IF you saw the trident logo on a car parked in the street, would you know what it meant? Would you know what car it was, or what brand it represented? If you were a connoisseur of fine automotive vehicles you would know the trident represents Maserati.
You’d know that it was an Italian luxury performance car brand born in 1914 and carrying with it a deep history that includes Formula 1 racing, and that its cars look exceptional, and are considered a choice mode of transport for rich gentlemen.
Would you know though, that the 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 petrol power plant sitting in the 2018 Maserati Ghibli S GranSport is built by Ferrari, and generates 430hp (or 320-ish kW) of power and 550Nm of torque? Maybe you would, because you like fine automobiles.
We do too, and this Maserati comes complete with the Ferrari blurt when the turbos dial out, and offers true sports luxury. It’s got a sexy sound that is just another subtle reminder of the astounding heritage these cars have.
Pricing on the 2018 Maserati Ghibli starts at $149,990 drive away. Our test vehicle, the 2018 Maserati Ghibli S GranSport, is priced at $195,000 plus on-roads; really expensive, sure, but that is neither here nor there really.
Owned by Fiat, what sets Maserati and its high performance Ferrari stable mate apart from most of the other FCA brands like Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and RAM Trucks, is the sheer level of customisation you can make as a buyer.
Let’s dive into the options, because they are plentiful. It comes in nine colours, including two solids; Nero and Bianco (or black and white).
The seven metallic colours include Blu Emozione, Blu Passione, Bianco Alpi, Rosso Folgore, Grigio, Grigio Maratea, and Nero Ribelle. Roughly translated, that’s two blue colours, a white, burgundy, light and dark silver, and metallic black.
Some eight wheel choices are available, ranging from 19-inch to 21-inch, in a variety of finishes, with four brake caliper colour options as well; blue, red, grey and black. That’s before you jump inside.
Things get really interesting from here on in. There are eight leather combinations, including four solid colours and four two tone options, including the red and black we experienced. You can choose to have the trident embroidered in the seats too.
The carpet, steering wheel and main dash are all black for the most part, but some leather seating packages have a second option for all three (usually to match the leather). Headlining matches too, again often with an alternative option.
Finally, there are five trim options, including carbon fibre and gloss piano black. Wait, you don’t think we’re done yet do you? We’re not. There’s more. You can also add an interior carbon package, driver assistance package, and premium trim package.
All of that before you even consider upgrades to the Harman Kardon sound system (you can have a Bowers and Wilkins system if you like), or changes to the type of leather you want to sit on.
All that customisation aside, the Maserati certainly attracts attention wherever it goes, it’s just got a look and sound that says “don’t look at me, but know I’m here, and that I am glorious”.
There’s a level of wow, but it’s subdued for people who see it on the road. That level of wow is also there for the driver and passengers, but like the outside world, it feels subdued, elegant if you will.
Don’t get us wrong, you can drive the Ghibli S GranSport hard and it makes those seriously blurty noises we talked about earlier, giving away its performance underpinnings, but driving it like that somehow feels oddly wrong.
As a driving experience, the 2018 Maserati Ghibli S GranSport offers comfort, performance and in Sport mode, the right noises, but it’s like someone put cling wrap over it first, it feels a little muted, if that makes sense.
It’s no Ferrari, or even an M5 or AMG C63 S, but then it’s not meant to be. They play in a different ‘pure adrenalin’ space. This is not the Maserati remit, it’s a far more sedate driving experience for the connoisseur of fine automobiles, if that’s what you want.
It’s reasonably practical too. It’s loaded with quality tech, including an easy to use infotainment system that features excellent Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there’s lots of charge points too.
It’s got storage pockets everywhere but simple things like cup holders seem a little underdone. But that aside, there’s a good 500-litres of boot space, and while you wouldn’t want to be too tall in the rear seat area, it is astoundingly comfy back there.
And that’s the big take away here, it won’t win any street races, but if the how you get there is more important than the how fast, then the 2018 Maserati Ghibli S GranSport wins on that front, for sure.
Our test vehicle was provided by Maserati Australia and Ateco Automotive Group. To find out more about the 2018 Maserati Ghibli S GranSport, contact your local Maserati dealer.