2019 Maserati Ghibli

2019 Maserati Ghibli Test Drive Review: The Heart Over Head Experience

by Ian Wright

The Ghibli is named after an African desert wind, and Maserati has made sure its mid-size luxury sedan is as hot and swift as its namesake. There are smarter buys to be had in the segment, but a Maserati is designed to appeal to your heart and not your brain. Not only are you buying into the Maserati badge's exclusivity and heritage, but also a Ferrari derived V6 engine that rates as one of the finest on the market. You are also buying into a level of luxury that includes soft close doors and a heated leather steering wheel and seats on the base model. While the 2018 model had some issues we weren't impressed with, changes for 2019 have elevated the Ghibli to levels of day to day usability that see it better rival the likes of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. Still, it's an imperfect beast.

2019 Maserati Ghibli Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2018 Ghibli?

It's a year of discrete updates for the MY19 Ghibli with a few features shuffled about and some changes to the exterior color palette. Adaptive LED headlights are now standard on the GranLusso and GranSport, while there's a newly updated Nerissimo package on the options list, too. Inside, the gearshift lever has been redesigned for improved use, while the leather options have been increased to include Pieno Fiore natural leather. A selection of new exterior colors, wheels, and interior veneer choices round out the annual improvements.

Pros and Cons

  • Sumptuous leathers feel fantastic
  • Characterful V6 engine options
  • Exotic styling
  • Brand cachet out the wazoo
  • Exclusivity comes standard with every Ghibli
  • Some interior pieces feel cheap
  • Lacking the outright performance of rivals
  • No V8
  • Lacking in interior space
  • An exotic badge only gets you so far in life

2019 Maserati Ghibli Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$74,980
S
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$79,980
GranLusso
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$80,980
GranSport
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$80,980
S Q4
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$82,480

Ghibli Exterior

With grown-up rivals like the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, the Ghibli stands out from the crowd, despite the Ghibli approaching six years of age against the much fresher competition. It comes down to iconic Italian styling with the front grille inspired by the A6 GCS Berlinetta of the 50s, or the now-signature triple fender vents. Quad tailpipes also accent the Ghibli's exotic nature, as do standard bi-xenon headlights and LED taillights, with adaptive LED front lighting available on the GranLusso and GranSport trims. 19-inch alloy wheels are standard regardless of trim, but a range of designs is available, while the GranSport gets 20-inch items in Urano design.

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Dimensions

Occupying the luxury midsize segment, the Ghibli comes up against the BMW 5 Series. Riding on a 118-inch wheelbase, the Ghibli measures 195.7 inches long and 83.8 inches wide, making it a little longer than the BMW. It's shorter in height, however, standing just 57.5 inches tall. However, the Ghibli is a hefty machine, with curb weights ranging from 3,990 lbs in base and S forms to 4,123 lbs in S Q4 guise.

  • Length 195.7 in
  • Wheelbase 118.0 in
  • Height 57.5 in
  • Max Width 76.6 in
  • Front Width 64.4 in
  • Rear Width 65.1 in

Exterior Colors

A fine Italian suit needs to be made of fine Italian fabric, or in the case of the Ghibli, it needs the finest Italian colors on offer. However, the ten-strong palette is a little hit or miss, with Nero and Bianco - the two no-cost options - looking the part, while $925 options like Rosso Folgore and Nero Ribelle simply don't. $925 does get you access to a few stylish hues, however, like two Grigio options, plain Grigio and Grigio Maratea, or the sultry blue tones of Blu Passione and Blu Emozione - the latter a personal favorite. If ultimate exclusivity is the order of the day, you can shell out an eye-watering $2,700 for either Blue Nobile or Bianco Alpi. We wouldn't, though.

  • Grigio Metallo
  • Nero Ribelle Mica
  • Blu Emozione Mica
  • Blu Passione Mica
  • Rosso Folgore Mica
  • Bronzo Siena Metallescent
  • Champagne Metallescent
  • Grigio Maratea Metallescent
  • Bianco Alpi Tri-Coat
  • Blue Nobile Tri-Coat
  • Rosso Potente Tri-Coat
  • Grigio
  • Nero
  • Bianco

Ghibli Performance

With no V8 engines available anywhere in the range, delusions of hunting down the finest from AMG and M are quickly put paid to. Instead, a twin-turbo V6 engine available in two states of tune will howl and sing and keep you entertained, all while the Ghibli races from 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds in all-wheel-drive S Q4 form, while the less-powerful base Ghibli will run the same sprint in 5.5 seconds. Opt for the rear-wheel-drive S model and you're in for a sprint time of 4.9 seconds, but the small two-tenth sacrifice is well worth it for the ability to pilot through corners using the throttle to adjust your line. Even the Q4 AWD equipped models will show their rear-bias and stand apart from Audi's dreary and understeery quattro system. Unlike the Germans who adhere to a gentlemen's agreement to limit their car's top speeds to 155 mph, the Italian sedan will run on to 166 mph in base form, while in S guise you'll reach a claimed 178 mph.

