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Cars

The Maserati Ghibli GranSport S

Words by Gareth Kurt Warren

ghibli/ˈɡɪbli/ | Noun: A hot, dry southerly wind of North Africa.

I have always been a fan of Maserati. Maserati design specifically. Right from the sleepy-eyed Quattroporte from the early 2000s to 2004’s V12 beauty that is the MC12. I can’t think of another brand that has managed to keep its design aesthetic consistent over the past few decades while staying relevant and modern.

Fast-forward to 2018, and Maserati UAE allowed us to babysit one of their vehicles for the weekend. We got to choose which one.

Instead of opting for the stern and sophisticated Quattroporte or the hyperactive and energetic GranTurismo, we settled safely in the middle with the Maserati Ghibli.

Luckily, the Ghibli is available in two trims – the GranLusso and GranSport. While the GranLusso is more luxurious like its older cousin the Quattroporte, the sport is a bit more boisterous like the GranTurismo. We opted for the GranSport.

Watching the car drive up was a treat. The Full-LED Adaptive Matrix headlights add to the car’s poker face, staring at you dead in the eye. The massive silver trident is perched dominantly smack in the middle of 10 silver grills that almost double up as gritted teeth. This car, and Maseratis in general, have an uncanny ability to look both incredibly pissed off, yet incredibly cultured.

Maserati Ghibli GranSport S

Engine

60° V6 cylinders

Displacement

2979 cm3

Max Power

316 KW at 5750 rpm

Max Torque

580 Nm at 2250-4000 rpm

Max speed

286 km/h

0-100 km/h

4.9 s

Transmission

Auto 8 gears

When you think of Italian sportscars, Maserati isn’t usually the first name that would pop into your head. However, the brand has been around way before Ferrari and Lamborghini were formed. Yep, the trident is older than the raging bull and prancing horse.

Driving the Ghibli GranSport S is a luxurious treat. While pegged as a luxury sports sedan. The car is a lot more luxury than it is sporty. That’s not taking anything away from its 430HP V6 engine; it’s just that I enjoyed the pampering more than the speed.

The cabin is wrapped in leather and you’re placed in the most customisable sport seats I have ever experienced. Besides the basics such as a premium sound system (Harman Kardon) and soft door close, Maserati threw in loads of carbon fibre. Probably too much. This trim comes with a full carbon kit. I’m talking door mirrors, door handles, front bumper profile, the pillars, the license plate molding. Everything.

Once you’ve processed and accepted the amount of carbon fibre, you would notice the instrument cluster. The cluster features large analogue gauges for the tachometer and speedometer together with a 7-inch TFT display.

The other screen sits in the middle of the dashboard. It’s an 8.4-inch touch display that controls every single aspect of the car. The technology in this vehicle is truly impressive. Everything from handling the ventilation and the entertainment to the rear sun-blind is controlled from the display.

It’s a given that the system features both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however it goes further for Apple users, incorporating Siri as your personal assistant allowing them to carry out tasks using voice command. Lastly, the infotainment system has a bit of retro-tech in the form of the Aux-in port, USB sockets and an SD card reader, just in case.

maserati ghibli

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Before we get into the drive, the car’s modes need to be addressed: especially the exhaust’s throaty growl in sports mode. It was a pleasant surprise and something that definitely brings a smile to your face. When you drop it into sports mode, bypass valves within the exhaust open up and the car goes from Doctor Jekyll to Mr. Hyde really quick. In normal mode – the car is much more refined.

While luxury takes precedence, the car’s sporty genes manifest on open roads. The car is fast. It can go from 0-100kmph in 4.9 seconds and can touch a top speed of 286 kmph. For a large sedan, this thing has a spring in its step. While the Ghibli is generally called the baby of the Maserati family, the car is rather large and heavy at 1810kgs.

While I usually take demo or review vehicles to the mountains in Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah or Fujeirah, I decided to take the Ghibli on a long family road trip to Umm Al Quwain. While I thought I would prefer the car in constant-sports-mode with its V6 firing on all cylinders, I ended up favouring the pure luxury the Ghibli has to offer.

And during the long drive I got to play around with the car’s ‘Advance Driver Assistance Pack’. The pack is comprises more than 6 features that are designed to enhance your driving experience. While adaptive cruise control, stop & go and active blind spot alerts are standard, those features when paired with the lane keeping assistant and the forward collision warning just make the drive even better.

Another feature that I fell in love with is its Traffic Sign Recognition. The feature, at first seemed rather gimmicky, but over time it proved how useful it actually is.

The Traffic Sign Recognition feature does what it says on the box. Cameras towards the front of the car constantly scan speed limits or other road signs and display them in the form of a little icon on the driver’s 7-inch display. I did mention that it felt like an unnecessary gimmick, but it helps loads during long drives where speed limits are constantly changing and you sometimes don’t spot every single speed sign.

Together with the several driving aids, handling the car itself is effortless, the Ghibli demands a certain respect on the road and almost everything is absolutely perfect.

Of all the cars we’ve been lucky to experience over the years – I did feel a bit disheartened while I drove the Ghibli GranSport back to Maserati.

Even though we choose to spend our time with the Ghibli instead of the Quattroporte of the GranTurismo, there were no regrets at all. And while the Ghibli is the more affordable option, or the baby of the pack – the car is all Maserati.

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