The little sibling of Modena was now six years old and it had progressed during those intervening years. Over 40,000 had been sold during this time while the fleet, as a whole, had shifted over 230,000 automobiles. The Italian carmaker had certainly achieved its goals of raising the brand to a higher level from its bespoke factory heritage. The 2019 Maserati Ghibli would upgrade the model, once more, though in more subtle ways this time.
The car was available in three different models – Base, S & S Q4 – and each edition could be upgraded by two distinct makeovers – GranLusso and GranSport. In addition to these, there would be other packages to choose from that improved on the vehicle’s looks and its driver safety aids. This would push the asking price up accordingly. While the basic price for the three models began at US$75,000 for the Base, $80,000 for the S and 82,5K for the S Q4, the “Gran” upgrades pushed the price up to 81K, 85K and 87.7K respectively. While further add-ons take the price nearer to 100K.
For this year, new varieties of color and trim have been added to the exterior paintwork as well as new leather and interior veneer. A redesigned gear stick has been added for improved use while new wheels are on offer as well as the LED adaptive headlights which are now standard on the GranLusso & GranSport editions.
With a plethora of upscaling packages to choose from, Maserati were closing the gap with its executive midsize luxury sedan rivals. It would no longer be just a heartfelt decision to own one but also a choice based on resolute thinking. The motoring segment was awash with high performance vehicles but were all becoming bland and amorphous. Though the top tier of Teutonic autobahn sedans were a “common sense” choice, they all lacked the allure and excitement of what the Trident could offer.
Power Under the Hood
All models would run off the same gasoline engine, a 3.0-liter twin turbocharged V6 Ferrari engine. The Base 2019 Maserati Ghibli model would not perform as highly as the others, with only 345 bhp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This would allow the automobile to hit 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 166 mph (compare this to most of its competitors only reaching 155 mph).
The more powerful S and S Q4 versions generated 424 bhp and 428 lb-ft of torque that propelled them through the 0-60 dash in 4.9 seconds and 4.7 seconds respectively. Both would achieve a top speed of 178 mph – blistering speed for a sedan.
But for many parts of the world, the engine they required most of all was something Maserati were not familiar with – a diesel engine. To seek help on the development of such an engine block, they went to someone who had long experience with the ‘Prancing Horse’ engine – Paolo Martinelli.
Snr Martinelli had overseen the V10 engines for the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team’s racing cars for Michael Schumacher as he drove to victory year after year. Under his watchful eye, Maserati created a 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine that produced 271 bhp and 443 lb-ft of torque. This saw the car reach 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph.
Fuel economy for all gasoline models was at a reasonable combined 19 mpg. With 24 mpg on the highway and 16 -17 mpg for urban driving of the S, S Q4 & Base models respectively. The 21.1 gallon gas tank, filled only with premium gasoline, made for an expensive trip to the gas station. But Maserati claim that the 2019 Maserati Ghibli will run for 400 miles between fill ups.
As always, the German gearbox manufacturer, ZF, would be supplying the transmission and all models were fitted with the same eight-speed 8HP automatic transmission. This could be placed into three different settings – Normal, Sport & ICE.
For urban driving, the 2019 Maserati Ghibli runs smoothly and quietly as it behaves like an ideal runaround. With the ICE (Increased Control & Efficiency) mode engaged, it functions like an ECO setting that reduces the engine and transmission for added efficiency and fuel economy.
But to enjoy the Maserati to the fullest, then the transmission must be set into ‘Sport’ mode. This allows the shift changes to occur faster, with the rev counts pushing closer to the redline, and remaps the throttle to give it an “edgier” feel. This also bypasses the exhaust baffles and lets the full growl, bang and pop of the V6 Ferrari engine to explode out of the quad tailpipes at the rear.
To achieve greater control over the gearbox, set the transmission into manual mode so that the driver has full handling of the shift changes through the gear stick or via the shift paddles on the steering column.
