If you are seeking a luxuriously comfortable, exceptionally classy sedan that will seat five and makes you feel like a million bucks, the 2019 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 GranSport may be the one that makes you extraordinarily happy.
The base MSRP window sticker of the model I drove for a week was $87,780. However the extras, including the Natural Interior Leather Upholstery, Driver Assistance Package, Titano Wheel Treatments, Nerissimo Package, Bowers & Wilkins Sound System and Climate Package brought the retail price to $103,225.
The Ghibli, a luxury performance sedan does undoubtedly have a slightly odd sounding epithet. But is in fact perfectly named since it means a ‘hot, dust-bearing wind of the North African desert.’ The difference of course is that while driving a Ghibli, one actually causes the wind. Its V-6 turbo 3.0-liter engine with 424 horsepower and 428 lbs/ft of torque makes the Ghibli handle itself like an extremely powerful Spartacus, only far better looking.
Given that I test drove the Ghibli in Southern California, I did not have the opportunity to take it anywhere near its stated maximum speed of 178 mph, though I did momentarily reach 90 mph and the ride was as smooth as the finest spun Italian silk. I have zero doubt it would perform similarly while on the Autobahn at much higher speeds.
So with the 2019 Ghibli, serious speed is matched and married to sinfully good looks and savvy streetwise sass.
The Ghibli not only looks good, but it also feels good. The interior is elegant, sophisticated and user friendly. The USB port is conveniently located on the lower front of the dash, instead of as is often the case, buried in the console or elsewhere. The good-sized touchscreen was easy to operate. I had my phone synced and was using the navigation system and flipping to my favorite radio stations in minutes.
The split camera is a terrific feature and provides side, rear and overhead surround visuals, makes getting out of tight parking spots a snap. And if the Ghibli has any control at all over your life, you will never, ever be late to an appointment or meeting again. There are four clocks in this time sensitive vehicle: one digital read out on the navigation screen, another next to the speedometer, a third next to the rpm gauge and finally, a perfectly situated analog clock is located in the center of the dash. So being tardy simply isn’t an option, unless of course there is rush hour traffic.
My usual daily drive in the city is an SUV. I prefer the increased visibility from elevated seating, especially in traffic. However, I was able to adjust the driver’s seat in the Ghibli sufficiently to permit nearly the same visual vantage point. This coupled with that spiffy camera display and uncommonly comfortable seating made driving truly a pleasure.
At 17.66 cubic feet, the Ghibli trunk’s ability to carry copious amounts of cargo has called into question my deep and abiding affection for SUVs, especially where teenagers and their often overflowing amounts of sports and other equipment are concerned. Lacrosse sticks and snow boards, no problem, ditto trombones, violins and backpacks stuffed like an obese Thanksgiving turkey. But caveat emptor, with that kind of available real estate in Ghibli’s trunk, serious stealth shopping can actually be considered hazardous to one’s financial health.
If all that space isn’t enough to float a significant schleper’s boat, one of my favorite user-friendly features of the Ghibli is the trunk’s contactless open and close feature. So when your arms are full of packages, groceries or equipment, you can simply swipe your foot under the rear bumper and voila, the trunk opens or closes! I would not be surprised if Maserati engineers will soon produce a voice-activated open and close feature. That would be appealing to those who are balance challenged or overly weighed down with bags.
The Ghibli has a significant laundry list of key safety features that will give drivers’ peace of mind for themselves and their passengers. Those include seven airbags and anti-whiplash front headrests. In the front, two-stage airbags are concealed inside the steering wheel and dashboard to protect the head in frontal impact crashes. There is also a knee airbag that in a collision protects the driver’s legs and reduces femur load on impact.
The driver’s and front passenger’s chest and hips are further protected by side airbags located beneath the seat leather. Lateral head protection for front and rear occupants is safeguarded by curtain airbags mounted in the car’s roof.
Maserati’s engineers added a third crash-load path to the front structure of the car to help dissipate load and distribute the forces on the car to guarantee the stability of the body structure in frontal impacts.
The only negative I experienced driving the Ghibli was the extremely oversensitive park assist. It was initially set on high volume. That high-octave pitch would easily warn a driver even if on an airport runway behind an Airbus, or a driver simply had spent their entire adolescence working the speakers at Kiss concerts. Once I set it to low volume – which took 10 seconds on the intuitive screen – I was no longer at risk of auditory damage, however, the system would sound off even if any part of the car were several feet away from anything. This was distracting and a bit nerve wracking.
The Ghibli gets 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Those numbers certainly won’t make environmentalist jump for joy and is a bit less than the Mercedes Benz SL Class that gets 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. It’s also significantly less than the Lexus GS that clocks in at 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
The 48-month/50,000 new car limited warranty coverage is consistent with what is available with the purchase of most vehicles of this caliber.
In the luxury sedan market, the Maserati Ghibli certainly exceeds the comfort and handling of competitors in this price range such as the Lexus GS or the Mercedes Benz SL class. Indeed, the Ghibli’s leather seating with lumbar support are some of the best I’ve encountered. And the elegant interior will satisfy the most discerning sedan purchaser.
Positive emotions can certainly be evoked when driving a classy, high-performing sedan. After all, why drive a great car without feeling great? In the case of the 2019 Ghibli S Q4 GranSport, the sentiment that most often came to mind was the presence of a beautiful badass. And frankly, that can only be a good thing.
Thumbs up: Incredibly comfortable seating, smart dash details, bold, high-powered, smooth ride.
Thumbs down: Overly sensitive park assist.
Julie L. Kessler is MoneyInc’s Travel & Luxury Editor and writes travel stories for various major media outlets. She is also an attorney and legal columnist based in Los Angeles and the author of the award-winning book “Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight.” She can be reached at Julie@VagabondLawyer.com