Both are built by FCA, have four doors, turbo V6 engines and similar price tags.
Let's play a fun game of "Name That Car." We'll give you a few hints. The car we are thinking of is from an Italian brand, has four doors and a twin-turbo V6 engine, its parent company is FCA and costs between $70,000 to $80,000. If you said the Maserati Ghibli, you were right. If you said the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, you were also right. This made us think: What's the difference between these two cars? On paper they appear to be very similar, but what does really set these cars apart other than their Italian badges?
Let's start with the most important thing, the price. Here the base Giulia holds the advantage over the Ghibli because it starts at just $37,995 for the 2.0-liter version with 280 hp. However, since the base Ghibli starts at $71,600 with the 345 hp version of the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, this wouldn't be a fair comparison. Instead, we wanted to compare the Ghibli to the flagship Giulia Quadrifolgio which begins at $72,000 and comes with a 505 hp 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6. This means that for just $400 more than a base Ghibli, you could have the far more powerful Giulia QV. In the performance category, the Alfa has the Maserati licked with a 3.6 second 0-60 sprint compared to 5.5 seconds with the Maserati.
The comparison does get a little closer when comparing the Giulia QV to the more powerful Ghibli S which has 404 hp. The Ghibli S can hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, which still trails the Giulia by a pretty large margin. Perhaps the Maserati can gain some ground in the luxury category? The Ghibli is 13 inches longer than the Giulia and nine inches wider. It also has a wheelbase that is seven inches longer than the Giulia, which should provide more space on the inside. The Ghibli is supposed to be a competitor to the mid-sized cars from Germany like the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. However, we did some digging and found that the Ghibli actually has less front and rear legroom than the "smaller" Audi A4.
So far, we have established that the Maserati Ghibli doesn't really deliver on its price tag in the categories of performance or luxury, but it should be able to show its worth in prestige. The Maserati trident was once the shining beacon of Italian style and comfort that stood just below the prancing horse of Ferrari. Maserati was just that, a sort of "baby Ferrari." This trend is continued today with the Ghibli and Quattroporte that are both basically "four-door Ferraris." However, recent tests of the Giulia QV have drawn a lot of comparisons to the idea of the "four-door Ferrari" moniker, and we think that FCA accidentally gave all of Maserati's former pedigree to Alfa Romeo with the Giulia QV.
The term "pedigree" gets tossed around a lot in the automotive world, and the dictionary definition says that it is "the recorded ancestry, especially upper-class ancestry, of a person or family" or "the the record of descent of an animal, showing it to be purebred." This may sound irrelevant, but in the car world, pedigree is used to say that a car is built by a company with experience in racing or building exceptional cars, not heaps of junk. In the case of these two cars, Alfa Romeo and Maserati have both have checkered pasts, so we need to just focus on the current Giulia and Ghibli. Both cars have twin-turbo V6 engines with "Ferrari influence" that are around the same size, but they are not the same engine.
The Ghibli has a Ferrari F160 engine that is a 3.0-liter (2,979 cc) V6 with a turbocharger for each cylinder bank. Maserati likes to stress the Modena connection, and the engine is indeed designed and assembled by Ferrari. However, the block is based on the Chrysler Pentastar V6 and is machined (to Ferrari's specifications) at Chrysler's Kokomo, Indiana and Trenton Engine Plants. While the Ghibli's engine does sound very nice under full throttle, the Chrysler origins don't exactly scream pedigree. The Giulia's Ferrari F154 engine is a very different story. Unlike the Ghibli's F160 engine, which is only used in Maserati products, different versions of the F154 are used in several Ferrari cars.
In fact, the F154 is used in the California T, Quattroporte GTS, 488 GTB and GTC4Lusso T with some differences. The Giulia QV's 2.9-liter (2,891 cc) V6 version shares the same stroke and bore as the California T and has been affectionately called "the Ferrari V8 with two cylinders lobbed off." Maserati is said to be working on a V8 engine with over 500 hp that will be based on the F154 engine, but until that happens we think that the Giulia could steal a lot of thunder from its corporate cousin. The Maserati has the more upscale badge, but the Giulia QV has a lot more going for it, overall. We hope that Alfa Romeo is here to stay in the US, because its first model has already made us fall in love.