Car Review: I took the Maserati Ghibli S for a ride and it roared at me
"You are not like everyone else"
What do you consider a luxury? An Audemars Piguet Flying Tourbillon? A Harley Davidson Cosmic Starship? The Vertu signature Cobra? The Hermes Birkin Bag by Ginza Tanaka? Or even the Macallan 64 Year Old In Lalique? For many, something is deemed luxurious when it's over-the-top and excessive. For others, luxury is something unattainable or a goal to work towards. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word is defined as "something expensive that is pleasant to have but is not necessary".
For me, luxury is a Maserati. Growing up, it's one of those brands I hear about often but never had the chance to see one in person—until recently. I had the opportunity to give the Maserati Ghibli a go on what's called a Relaxury city drive. The name is pretty self-explanatory, right? Here's a brief rundown of what happened on that fine day: a pampering session at Truefitt and Hill in Bangsar, lunch at Favola in Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, and lots of driving. The latter being the main part of the programme. It is apparent that I was spoiled that day. From having my first ever mani pedi experience to a face massage to a marvellous Italian meal, it felt like I was living a life unlike the usual.
If you're unfamiliar with the Maserati Ghibli, here's what you should know about the car. At the Turin Motor show in 1966, the first Maserati Ghibli was designed and unveiled. What's immediately clear is the Italian brand's motor racing DNA. With emphasis being on comfort and luxury, the latest model—offered in GranLusso and GranSport trims—comes equipped with a plethora of exterior design improvements, new safety technology and essential upgrades for the Advanced Driving Assistance Systems.
Notice the signature grille bearing the Maserati Trident at the front of the vehicle. Along with the chromed bars, the design takes inspiration from the A6 GCS Berlinetta of the 1950s. I really adore Ghibli's profile—from the frameless doors to the sloping C-pillar form. At the back, there's definitely conspicuous consumption with the words "Maserati" and "Ghibli" inscribed on the quad chrome exhaust tailpipes. Well, you either want others to know you're driving a Maserati, or you don't.
On the inside, you will find the 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, rotary control, a handy phone storage box, speedometer, rev counter, and a 7-inch TFT display that shows the car's dynamic data. As for the seats, they are all stitched by hand—in the finest tradition of Italian craftsmanship.Yes, the interior upholstery and seat upholstery are decked in full luxury Italian leather. One more component on the inside of the Ghibli that really impressed me is the Bowers & Wilkins high-end surround sound system. In the car's architecture, there are fifteen speakers as well as a 1,280-watt amplifier to make sure you get immersive sound for everyone inside.
The Maserati Ghibli S (the trim that I tested) is an impressive car; in and out. We live in a society that tells us to look for and be people who are beautiful on the inside and the outside. Let me add to that—why not look for car that fits the mold too? In addition to the sleek exterior and luxurious interior designs, the Ghibli S packs a punch in the performance category too. Along with the 60º V6 cylinders engine, the car has a top speed of 285 kilometres per hour as well as the ability to go from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in 4.9 seconds. Not too shabby... not too shabby at all.
Alright, how does it feel like driving a car like the Maserati Ghibli S in Kuala Lumpur? Take everything you know about the traffic situation in the city into consideration and imagine. Think long and hard. I will get back to this in awhile but let's start from the beginning. In the morning, I went to pick up the car from the Naza Italia showroom in Petaling Jaya where I was briefed on the basics. I remember very clearly when the car pulled up at the entrance. Publicly, I went "wow" but what nobody else could see was the "wa wa wee wa" I made. Side note: Borat is hands-down one of the best films of all time. Truth be told, I was genuinely amazed by the car. Tens across the board for first impression—and not just because it's black! Hopped into the Ghibli S and what I discovered was pure class. From the steering wheel to the leather seats to the Alcantara roof lining, it was a feast for my eyes.
