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On the road​: 2014 Maserati Ghibli S Q4: CNET On Cars

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CNET On Cars: On the road​: 2014 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

7:34 /

Maserati's latest Ghibli marks a resurgence for the carmaker from being a rather obscure little cousin of Ferrari to a full-blown competitor to BMW, Audi, and Mercedes on the high end. Brian Cooley takes the third-generation Maserati Ghibli out for a test drive and checks the tech.

Driving the Ghibli is not so much a question of how fast is it. But how fast does it feel. Last time we had a Maserati, we had in the Gran Turismo, and I was absolutely smitten. Even then, its cabin technology, its [INAUDIBLE] and its responsiveness were all super strong. Let's see if the Ghibli can match up. Let's face it, if you wanna sell a really big volume in the car biz these days, you're doing it with four doors. Look at a BMW 6 Grand Coupe. Look at a Panamera or a Cayenne. And now, look at Maserati. For the first time ever, they have two, four doors, in the lineup at once. [MUSIC] The Ghibli is the latest. [MUSIC] Now inside the Ghibli, you'll find a nice Maserati interior. They've always had a real, sort of a distinctive design, and a real sense of taste. It is of a lower scale, than their upper range cars, that are absolutely sumptuous. This one is more like very nice. Dominated by, as you can see, two LCD screens. A slightly smaller, but ample one, here between the gauges, and the big boy, this 8.4 inch, center stacked unit. Now unless you review cars all the time like I do, you may not notice this as a buyer. But there is that day in the Maserati's owner life, when they're gonna drive to the airport in their Ghibli. Fly down to a business meeting, pick up their Dodge Dart Rent-A-Car, and see the same stuff. That's a black day in their calendar. The sharing though, is just a little awkward, especially in a brand of this prestige. Everything works well, touch response on this particular implementation as well, is very quick. Big buttons and fast response, I like that. 235 Second Street, San Francisco, California. Voice command is also quite good, they give you lots of prompts on the screen, so you know what you can say, without memorizing things. And it let's you dictate addresses in one go, not piece by piece, I like that as well. It's only painful once in a while when the Garmin nav is full screen giving you directions, and it looks a little cartoony, in this car, that's jarring. There are three audio systems available on this car. We have the full deal, we've got the Bowers and Wilkins. 15 speaker, 1280 watt monster. Now, I always check a sound system to see what it does to make mediocre sources sound good, like highly compressed satellite radio. This one doesn't wow me in that respect. Feed it a good source, like a high bit rate file here on that SD card, really comes alive. Up here, behind the mirror, you may have noticed cameras looking forward. This one is part of an intelligent high beam systems. It can go into a high beam mode, automatically ducking. You can also set it to go manual, like a normal car. There's a town beam mode, which is. Kinda like a smarter in town low beam, for customers who live on the continent, and cross the channel a lot, this car will figure out what side of the road you're driving, and curve the lights appropriately. Of course as in almost every Italian car we review, there are little quirks that make it Italian. These knobs for volume, and tuning, very important. They aren't illuminated. At night, they're gone. This shifter is so persnickity, and such a slight movement, I defy you to put this car in reverse, accurately three times in a row. And you're best advised to put your cds in while you're driving, because when you're in park, you almost can't get the disk in there. In all, we've got a fairly high functioning cabin with a few quirks, and a really nice sense of style. [MUSIC] Charlie is in the front there, means, set the seat belts comfortable. He's six feet tall very, normal height and, I just can't sit behind him. I'll try to close the door. Which is a shame, because the headroom's phenomenal back here. And the trunk is huge, but this is the problem. [MUSIC] Now the biggest bragging right to any Maserati is under the hood, if you're into engines, because you can pretty credibly say, it's got a Ferrari engine. It's a Maserati design, but it is built by Ferrari on the [INAUDIBLE] line. So, it's got some real pedigree. This one, is three liter V6. True twin turbo, not a two stage single turbo, so there's one for each bank on this car. Direct injection, highly variable cam timing, pretty much all the modern tricks are in here. Some numbers. 410 horsepower. 405 foot pounds of torque. Zero to 60 happens in 4.7 seconds, for a car that weighs over 4,100 pounds. It gets pretty good MPG of 15/25, and all that doing eight speed automatic on all Ghiblis, no matter which trim one you get. Because we have a Q4 all wheel drive. We of course have all four wheels driven on demand. That means the rear does all the work normally, but when the car needs traction because of the slip, or for performance. They can call in the front wheels, and get almost a perfect split of traction across the two. Speaking of perfect splits by the way, this car's weight on the ground, is a perfect 50-50. That's a pretty good accomplishment. Yep. Got a crick in my back, standing kinda funny. It's cuz I got the Maserati key on the right side. Oh, this is the biggest, heaviest key yet. Maserati says it's okay. It fits in a purse, and you'll never have to use it, cuz it's all keyless. Well, it's pushing a quarter pound that thing. Compared to an iPhone. It's just about the same league, that's huge. [MUSIC] It's interesting, driving the Ghibli it's, quite quick. [MUSIC] But how fast does it feel, and how fast does it sound. They've spent a lot of time laboring over the exhaust note in this car. Give it a listen. This engine is incredibly smooth. Audi like to be honest. That's the first thing that came to mind. [MUSIC] Shifts are quick. Especially when you engage two things here. M for manual mode, that's a toggle between manual and automatic. And S for sport mode, also a toggle. Engage them both, and you have your sharpest possible Ghibli. [MUSIC] Now of course we've got a turbo V6 instead of a larger V8. What we're looking at here is a car that has very limited turbo lag, but it does have turbo motor feel. It's not got that immediate kick or grunt. What it does do though, is breath amazingly well. Once you get to about 2,500, wow, there's just no end to the lungs on this car. But that super low, bottom end umph. That has definitely got a little delay around it. [MUSIC] Now, we started our little odyssey with a Ghibli I said cheaper. And that's because, that's what it is. We're starting about $77,000 based on this car. Then, you start to add the CNet style toys. The premium setup is $1,800 for power movable pedals, remote start, rain sensor for the wipers, and parking sensors. The biggest thing on the list though, is Bowers and Wilkins Audio, at over $5000. I was impressed, not sure I was that impressed. A power sun shade is 670. A hotspot, although I wouldn't get it, is 720. The Skyhook adaptive suspension's a little over three grand. And if you're gonna splurge on B&W Audio, you may as well kick in another 1,200, to get laminated sound deadening glass, down the sides of the car, to match that, that's in the windshield base. Now we are about 89,500 all in. Still comfortably below 100, CNET style, and comfortably differentiated, in the Maserati lineup.

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