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First Drive – Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli sports executive sedan

His stunning Italian profile beckoned me from across the way. A Lothario – a seducer of women. I felt a rush of excitement the moment we connected. He knew exactly what he was doing, and although I am a married woman, I loved every minute of it!

Should my husband be concerned? Perhaps. Especially if he thinks our next car purchase should be an Audi or BMW. I finally had to confess to him that I only have eyes for the 2014 Maserati Ghibli.

Three weeks ago, I was blessed to be the only journalist to drive the US-version of this newly-designed four-door mid-sized Ghibli sedan, which hits showroom floors mid-September on American soil. I was joined by the owners of Maserati dealerships from all over North America on the rolling vineyard roads of Sonoma, California, all very eager to get a peek at the sedan that challenges to change how people see the Maserati brand.

Not to be swayed by looks alone, the Ghibli is as agile as it is handsome. The moment I reached to the left of the steering column to push the start button, the 3.0L V-6 twin turbo Ghibli roared to life. Although the Ghibli S Q4 was fitted with a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, I was simply content to listen to the glorious harmony coming from the exhaust. When I grazed the throttle, he immediately serenaded me with a throaty aria – the Italian language is so sexy.

The ride in the S-model was buttery soft in Standard drive mode. When I switched the all-wheel-drive sedan into Sport mode, the Ghibli adjusted the engine and transmission mapping, making the shifts more snappy, giving the steering quicker reaction and stiffening the suspension shock valving, all while increasing throttle response. The torque curve on the V6 is extremely linear, with virtually no turbo lag coming from the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. I found the shifts to be crisp, fast and fairly aggressive for a four door.

As much as I adore the looks and performance of the car, I’m not completely sold on the name. Ghibli, which is coined after a Saharan wind, doesn’t feel Italian enough for me. Maybe the name Lothario would be better suited? I humbly offer it up as a suggestion.

Maserati Ghibli

But when you have found the love of your life, it would be silly not to marry him simply because you don’t like his last name. Let’s not forget, Maserati, in itself, is a very impressive moniker.

That is exactly what Maserati is banking on. Aspiring to sell 50,000 vehicles by 2015 – eight times the average number- Maserati is willing to bank the newest version of the Ghibli will be the game changer. Much more affordable than its larger siblings, the agile Ghibli will start at $65,000 for the base model. The manufacturer hopes the 2014 Ghibli will appeal to a whole new group of buyers, who are looking to set themselves apart from owners of the ubiquitous BMWs, Mercedes and Audis. Let’s face it, if you can own a Maserati for the same price, wouldn’t you?

The latest iteration of Maserati sports sedans was originally birthed in 1963, when Maserati mated a racing engine with a high performance sports sedan. The 2014 Ghibli takes it to a whole new level, producing a smaller, faster, new family of engines, designed by Maserati and assembled by Ferrari. Rarely do you find a high performance sedan that is capable of such speed – 0 to 60 in the Ghibli S Q4, with AWD, in below 4.7 seconds. The aerodynamic, high power S model achieves a top speed of 177 unlimited MPH thanks to the 404HP motor. Every surface is beautiful, every line harmonious. Maserati takes the Ghibli to a pinnacle rare to find in this class of car. It’s not an exotic; it is meant to be driven all the time.

As the mother of two young children, I am always on the lookout for a sporty, yet practical vehicle. I believe Maserati has made something very special that many women would be proud to own as a family car, while still being swanky enough to take out on a date night with your spouse. The Ghibli is much more approachable for a female driver than the bulkier, larger Quattroporte.

Maserati Ghibli

What’s great about the new generation of the Ghibli is its level of refinement. The cabin boasts a plethora of comfort features, including heated front seats, power sunroof and an intuitive 8” Chrysler designed Uconnect navigation system which is easily mastered in less than 10 minutes. While the interior is different than the flagship Quattroporte, it is clear Maserati used the best components available to produce a luxurious experience for Ghibli owners.

The cavernous trunk space allows ample room for a double stroller and shopping bags, I remind my husband. He rolls his eyes, shakes his head and walks away. I think he’s simply jealous of my new lover.

Maserati Ghibli Gallery

Are you excited about the new Maserati Ghibli?

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