My first destination after departing the showroom was Bangsar Shopping Centre for my pampering session at Truefitt & Hill. The 20-minute journey from one place to the other was my inaugural opportunity to examine the Ghibli S. Despite the heavy morning traffic (what's new?), I was able to take the ride for a spin, albeit rather slow. My initial focus was placed on the steering wheel that's now powered electronically. I really like that it's light and pretty quick when it comes to responsiveness. This means that you will be able to maneuver precisely and accurately. That's important, after all. Furthermore, the EPS (electronically assisted power steering) is also incorporated as a fuel conserving technology. I also really enjoyed the spaciousness of the front seats. However, while extremely helpful and necessary, I found the sensors rather annoying; not because they didn't do their jobs but the alerts kept coming on even when the car was obviously no where near a solid object—left, right, front, and back. Truth be told, that only made me for nervous when driving the Maserati Ghibli S. It caused a heightened sense of anxiety especially since it wasn't my own car that I was utilising. In my opinion, it's something that one will have to get used to.
Oh, if you're wondering about the Maserati roar, I'd have to say: are you kidding? On a week day morning and in the middle of the congestion on Federal Highway? Off with the shenanigans. Evanesco! I didn't "roar" right there and then but I did eventually. Under acceleration, the V6 roar was—well—full-flavoured and distinctive, to say the least. Not only was it an attention grabber, it was also a Maserati signature; part of its brand elements. Loud and noisy? Yes. That was why I only did that once. I have never found Kuala Lumpur to be an ideal location for cars such as the Maserati Ghibli S. It is a realm that limits the full of potential of high-performance vehicles. However, we live in a world that encourages us to make do with what we've got.
The Ghibli is an expensive model and with that comes high expectations. It's a basic entry-level Maserati but still a luxurious juggernaut nonetheless. What do you look for in a car with a starting price of RM718,800? Personally, I'd want adequate spaciousness in both front and rear seats, state-of-the-art technology, and just a really efficient transport. I know there are probably other pricier options that come with enhanced features, but is the price of the Ghibli S justified?
Its prowess can be seen in both the lane keeping programme and Touch Control Plus. For the former, I found that the car was automatically steered back into position whenever it sensed that I might have gone out of the lane. It is of utmost importance that a safety system such this works efficiently and from the short period with the Maserati Ghibli S, I cannot fault it at all. As for the Touch Control Plus, I noticed that the submenus were really easy to decipher without having to constantly look for the back button. Moreover, this means that I was able to locate whatever I wanted with ease—from audio to navigation. As a driver, this rocks because you wouldn't want to be distracted for too long. Nevertheless, just make sure your focus is on the road as much as possible. Some other features that are of massive help are the Active Blind Spot Assist, Surround View Camera (which was amusing and rather fun), and Forward Collision Warning.
In summation, I'd say no. I don't think the price matches what you are getting. However, if it's a Maserati you want and if your prime goal is to drive in Kuala Lumpur, the Ghibli S isn't the worst option. It's an everyday vehicle which you can also use for the occasional trips outside the city. The Ghibli S feels the most optimised on flat land and will definitely make you the centre of attention wherever you are—including being stuck in traffic cramps (at least that was what I felt). While it says amen to ample space for the driver and front passenger, the rear area suffers from the opposite. As for the exquisite and superbly-stunning leather seats, it will take a whole lot of caution to ensure that nothing spills. Talking about spilling, seven airbags are installed in the Maserati Ghibli so nothing spills at the event of an unfortunate accident. It's a first world kind of battle, isn't it? Here we are deciding if the Maserati Ghibli S is value for money.
It's easy to drive and you feel like a million bucks handling it (or at least 28.12 percent short off a million, if you do the math). My experience with the Ghibli was fun, enjoyable, and one-of-a-kind—like the delicious lunch I had at Favola in Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur. While the car leaves so much to be desired, that's not to say that the Ghibli is macabre. In fact, it's worth your time. Take it for a test drive like I did and you will either fall for it or continue your search for better model/brand. As for me, let me just end by saying that I'd go with the second scenario. Thank you for having me! What are your thoughts on the Maserati Ghibli?
The Maserati Ghibli S starts from RM718,800 with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty. For more information, visit this website.