MASERATI GHIBLI: A Continuing Evolution

MASERATI  GHIBLI: A Continuing Evolution
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It is barely a year since we published our roadtest report and review of the wonderful Maserati Ghibli, but revisions introduced to this year’s models demanded our further attention. Although already elegantly styled, luxuriously furnished, and equipped with the most advanced automotive engineering and technology, Maserati’s design team in Turin refuses to rest on its laurels but instead works hard to identify even the smallest improvements and innovations which will keep their cars ahead of the competition.

Hence, for the current model year, they have introduced new colours and alloy wheels, full-grain Pieno Fiore natural leather with new veneers, and a redesigned gearshift lever, all of which provide the Ghibli with a touch of understated refinement.

Overall, the Ghibli looks as elegant and sporty, fresh and extraordinary as the day it made its World Premiere in the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show. Its design remains a real statement in the premium sedan segment, combining a coupé-like philosophy with interior comfort second to none.

The exterior styling of the Ghibli underlines the clear distinction between baseline, GranLusso and GranSport trims, while enhancing the visual identity and aerodynamic efficiency of the Maserati sports sedan. The Ghibli GranSport, for example, presents a sportier, more exaggerated design in its front bumper and grille. Its central splitter is embraced by two diagonally arranged wings that virtually support the grille, separating the splitter from the air ducts on both sides. The specific design of the Ghibli GranSport bumper visually accentuates the width of the car, conveying a sense of augmented stability.

Ghibli’s design isn’t just about looks but has contributed to a substantial improvement of the car’s aerodynamic efficiency. The drag coefficient of the recently restyled Ghibli is as low as 0.29 – a 7% improvement on the 0.31 value of the original design.

One of this year’s upgrades is the inclusion as a standard in both the Ghibli GranLusso and Ghibli GranSport trims of Adaptive Full LED Matrix Headlights developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting. Compared to Bi-Xenon headlamps, LED technology offers 20% better visibility, 32% cooler light and headlights with double life expectancy. The Adaptive Full LED Matrix headlights illuminate the road as far as 195 metres ahead – 55 metres further than equivalent Bi-Xenon lights. The Full LED Matrix system includes a front camera that supports the Matrix-adaptive High Beam. This function can create light ‘tunnels’ by deactivating individual LEDs in the relevant zone, ‘cutting out’ the area around the vehicles and allowing Ghibli drivers to keep high beam on, without dazzling oncoming drivers. The adoption of LED technology has subtly revamped the exterior look of the Ghibli, thanks to the restyled Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and a three-blade design inspired by the wing air ducts, a Maserati signature.

GranLusso and GranSport models have also been given some new colours and wheels. The Ghibli GranLusso stands out for its enhanced exterior finish. This most elegant version of the Ghibli uses exclusive materials and special features in the finest tradition of Italian craftsmanship. Externally, alongside the Adaptive Full LED Matrix headlights, the trim is distinguished by chrome inserts on the front bumper, a GranLusso badge at the base of the front wing, body-colour side skirts, black brake calipers and 19-inch Poseidone alloy wheels.

Externally, the GranSport also features Adaptive Full LED Matrix headlights and is recognisable for Black Piano inserts on the front bumper, a GranSport badge on the front wing, body-colour side skirts, red brake calipers and, last but not least, 20-inch machine-polished Urano alloy wheels.

There is now a choice of eleven body colours in the Ghibli range, two of which are brand new tri-coat colours: the race-inspired Rosso Potente, which has been created to celebrate the heritage of Italian sports cars, and the Blu Nobile with sparkling glass flakes glimmering under the sunlight.

There is also a choice of ten alloy wheels in six different designs in sizes ranging from 18 to 21-inch. The 20-inch Teseo, which is available in light and dark finish, is a wheel design that is another stylish new addition to the range.

This season has also welcomed the introduction of an optional Nerissimo pack, which brings together black and dark body elements with an extended range of eight specific exterior colours – five of which are brand new – and 20 or 21-inch alloy wheels with dark finish.