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Engine and Transmission

Ghibli connoisseurs get just a single engine under the hood of their luxury Italian sedan, but it's available in two states of tune. The 3.0-liter bi-turbo V6 starts out in base form with outputs of 345 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, which it sends to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the ubiquitous unit sourced from ZF that's seen use in not only a range of FCA products but in Audis and BMWs alike. With the S suffix on the trunk, the engine gets a bump in power to 424 hp and 428 lb-ft, making use of the same eight-speed auto.

If you wanted to paralyze us with choice, you would make us choose between the V6 from the Jaguar F-Type and the one in our Maserati Ghibli S test vehicle. While it lacks the artificial popping and crackling the F-Type delivers, the Ghibli's bi-turbo lump is a relentless and visceral thrill that features an appropriate growl as you put it through its paces. The gearbox is well-tuned to the engine, and you have to really sneak up on it to catch it out when in manual mode. With the Ghibli's performance and behavior, wishes of a V8 can quickly be set aside for all but the most ardent thrill seeker.

The power from the Ghibli's base model still gets things up and running, but the upgraded engine is the one that delivers the thrill we expect from something wearing a Maserati badge. For everyday driving, both engines are smooth and refined and make the Ghibli feel lighter than it is when propelling the car around town.

  • Engine
    3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

One of the hardest things for an automaker to do is give a large and heavy sedan the nimble and precise handling characteristics that can define it as sporty. The Ghibli is not light and clocks in at just above or below 4,000 lbs depending on specs. Balance is the key, and the Ghibli is as close to perfect as we could expect in that sense. Steering is precise and has a reassuring amount of heft to it, although it feels a little rubbery when making adjustments or longer corners on the freeway.

Throttle delivery is buttery smooth, even when you slip into Sport mode, and everything sharpens up. The transition from comfort into Sport is noticeable, and the car feels like it's tensing up to go, but it's not jarring, and both modes suit the car thoroughly for their intentions. The automatic rev-shift feature isn't quite as smooth as we would like but does the job well.

The one criticism we can find is in the suspension, which can let you know you're on a rougher road, but at freeway speed, the damping soaks everything up well. Overall, it's on the stiffer side as you would expect, but doesn't punish you for that in general. Off the freeway and into a windy road, the Ghibli is planted and athletic. The balanced chassis then comes into its own and exhibits no urge to either understeer or oversteer unless you push for either trait, and you have to push hard to reach the limits of grip.

Ghibli Gas Mileage

It doesn't matter which power output you opt for, or in fact which drivetrain you select on your Ghibli, as according to the EPA, all configurations return the same 19 mpg combined figure. However, in base form, the Ghibli offers slightly better city mileage with 17/24 mpg city/highway figures compared to the Ghibli S's 16/24 mpg estimates. The 21.1-gallon fuel tank is expensive to fill up, more so when you consider it requires premium gasoline. However, this sees it achieving an estimated 400 miles between pit stops.

Cruising around, we found the EPA targets to be on the nose, but towards the end of the week with our test car, we found that getting around town and then having fun on our local mountain roads got expensive quick. But, it's a Maserati, and we don't expect the word 'economy' to have been highlighted in red ink on the design brief.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    21.1 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 17/24 mpg
* 2019 Maserati Ghibli Base 3.0L

Ghibli Interior

As has been the standard since Maserati joined the FCA umbrella, the interior of the luxury sedan is a mix of fine Italian materials like sumptuous leathers and genuine wood veneers, but its offset by cheap and scratchy plastics and switchgear that wouldn't be out of place in a Jeep Renegade, probably because that's exactly where some of the switchgear comes from. Build quality isn't exemplary, and neither is interior space, with only four seated comfortably and still lacking the space to stretch out that you'd find in a rival BMW or Mercedes-Benz. The seats are supportive, though, and there's a wealth of features to make you feel like you've made it in life, with soft-close doors and power-front seats equipped as standard fare.

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Seating and Interior Space

While the Ghibli is a premium midsize sedan, it's not quite a car you can stretch out in. Legroom is decent for four full-size adults, though, and seating is as comfortable and opulent as it should be. If you need to seat five on a regular basis, look elsewhere, but for short to mid-range journeys, a couple of passengers will be quite happy to relax. The front seats are great, however, with loads of comfort, supple leather, and on sportier trims, additional bolstering to keep you in place while cornering. There isn't the same range of adjustment as German rivals, but finding an ideal position from which to pilot the Ghibli is still a relatively easy affair.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The leather seats in the Ghibli are some of the best we've sat in, and the leather itself is truly excellent, as is the wood used for trim. We particularly like how Maserati is working with silk, as well as different textures and weaves for the seat inserts. However, that also serves to highlight the cheaper plastic used elsewhere.