All models have a powertrain that is rear wheel based, although the S Q4 has an all-wheel function. This gives a more intuitive drive as, when the car experiences wheelspin, the Q4 system will divert up to 50% of the power to the front axle.
As like all Maserati automobiles, superior road handling and driving experience were a key factor to the 2019 Maserati Ghibli. The precision steering at high speeds as the car attacked all corners and tight bends with confidence and could explode out of the exit with no understeer or drift was a true testament to the quality of the engineering.
A large part of this was due to the balance of the car with a near perfect weight distribution ratio front to rear that allowed the car to sit on the road and follow the direction of the steering wheel with no variation or delay. Even less experienced drivers could enjoy the thrill of white-knuckle driving and feel confident they could execute the turns. But with several driver aids installed, it would ensure that the “excitement” did not get out of hand. These included both stability and traction control as well as anti-lock brakes.
The standard setup for the suspension was adequate but a little firm for some. Though the adaptive ‘Skyhook’ suspension system could be added (standard for the GranSport edition) which allowed for a more comfortable ride as well as being able to match the aggressive driving and what that could do to the occupants – minimizing body roll and later movement.
The steering has been adjusted to electric from its original hydraulic system, as the car installed a number of driver assistance aids.
Typical for Italian luxury cars, the bodywork and contour lines of the 2019 Maserati Ghibli were organic and sensual. Flowing curves along the sides down to the sloping hood and into the iconic front grille, would make this executive midsize sedan a clear standout against the other rivals in its class. The car would be alluring even when standing still.
Based on the larger Quattroporte, it was 11 inches shorter but still provided decent interior space. The cabin sat five (though four comfortably) with the front seats being especially comfortable with added cushioning and lumbar support. Headroom in the rear is better than most while legroom is acceptable though the foot-space is tight.
Generous storage space allows for 17.7 cubic feet in the trunk with added room when the rear seats are folded down in a 60/40 split.
Luxury is Standard
As befitting any high-end automobile from Italy, the interior of the 2019 Maserati Ghibli is exquisite. With the finest leather from Poltrona Frau covering most surfaces and complemented by the highest finishes of wood and carbon fiber. The exclusive hides are swathed over all the seats (along with the Alcantara suede on the headliners), on the side panels, dash and steering wheel. These come in a variety of colors and are contrasted by a multitude of different hand stitching and piping.
Exterior bodywork paint has a large palette to choose from and a selection of different alloy wheels from 19 to 21 inches.
Wired for Sound
The Chrysler made, Uconnect Infotainment system (referred to here as the ‘Maserati Touch Plus) is very accessible to use. With its 8.4 inch touchscreen that has large icons to access any of the required functions -satellite radio, CD player, sat nav and dual climate control. Connectivity with all media is now easily available via Apple Carplay, Android Auto as well as USB ports.
For added customization, the 2019 Maserati Ghibli can be upgraded to the GranLusso or GranSport variants.
The Luxury provided additional trim to the interior and chrome accents to the outside as well as ventilated front seats, hands-free power trunk, 10 speaker Harman Kardon system and driver aids such as: blind-spot monitoring; rear cross-traffic alert; front and rear parking sensors and a surround view camera.
The Sport provided aerodynamic enhancements to the bodywork, 19-21 inch alloys with red Brembo brake calipers, adaptive suspension, sports wheel, sport seats, shift paddles, blind-spot monitoring and front and rear parking sensors.
But if the buyer preferred something more unique then they could opt for the Zegna Edition. The famous Italian fashion house would offer a bespoke leather color scheme as well as silk linings for the seats and side panels.
As another option, a Driver Assistance package was offered which gave the car all the systems that had been previously lacking. This included: adaptive cruise control with a Stop/Go feature; forward collision alert; automatic emergency braking; lane departure warning and a 360-degree surround view camera.
The 2019 Maserati Ghibli had finally come of age and was living up to the expectations it thoroughly deserved.