When the Ghibli entered the premium sedan segment in 2013, it boasted tangibly superior cabin craftsmanship. It also set itself apart with a unique, cockpit-inspired dashboard design that perfectly matched its driver-focused character, without compromising on refinement and sophistication. This comfortable cabin of the Ghibli also blends a state-of-the art infotainment system with tangibly superior materials, like the optional new Pieno Fiore natural leather – and can be further upgraded in the GranLusso and GranSport trims, through which the interior of the Ghibli has been adapted to emphasise either luxury or sportiness, two essential elements in the DNA of every Maserati.

GranSport trim: this sport-oriented interior immediately transmits a sense of passion through an array of exclusive elements like the 12-way power sport leather front seats with integrated anti-whiplash headrests, the sport steering wheel fitted with aluminium gearshift paddles, and the Inox sport pedals. The dashboard’s wood trim is finished in high-gloss Black Piano.
GranLusso trim: the luxury-oriented cabin exclusively features Ermenegildo Zegna Silk interiors, with mulberry silk inserts, Radica open-pore wood trim on the dashboard and wood-finished leather steering wheel. The trim also includes a Harman Kardon Premium Sound system, power-adjustable foot pedals and steering wheel, an electric rear sunblind, the Soft Close Doors system and an electrically lockable passenger glove box.

In line with a long Maserati tradition, the customer has a wide range of materials from which to choose, and the new Pieno Fiore natural leather is at the top end of the list. The full-grain leather is available in black, red and tan colour, either with comfort or sports seats, each with its own stitching pattern. Premium Leather is used on the upper and lower dashboard and on the armrest. The door panels also stand out for their unique, double-stitching pattern. Pieno Fiore is like no other leather used in the automotive industry for its natural, soft feel and is purposely processed to develop a unique character throughout the years.

Maserati also offers two brand new High-Gloss interior veneers for the Ghibli: the Carbon Fibre Twill, which adds exclusivity to the cabin by conveying the idea of a deep 3D look, and the luxurious wooden Rovere Veneer, which features fine stripes with a brushed effect under the glossy top coat.

The interior is built around an intuitive, uncluttered and user-friendly driver interface. The instrument panel features large analogue gauges for the tachometer and speedometer, alongside a 7” TFT display. The dashboard is designed around the 8.4” Maserati Touch Control Plus (MTC+) display, which features updated graphics and improved Climate Control functions.

The Ghibli’s MTC+ infotainment system has a high resolution 8.4” screen with multi-touch function and is embraced by the central air ducts with cut-off chrome inserts. The head unit bezel bears a Ghibli logo. The MTC+ is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring functions and gives the user full control of almost all on-board equipment, including the radio and optional navigation system. It also has a standard Bluetooth connection for external sources like mobile phones and Apple devices.

The Ghibli is equipped with Air Quality Sensor, a feature that substantially improves the comfort of both the driver and passenger. The system combines an intelligent sensor and a signal analysis system that calculates the external pollution levels and prevents polluted air and toxic gases from entering the cabin. The air flow distribution control, which is fully separated for the driver’s and front passenger’s zones, has been revised and is now more customizable.

The center console neatly accommodates a redesigned gearshift lever and a revised button cluster for the driving modes as well as the characteristic double rotary knob, a high-quality forged aluminium component that provides intuitive control of the audio volume and other functions. Ghibli’s redesigned gearshift lever features an intuitive, dual lane shift pattern that provides shorter travel and improved operation. The driver has the option to use the gearbox in either automatic (RND) or manual mode simply by shifting the lever from right to left, while a new ‘P’ button on top sets the transmission in parking mode. With the new gearshift lever, the driving modes cluster on the central console is even more user-friendly. The M button has been eliminated and a Start&Stop “off” button has moved in its place. Ghibli’s transmission caters for all demands, from comfort to fast gear shifting, and from minimised fuel consumption to low noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The car also recognizes a variety of conditions, such as uphill or downhill driving, hard braking or driving through a corner, and selects the optimal gear and the most suitable gearshift style accordingly. In Manual Normal mode the system automatically shifts up as the red line approaches, while in Manual Sport, gearshifts are quicker and sharper and the engine can be pushed to the limit without the system intervening.

We’re left wondering how they can possibly improve on what’s currently on offer with the Ghibli, but dare say there’s already a lot of head scratching and creative thinking in Turin.

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