In recent years, the Italian luxury sports marque has upped the ante for its rivals with stylish, sharp-looking machines kitted with very impressive driving technology and high-end leather clad interiors.
The Ghibli S is a prime example of how buyers are getting their money’s worth for a performance-oriented European stallion that doubles up exceedingly well as a daily commuter, and showcases the emotional appeal behind Maserati’s historic success and record sales over the last few years.
The 2018 re-styling of the Ghibli isn’t just for show; Maserati claims that the updated exterior and new bumpers have improved aerodynamic efficiency by 7%.
Adding even more value are standard features on the Ghibli S like Adaptive full LED headlights with glare free Matrix high-beam, a first for Maserati, with integrated DRLs (daytime running lights) and AFS (Adaptive Front Lighting System) which provides better road illumination and comes on automatically when driving in bad weather.
The car has a certain debonair sports coupe persona, despite its four-door sedan design, and we like Maserati’s customary three air vents on the sides as well as the muscular rear end.
The quad chrome exhaust tailpipes accentuates the sporty appeal of the car, while the front end has a prominent grille with the iconic trident badge centred among concave vertical fillets.
In the cabin, the Ghibli S has a luxurious ambience with plush black leather upholstery and red stitching, Alcantara covered roof lining and body pillars, and chrome trim.
The car also has an air quality sensor, which is said to improve cabin air quality, while the rear air-conditioning vents helped to cool us down on a hot day, as we drove up to Bukit Tinggi towards Berjaya Hills Golf and Country Club.
There are lots of standard interior comforts including powered ventilated front seats, electric steering column adjustment, and 8.4-inch touchscreen mated to a rotary controller and a high-end 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system with a 1,280 watt amplifier.
These nice features are the norm for a luxury sports saloon, and the Ghibli S ticks all the right boxes with an uncluttered-looking interior and premium cabin craftsmanship and detailing.
While it’s certainly not as roomy as the flagship Maserati Quattroporte flagship saloon, the Ghibli still provides comfortable head and leg room.
We had three tall adults in the car, and found more than enough rear headroom despite its coupe-like looks.
The Ghibli is a five-seater but four occupants would definitely find more elbow room especially with the rear centre arm rest (which has a cleverly designed recess and two cup holders) folded down.
Small items can be stored in door bins and a climate-controlled centre box between the front seats, and there are front seatback nets as well.
There is also a spacious 500-litre boot and 60/40 folding rear seats, and a front compartment with a phone tray, USB slot and SD card readers in this low-slung sports sedan.
- Seven airbags
- Front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera
- Surround view camera
- Forward Collision Warning
- Lane Departure Warning System
- Blind Spot Alert
- Rear Cross Path Detection
- Tyre sealing compound and electric air compressor (Fix & Go Tyre Kit)
- Traffic Sign Recognition
- Automatic hill holder / Hill Descent Control (HDC)
- Limited slip differential (LSD)
- Maserati Stability Program (MSP)
- Brake Assistance System (BAS)
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- I.C.E (Increased Control & Efficiency): specific software for reduced consumption and better vehicle dynamic management in all conditions
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go
- Keyless entry system
- Soft door close
- Electronic power boot
- Electric Power Steering (EPS) with speed sensitive feature
- Skyhook adaptive damping system
- Automatic headlamp activation and rain sensor
- Automatically dimming powered/heated side-view mirrors with puddle lamps
- Power rear sunblind
- Electronic Parking Brake (EPB)
- SPORT control: Sport mode set up
- Adaptive Full LED front headlamps with integrated DRL and AFS module
- 18-inch collapsible spare tyre
- Front and rear electric windows with anti-pinch sensors
- Electronic Steering Column Adjustment
- Powered ventilated front seats (8 ways + 4 ways for lumbar support) with 2 memories for driver’s side
- Italian Leather interior upholstery
- Alcantara roof lining & pillars
- Maserati “Active Shifting”, aluminum gear shift paddles on steering column
- Front armrest with twin mechanical opening and storage compartment
- Rear armrest with 2 cup holders
- Dual zone automatic climate control
- 8.4-inch touch screen display with rotary control and Navigation System
- Bluetooth, SD card reader, USB, Aux-ln,
- Bowers & Wilkins high-end surround sound System
The upgraded Ghibli S now delivers 430hp at 5,750rpm and 580Nm peak torque from 2,200 to 4,000rpm – 20hp and 30Nm more than the previous model year from a 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo engine mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.
Those are very respectable power numbers for its segment, and propels its 1,810kg kerb weight from0 to 100kph in 4.9 seconds.
On the drive up to Bukit Tinggi towards Berjaya Hills Golf and Country Club, we kept the car in Sport mode which resulted in a more aggressive, high-energy exhaust tone.
Power delivery is linear and the 8-speed automatic is smooth and responsive, with crisp gear shifts in Manual mode.
This is the sort of car that is great for a dynamic uphill climb on a winding road, with a thrilling exhaust roar and gratifying sprint speeds each time we stepped hard on the accelerator pedal.
Ride and handling
On the road curves of Bukit Tinggi, the Ghibli S handled like a top class dancer and we liked the communicative Electric Power Steering (EPS) that replaced the previous hydraulic power steering.
The EPS has razor-sharp steering feel, and running on ultra high performance Pirelli P Zero tyres (sized 245/40 in front, and 285/35 for the rear) wrapped around 20-inch wheels, we found excellent grip during sporty driving.
The Brembo brake package provides impressive stopping power while driving dynamics and performance are also improved, thanks to a Bosch-developed Integrated Vehicle Control system (IVC) for better vehicle instability.
The Ghibli S comes with a Skyhook adaptive damping system, and front all-aluminium double wishbones with a rear multi-link suspension, and on the dynamic uphill drive on a twisty route, the car still delivered a high degree of ride comfort.
- 9.6 litres per 100km (combined cycle)
- 5-year unlimited mileage warranty
- 5-year or 100,000km (whichever is first) free service
The car is priced at RM718,800 (excludes road tax, insurance and registration)
Italian flair and style with a rich motorsports heritage and the Trident logo are reflected in the Ghibli S, which we found to be a finely honed, involving machine for keen drivers.
A sumptuous leather upholstered interior, with classy Italian craftsmanship and a well-engineered suspension system with adaptive damping, meant we enjoyed every moment.
The potent Ferrari-built V6 engine with 430hp/580Nm is another draw, and while it’s always a joy to go charging down a highway or toss the car around on a twisty backroad, we confessed that just being cocooned in the plush cabin on an amiable drive was a very pleasant experience.
The Ghibli S is a powerful hot rod with beguiling handling, but we are sure many owners would also be charmed by its high level of ride comfort and finer qualities.