We can, however, forgive the use of FCA switchgear as it doesn't look out of place, and the quality is decent enough despite not having the hefty feel of switches and dials from some of the Ghibli's contemporaries. What we appreciated, though, was details like the thick layered acoustic dampening glass in the windows you certainly don't find in your average Jeep. Unfortunately, you will find some of the final fit and finish quality lacking.

Ghibli Trunk and Cargo Space

Despite the interior not being quite as accommodating of larger folk as rival sedans, the Ghibli makes good on practicality, providing 17.7 cubic feet of trunk space compared to the E-Class's 13.1, although a 5 Series beats them both with 18.7. But despite the figure seeming large, the Ghibli's trunk is shallow and it's awkward to load larger items, although two large suitcases will still fit suitably.

It's a way off its rivals when it comes to interior storage though, with a couple of cupholders up front and some mid-sized storage bins in the center console. The only saving grace is relatively large door pockets. On the S models, the center front armrest features an air-conditioned storage box.

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2019 Maserati Ghibli Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz
2019 Maserati Ghibli Window Controls CarBuzz
  • Trunk Volume
    17.7 ft³

Ghibli Infotainment and Features

Features

Tacky switchgear aside, each Ghibli is well-kitted with a number of luxurious features to make you feel right at home. Keyless entry, push-button start, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, a rearview camera, and automatic headlights are all standard, as are an auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless trunk access, front and rear park sensors, and heated 12-way power-adjustable front seats. S models get two-position driver memory, an air-conditioned front storage box, and a power sunroof as standard. Ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and adaptive LED headlights are all standard when you up-spec to the GranLusso trim, while the GranSport gets adaptive damping suspension. Meanwhile, the options list gives you access to heated rear seats and a power rear sunblind. Driver assistance is present in the form of standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, while there's also optional lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Infotainment

The 8.5-inch touchscreen featured on the Ghibli's dash is also from the FCA family of vehicles, but that's definitely not a bad thing. It's reactive and smooth, and the large surface area also helps make common commands easy to tap on the road. It's well-equipped as well, boasting Android Auro/Apple CarPlay functionality as well as Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio integration, and navigation with SiriusXM Travel Link. We had the pleasure of experiencing the optional 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system that will satisfy all but the most demanding of audiophiles, but if you prefer the sound of the Ferrari-derived V6, then stick with the standard ten-speaker Harman Kardon sound system that still delivers 900 watts of punch.

Ghibli Problems and Reliability

There's good news for potential Ghibli buyers, as the model hasn't been recalled for 2019, although in 2018 there was one recall for a potential fire as a result of a fuel leak. Still, this is an improvement on the five recalls for 2017, showing that the Ghibli has become better as the years have gone by. Maserati covers the Ghibli with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, with equal coverage for the powertrain and roadside assistance.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

Ghibli Safety

The NHTSA is yet to test the Ghibli. However, the IIHS has partially evaluated the Italian sedan, where it scored best available remarks of Good in the four crashworthiness tests it was subjected to.

Key Safety Features

Despite the safety scores not really reflecting it, the Ghibli is kitted with an abundance of safety features. These include an ultra-strong structure, no fewer than seven airbags including a driver's knee airbag, ABS, EBD, stability and traction controls, and a suite of active safety systems comprising semi-autonomous highway driving, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and the availability of a surround-view camera in place of the standard rearview monitor.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2019 Maserati Ghibli a good car?

The Maserati Ghibli is a superb car, both as a whole and if it's a Maserati you want. It has its faults, but none of them are in performance or experience. It's also a head-turner and seriously fun to drive, but we can't help but feel it's one for those that particularly want that trident badge and the attention it garners. While the all-round performance is excellent and deserving of that Maserati badge, those looking for the best in driving dynamics in a mid-size luxury sedan should also cross-shop the BMW M5 or Mercedes-AMG E63. For those looking for an opulent interior and a sleek but luxurious ride, the Mercedes E-Class is also just the ticket. However, the Maserati Ghibli is a clear contender as a more emotionally driven and nuanced choice.

🚘What's the Price of the 2019 Maserati Ghibli?

Maserati divides their Ghibli line-up into three bases 'models' each available in three 'trims'. The cheapest of all configurations is the base Ghibli, which carries an MSRP of $75,480 before options and a $1,495 destination charge. Next up in the base Ghibli line-up is the GranLusso at $81,980 with the Ghibli GranSport priced the same. The Ghibli S starts at $80,480, climbing to $86,280 for the GranLusso and GranSport versions of the Ghibli S while adding Q4 AWD to any of the S-badged models increases the priced by $2,500. The Ghibli is fairly expensive, however, as a comparable Mercedes-Benz E450 starts at around $61,000 while the Ghibli S-rivaling AMG E53 starts at less than $73,000.

