previously mentioned.

Power comes in the form of a 3.0-L twin-turbocharged V6 engine. It delivers a smooth if somewhat underwhelming when not in 404 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 405 lb-ft of torque between 1,750-5,000 rpm. Matched to an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, the 2016 Ghibli S Q4 accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 284 km/h.

The Ghibli S Q4 is both fun-to-drive and family sedan boring all at the same time. Touring city streets or cruising through some of my favorite backroads around home in Sport mode is everything I have come to expect from a Maserati. The sound, feel and smile on my face is all there.

As soon as I take it off of Sport, the pleasing exhaust note is gone, taking with it the feel of an Italian sports sedan and for the most part my enjoyment. It’s as if the Ghibli has suddenly been replaced by a fully-capable, but less inspiring Chrysler 300.

Base price for the 2016 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 is $92,950. Our test vehicle is equipped with numerous upgrades including all-season tires, power trunk hands free, blind spot alert, plus the Premium and Sport packages along with the aforementioned Skyhook suspension. The options add up to $14,740, bringing our grand total to $107,690 CAD.

Spending this amount of money on an automobile is not without a certain amount of risk. What will the neighbors say, did I chose the right color combination, should I have purchased the Jaguar instead and who will I hire to clean it? All that aside, there is something to be said for Maserati adding new vehicles to the line-up, see the new Levante range as an additional example and for this I applaud them.

Taking the safe approach in automotive design is often the case when increasing sales volume becomes the top priority and for good reason. On that note, the Ghibli has the potential to be so much more and hopefully it will continue to evolve over the years into a true Maserati sports sedan. For now, however, it should appeal to wide range of would-be exotic car owners looking for something new to park in their perfectly manicured driveways. “La Vita è Bella!”

2016 Maserati Ghibli:
Trim level: S Q4 (AWD)
Price as tested (before taxes): $107,690.00
Freight: $2,200.00
Configuration: front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.0L 6-cylinder/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 404 hp/ 406 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): regular (79.8L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): city: 15.0, hwy: 10.0 L/100 Km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 12.4 L/100 km (550 km)
Competitors: BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Jaguar XF S, Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe

Related links:
Maserati Canada
Canada Auto Review

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