BY inspecting a product and spending more time with it, one could tell if it’s built to be a straight-forward functional piece of kit, or if it’s designed with some emotional elements.
The latter, which is rarely done, tends to be illogical, daring and unconventional.
Enter the Maserati Ghibli: a 350hp, 263kph performance sedan that can be driven everyday. It took an approach in which sports car constituents are injected into a four-door sedan.
That Ghibli has 109hp more than what the E300 AMG Line and 98hp more than the newly-launched 530i M Sport.
Of course, the Merc and Bimmer are powered by 2.0-litre turbocharged engines, while the Ghibli is powered by a bigger 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine.
There’s also the more powerful Ghibli S that comes with the same engine, but with 410hp (extra 60hp) and 550Nm of torque (extra 50Nm).
Coupled to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, the engine is capable of sending the rear-wheel drive Ghibli from standstill to 100kph in just 5.7 seconds.
Compared to the conventional German executive sedans that are neat, precise and contain high level of engineering, the Ghibli takes it another level up; added with hallmark Italian sports car glamour.
From the daring, aggressive grille with concave vertical fins inspired by the GranTurismo, angry-looking headlights with LED DRLs, curvy side profiles to the muscular rear haunches, the Ghibli definitely has a strong character.
The sculptured forms are connected by lines that create fluid movement, making the Ghibli appear sleek but forceful.
A set of 19-inch alloy wheels, classy chrome bits around the body and quad exhaust tail pipes further underpin the car’s sportiness.
The Ghibli’s cabin showcases excellent build quality. Similar to the exterior features, the cabin can be personalised to suit the driver’s taste and the personalisation can be individually distinguished for its dashboard, headlining, carpeting, seats, steering wheel and trims.
This particular Ghibli gets an elegant Cuoio seats, dual-tone Nero/Cuoio dashboard, Alcantara-like Grigio headlining and Ebano trims for its door panels and centre console.
The Ghibli is governed by the advanced driver assistance systems (Adac) package, comprising of adaptive cruise control with stop & go, blind spot alert, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with advanced brake assist and automated emergency braking.
With charming sports car DNA behind Maserati’s heritage, the driving ergonomics - crucial in having total control of your machine - is on point with the Ghibli.
The powered-adjustability and lumbar support on the driver’s seat underlines the total brace needed by the driver.
However, I think that the usage of plastic pedals for the throttle, brake and foot rest does not help in keeping up with the car’s elegance in other areas. Aluminium pedals and floor-mounted throttle pedal would greatly help in this aspect.
Elsewhere, I have no complaint for driver’s perspective as the car’s touch surfaces feel plush and tactile, wherever they should.
Seeing the iconic Saetta logo on the steering wheel hub reminds you that you are in a something very special.
Maserati reckons that the exhaust sound is the paramount element of Maserati’s driving experience. Okay, let’s see.
As I turn on the engine, the Ghibli screams beautifully. The exhaust note is very throaty at low end and sounds very raw at higher end.
To be honest, I really thought that the car is naturally-aspirated until I read the technical specs. Kudos to the team in Modena, Italy, for this.
The Maserati Ghibli behaves like every other sedan in traffic. But with its angular headlights, athletic body and gorgeous Blu Emozione exterior colour, the car is definitely a head-turner.
The V6 engine may not rev to sky-high 8,500rpm as redline is about 6,500, but the exhaust note sounds like a slightly muffled F430, especially at the last 1,000 revs before redline.
There’s a subtle, beautiful intake and crackle noises as you press and lift the throttle pedal in gear at high rpm.
Gearshifts are not super-quick, but very swift and rapid.
To unleash the total orchestra, simply press the Sport button where the exhaust note - in addition to throttle response, suspension damping and gear changes - become sportier and more sensitive.
However, the steering wheel is a tad too thick for me, felt at 9- and 3-o’clock position where I place my thumbs. The left-hand light stalk and downshift paddle are also arranged too close to my liking. But that’s about it.
With appearance full of character and amazing details as well as the engine with visceral exhaust note, the Maserati Ghibli has so many things to appreciate.
It certainly is a more special place to be in for daily commute, offering sensational driving experience at your disposal. The Maserati Ghibli is yours for RM618,800 onwards, including a three-year and 60,000km warranty.