2019 Maserati Ghibli Models

A total of nine configurations can be selected from the Ghibli lineup, with three mechanical models to select from, each paired with what Maserati touts as a trim. Ghibli, Ghibli S, and Ghibli S Q4 make up the basic selection, but each can be had in base format or in either the GranLusso or GranSport guises. A 3.0-liter bi-turbo V6 powers all models, but in standard Ghibli guise it produces 345 hp, while in S guise it produces 424 hp. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard.

The base 'trim' is equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, 12-way heated leather seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, a rearview camera, and an 8.4-inch infotainment screen with AM/FM radio, navigation, and eight speakers. The system boasts full Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration.

The GranSport trim focuses on performance, making do with much the same equipment, but adding 20-inch Urano alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, adaptive damping performance suspension, front sports seats, red-painted brake calipers, a ten-speaker Harman Kardon infotainment system, and upgraded safety in the form of adaptive cruise control and a surround-view camera.

The GanLusso gets these same upgrades but reverts back to the standard suspension, wheels, and seating. Instead, it adds chrome exterior detailing, perforated premium leather upholstery with ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

See All 2019 Maserati Ghibli Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

While the standard specification isn't exactly lacking, you can improve the offering by means of a few select packages or standalone options. The $550 Climate Package is worthwhile for the heated rear seats and a power rear sunblind, while on the base model, worthwhile standalones include the $990 adaptive LED matrix headlights from the GranLusso and GranSport models and the $590 soft-close door option. Also available is a $1,890 Nerissimo Package, with blacked-out exterior styling including darkened taillights, exhausts, and headlights.

From the GranLusso you can spec power-adjustable pedals for $400, while the GranSport gets access to a handful of exclusive packages and options. The $2,990 Full Carbon Fiber Kit gives you woven carbon mirror caps, door handles, and front bumper profiling, while for $2,570 you can give the interior the carbon fiber treatment as well with carbon fiber paddle-shifters, door sills, trim inserts, and a heated leather steering wheel.

🚗What Maserati Ghibli Model Should I Buy?

There's no way anyone with an enthusiast's heart would go for anything less than the Ghibli S and its much more insistent power. For those that want to take their driving seriously, the performance focussed GranSport is the way to go, but, either way, you're buying a four-door car for a reason. For that reason, we would recommend the Climate Package to make sure your passengers are as impressed as they are comfortable, and the 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system for the same reason.

2019 Maserati Ghibli Comparisons

Maserati Quattroporte Maserati
Audi A7 Sportback Audi
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Maserati Ghibli345 hp17/24 mpg$69,490
Maserati Quattroporte 424 hp17/24 mpg$99,490
Audi A7 Sportback 335 hp22/29 mpg$69,000

2019 Maserati Ghibli vs Maserati Quattroporte

While the Ghibli is classified as a midsize luxury sedan, buyers may be drawn to the full-size Maserati Quattroporte, even if it does ask a $30,000 price premium over its little brother. For the money, you get an extra 10 inches of car, however, with the bulk of that dedicated to the comfort of the rear passengers. You get the same V6 as found in the Ghibli in 424 hp tune, but you also have the option of equipping a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine in GTS guise, giving the Italian sedan a deserving exhaust note along with 523 hp and 524 lb-ft. The two are much the same in terms of available features, so the choice ultimately comes down to what you need your Maserati for. If it's S-Class rivaling luxury, then nothing short of the Quattroporte will do, but if you like being the driver and not being driven, the Ghibli is the better buy. All it's missing is a V8.

See Maserati Quattroporte Review

2019 Maserati Ghibli vs Audi A7 Sportback

The price of Italian exclusivity is a mere $6,980 when it comes to choosing one over an Audi A7. But that might not always be the best option. At a base level, both are equipped with twin-turbo V6 engines measuring 3.0-liters in displacement, and both develop around 335-345 hp. The Ghibli has a stronger variant, however, with up to 424 hp on tap, outgunning the A7 entirely. But the A7 is vastly more practical, with more usable interior space, a liftback design affording it more than seven cubic feet of extra trunk space, and a more modern interior that feels of a higher quality consistently, unlike the hit-and-miss Ghibli. The Audi also has a more intuitive infotainment interface, more tech, and more safety features. But where it can't match the Ghibli is on character; the Ghibli is more fun to drive, sounds more soulful, and will make you smile. If that's the kind of car you like, the Ghibli will impress, but objectively speaking, the A7 is a better luxury midsize offering.

See Audi A7 Sportback Review

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$74,980 - $87,780
Price Range (MSRP)
Maserati Ghibli