This is a long post and will likely be unpopular, don't respond if you will not give me the courtesy of reading it through.
Let me start by saying I really wanted to love the Ghibli, and for a while, I did. But then reality took over and I purchased a 2015 BMW 650i Gran Coupe xDrive, fully loaded. MSRP 117, negotiated down to 107. After seeing the Superbowl ad, I feel as if I dodged a bullet.
After a deer totaled my daily driver last November, I was in the market for a sporty coupe/sedan. My car enthusiast buddy told me about the “dirt cheap Maserati” and I went to a dealership to take a look.
At the time, I was still in shock that a Maserati is cheaper than all the other “normal
” cars I was looking at (CLS 63, RS7, 650xi GC) and that I might actually purchase an Italian exotic car! I didn’t notice the simplistic interior, the Chrysler platform, the plastic switch gear, the ancient infotainment system, the poor line acceleration, or any of the other issues I later found. But I was mesmerized by the trident badge and that I
might actually own one. I priced out a fully loaded Ghibli S Q4 with a Dealer (roughly 107k), did some preliminary negotiations (5k off), then started shopping around at other dealers preparing to play them off each other.
Around the same time, I started my due diligence. I've owned Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and I know what goes into their upkeep and ownership. I've never owned a Maserati, nor any Italian car for that matter. So I sat down and began familiarizing myself with the Ghibli and Maserati in general. I've read every
post on Ghibli forums. I have also read many posts on maseratilife, scoured the net for reviews, as well as picking the minds of all my car enthusiast friends (I know several). I soaked up information like a sponge. To put it mildly, the general consensus is Maserati have their issues. A Maserati enthusiast would call this “quirky”, “idiosyncratic”, “spirited”, “unique”. While someone more cynical (honest?) would call this "unreliable", “DOA”, “defective”, or “demonstrating poor quality control”.
You can chalk it up to it being a first generation model, yet I don’t think anyone can say with a straight face that even Maserati’s mature platforms are reliable to the same degree as German or Japanese cars. The common argument is, “You should know this going into an Italian car purchase” But the counter to this argument is, Maserati is clearly inviting drivers to use Ghibli (and the new Quattroporte) as a daily driver car. If not, why give it the daily driver treatment? Such as AWD, 4 doors, low price, mainstream advertising, etc. A car meant to be driven only on the weekends can be afforded some latitude, but a daily driver car will experience considerable use and wear and NEEDS to be reliable for many tens of thousands of miles. Taking it to the shop every month to fix the bug-of-the-day is not
For anyone that says there aren't that many people with issues, as they say in retail, for every person that complains, there are 10 others that don't. Just look at these very boards and count the number of threads discussing one issue or another. Then look at a German or Japanese car board and contrast. There are significantly more on the Maserati side. Is this a scientifically rigorous study? Of course not. But it's telling... One user even made a thread inviting others to post about their "good ones". Sadly, even that
thread has devolved into people discussing the issues with their Ghiblis.
So after reading all the stories about the laundry list of broken items, many of which posted on this very forum. This got me to thinking. I priced out a car at 102K, what am I actually paying for? Why do I want this car?
I took an honest look one night, put my emotions aside, and wrote it down. The 650i GC was my second choice, so I compared it to that.
- Performance - BMW wins. Faster acceleration and more powerful engine. Also 4.4L vs 3.0.
- Internal Aesthetics - Subjective. Yet I feel most would side with BMW. The 6 series interior is simply stunning, especially with the Individual option leather and trim.
- External Aesthetics- Also subjective. I think it’s a toss up. Although, I’d side with BMW if forced at gunpoint.
- Technology- BMW wins by a landslide. I think this one particularly hit home. Even a base 650i has more gadgetry than a fully loaded Ghibli. A base 650i gives me a nice sound system, heads up display, a state-of-the-art navigation system, and countless safety techs like active blind spot detection, all while being $10k cheaper. Ghibli gives me a reskinned UConnect... A fully loaded 650i completely shuts out the Ghibli, it’s not even fair or worthwhile to compare the two.
- Handling- I have a feeling most proponents of the Ghibli would point to the handling as its strong point. And aside from the poor line acceleration, yes it was unreservedly fun to drive. The exhaust was loud and some boy-racer tried to race me during the test drive. I got a hearty laugh out of that one. But I’ve also test drove a 650i GC, and while they’re not as loud, I assure you they’re fun. The m-sport exhaust, now standard on all 2015 650i models, has a nice sound as well. YouTube it.
- Brand Image- I saved this one for last, because I really wanted to get into it.
Arguably the best argument Maserati has going for the Ghibli is their own reputation. We all know how many cars Maserati sells in a year in the US. This incredible scarcity, along with its Italian roots (borrowing brand equity from Ferrari), is in my opinion why Maserati has such a great public image. If you asked me before I learned of the Ghibli to describe Maserati cars, I would've called them expensive exotic Italian cars. While they’re not super high performance like Ferrari or Lambos, I would've likened to the Aston Martins and assumed they were priced similarly as well. Even though I live near NYC, and I drive a lot, I only see maybe 1-3 Maseratis a year. Seeing one was an event
But here’s the issue with having a car at base 65,000 with a pitiful list of standard features. That image of exclusivity, high-end Italian exotic car, unobtainable luxury… will disappear
… Sure you have it right now. But once it becomes more widely known that Maseratis are “only 65,000”, once you start seeing more and more of them on the road, once all the technical problems hits mainstream consciousness, this advantage will evaporate. Another member, rsm, posted a comment on another thread I thought was well-phrased: “For now we are partway through eating our cake and digesting the first few bites; for a fleeting moment we have it both ways... savor the cake my friend.”
Savor the cake indeed. I wondered to myself if the impeccable Maserati brand image would outlast a 3 year lease. Lease the Maser, enjoy it while it lasts, return it right as the brand's veneer fades. After seeing the Super Bowl ad, I’m glad I didn't risk it. That ad only served to accelerate the knowledge that it’s “only 65,000”. And once poorly equipped base cars flood the road (the base doesn't even have bluetooth!), and start breaking down every other week. Well, it won’t be long then before Maserati gets a stupid acronym like Fiat or Ford does ("Fix it again Tony, ha ha ha....."). My neighbor got a Maserati, and someone down the street also has one. What was once an "event" to see a Maserati on the road is now quickly approaching ordinary. I saw a Ghibli the this week on the highway, I wondered what mechanical or electrical issues it has, maybe he was driving to his dealer to put it in for service.
I know I'll be very happy with my 650i. My dealer estimates I’ll get it in May. I ordered it with every option possible and also with Individual color options, moonstone metallic exterior and platinum upholstery with redwood trim and black alacantara headliner. While I won’t get the loud exhaust and the brand image, I will get a more powerful engine, a much more
reliable car, and more tech features than I can list. I also greatly prefer the 650's interior. Maserati’s greatest asset, its brand image, is fleeting. And in a few years, after the luster fades, I would've been left with an unreliable car with poor line acceleration and little in the way of modern tech and convenience features.
Well that’s all I have to say. I’m sure many of you are just aching to straighten me out. So, by all means, fire away. But this write-up isn't for those that already bought the car. I really do hope you're happy with your purchase, I mean you no ill will. This long-winded post is for those who are like how I was, blinded by the trident and in need of a cold shower.