The 2014 Maserati Ghibli combines Chrysler 300C dimensions and suspension architectures with Maserati’s experience in GT cars. All Ghibli models have V-6 engines, including Maserati’s first diesel (a modified VM), with either rear wheel drive or on-demand all-wheel drive. The line includes the 330-horsepower Ghibli, the 410-horsepower Ghibli S and S Q4 (“Q4” denotes all wheel drive), and the Ghibli Diesel, which uses a hopped-up version of the VM 3.0 V6 engine found under the hoods of Lancia-Chrysler Themas.
While the Ghibli is of interest to some Mopar buyers and fans for the same reason as Facel Vega, Monteverdi, and other “MoPowered” cars, it may also show the direction of the next generation of large Chrysler and Dodge cars, due around 2017-2020. We believe that these cars will maintain a similar rear suspension, but move to a Ghibli/Quattroporte-style front suspension for a sportier, lighter-feeling ride.
The “V6 only” Ghibli is also an interesting study: Chrysler could choose to have a Dodge with V8 capacity and a Chrysler that is V6-only, saving some weight and space. Dodge was thus be dedicated as the “muscle brand” while Chrysler could remain in its luxury niche, with the Pentastar V6 at around 300 horsepower and perhaps a turbocharged or supercharged V6 pushing power up to 360-380. By then, many expect the Pentastar V6 to have direct injection, which should help power and mileage. There were earlier rumors of a large front wheel drive Chrysler, further differentiating Dodge, but the status of this is unknown.
The Maserati grille is more rectangular and narrow at the top where it meets the LED headlights. The traditional C-pillar and frameless door windows give the sedan the look of a coupe; it has among the longest wheelbase and length in its class.
The generous interior size means it may suffer somewhat in bare-acceleration comparisons to smaller German sport-luxury cars, in the hands of journalists who only care about quarter-mile numbers. However, the roomy interior is likely to be desirable for many buyers.
Wraparound seats enhance the interior’s sporty feel while providing comfort. The stitched soft-leather upholstery has a natural grain and is available for the dashboard and doors also – plain surfaces on which two-tone combinations can be used.
Two side panels on the dashboard converge in the center, drawing in the top section; it has the traditional blue-faced Maserati clock with aluminum details, conveniently placed right where the 300C’s clock would sit. An 8.4-inch Maserati Touch Control display (reportedly based heavily on Chrysler’s UConnect) is in the middle, and a cluster of push buttons on the central tunnel by the gear lever control driver-oriented settings. Astute Allpar readers may have noted that the locations for ducts and controls in the 300C are similar, right down to gauge placement; most likely, Maserati preserved as much of the 300 dashboard as possible to save on tooling and design costs.
An optional stereo developed with Bowers & Wilkins uses fifteen speakers and a 1,280-watt amplifier with the Quantum Logic® surround system.
Ghibli Diesel’s front seats have four lumbar support settings and, in left-hand-drive cars, pedal-height adjustment. Like 300C, the system memorizes two settings, which includes seat, steering wheel, pedal, and external rearview mirror positions. Options include front- and rear-seat heating and seat ventilation, in which the seat’s central sections are finished in perforated leather. Black trim is standard on the central tunnel and door panels. Two wood finishes – polished ebony or open-pore burr walnut – and carbon fiber are optional. Ghibli Diesel and S Q4 have a roof liner finished with Alcantara®, and seat belts are available to match the carpet.
Ghibli uses a three-liter twin-turbo gasoline V-6 engine, built at the Maranello Ferrari plant, which pumps out 330 horsepower (350 in the U.S.) at 5000 rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm; hitting the Sport button gives 369 lb-ft. Zero to 62 mph is 5.7 seconds, and top speed is 163.4 mph. The engine was developed by Maserati, reportedly from the Pentastar V6 (but now unrecognizeable as such), and built by Ferrari. Two intercoolers are mounted low and away from the main radiators.
The car uses the same eight-speed ZF automatic transmission as 300C and many German luxury cars, with software which recognizes driving style and road conditions and adapts the gear-changing mode accordingly. Operating modes, controlled by buttons on the left side of the gear lever, are Auto Normal, Auto Sport, Manual Normal, Manual Sport, and I.C.E. (economy mode). A two-section articulated, perforated driveshaft works with a limited-slip mechanical differential that has an asymmetric-locking function to lock 35% during traction and 45% during release.
The front suspension’s aluminum A-arms are much higher up than on 300C, for better handling, and may be, other than engines and sheet metal, the cars’s biggest single difference from the Chrysler 300C. Like the 300C, though, it has a five-arm multilink system in the rear. (JackRatchett wrote, “Looking at the Ghibli and 300 at a side angle facing the same way, it looks as though there is more length to the fender between the front wheel well opening and the door's edge. I'm thinking that they lengthened the front rails or moved the front suspension forward, giving the front end a longer look. This would also explain why they can say it’s a different platform than 300C [because a platform is a set of dimensions, one of which is length from the front axle to the driver].”)
The optional Skyhook electronic suspension system has continuous damping variation. Pressing a button on the central tunnel stiffens the shocks and reduces load transfer during sporty driving.
The servo-assisted hydraulic steering system is designed to be light and smooth, and has an aluminum steering box. Aluminum was used extensively in the suspension for weight reduction.
The Brembo brakes have dual-cast discs, combining the properties of cast iron with aluminum’s light weight to reduce unsprung mass. Braking power is provided by monobloc calipers, with six pistons in the front and four in the rear, and ventilated, slotted discs (14.2 inches x 1.3 inches in the front; 13.8 inches x 1.1 inches in the rear). Stopping distance is about 118 feet from 62 mph.
The 3-liter V-6 diesel is the first diesel in Maserati’s history, giving 275 horsepower (250 horsepower in Italy) and hitting 62 mph from a stand-still in 6.3 seconds with a 155-mph top speed; it uses a variable-geometry turbo (pioneered in the 1980s/90s by Chrysler). A common-rail injection system reduces noise, improves cold starts, and gives higher torque at low rpm.
The Maserati Active Sound system uses two sound actuators near the exhaust pipes to enhance the engine noise.
Ghibli S’s 3-liter twin-turbo V-6 generates 410 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and reaches 406 lb-ft of torque at just 1,750 rpm. It has a top speed of 177 mph and a zero-to-62-mph time of five seconds. A high-pressure, 200-bar direct-injection system atomizes the fuel directly into the combustion chamber, and with the two continuous phase-timing variators, can advance or delay the intake and exhaust valve timings independently in real time.
In Ghibli S Q4, the turbos are in the exhaust manifolds offer a lightweight, compact exhaust system and includes an air valve system capable of enhancing engine sound. Pressing the Sport button opens the bypass valves, releasing a thrilling and powerful roar. Ghibli S Q4 accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds and has a 176-mph top speed.
The Ghibli S Q4 “on-demand” all-wheel-drive system instantly (150 milliseconds) transfers drive force to the front wheels, up to the point where torque is evenly distributed between the two axles.
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