Why I didn't buy a Ghibli - Maserati Ghibli Forum
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post #1 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Why I didn't buy a Ghibli

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 acceptable.

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.
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post #2 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:27 PM
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I actually think your post is well written. I bought the SQ4, paid 90k after discount, and I'll be the first to admit that I bought it 100% because it's something unique on the road that I don't feel like a Grandpa driving, for now. As soon as it loses that luster you can be assured I'll be turning it in...
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2014 Maserati Ghibli S Q4: Blu Emozione/Nero
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post #3 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 12:13 AM
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Yeah, I kind of agree with all the ads and low starting MSRP affecting brand's image. This is why I posted in other threads arguing Maserati needs to get rid of the base car because if not, they will definitely loose those car enthusiasts customers in few years.
However I kind of disagree with your "Well, it won’t be long then before Maserati gets a stupid acronym like Fiat or Ford does" statement. Base price starting at 67k + 1.35k handling makes it above 68k. At this starting price, it's not going to be as Ford nor Fiat. It will maintain its exclusivity above Porsche. I think Maserati will at least keep it's exclusivity at some level until of course they start releasing cheap cars like Cayman or Boxter.
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post #4 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 12:20 AM
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honestly good feedback but who takes their time writing such a detailed post on the choice they made on vehicle. WHO SENT YOU? lol nice marketing for BMW if you asked me.
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post #5 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 12:37 AM
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Time will tell. It's easy to criticize the ghibli now. I have nothing against BMW -- I have 540I m package. 3 years shall pass....the BMW will be the next honda accord. If the mas becomes as common as the BMW I will still take it over the next 'Honda accord'
Taste is subjective. I bought the 540i just in time to escape the bangle butt. Sorry...three years shall pass...and there will be millions more bangle butts on the roads....1 series 2 3 4 5 6 7....all are great cars but ones that share bangle butts..... I can't live with one.
Congrats on your 650 purchase. As a BMW owner myself I have good wishes for you
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post #6 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 12:51 AM
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While I agree about many of your points, and given that you've read every post on this forum, I'm sure I've contributed somewhat into your decision by posting some critical things about the Ghibli. There are certain points in your review, IMO, that are less objective than others and primarily support your decision to buy a BMW GC and not the Ghibli.

So your chief concerns can be broken down into 3 bullets points, which I will address:

1) Ghibli is only exclusive because of other high end Maseratis and once its numbers increase in general population it will no longer be exclusive - even attainable by an average Joe and will lose its prestige. Also the base model can be had for 65000 and the proliferation of bare bones Maseratis will hurt the image as well.

Couldn't disagree more on this. There are plenty of examples of proclamations that introducing a Porsche Cayenne into the line up, Porsche would diminish the worth of their brand by introducing a model everyone can afford. This never happened. Secondly you are forgetting that Maserati already had an affordable offering - the GT Spyder - back in a day. It also, once could be had for roughly about the same price of a Ghibli nowadays. It never tarnished the brand. Thirdly, even if Maserati succeeds in selling the numbers they are targeting you are still talking about a VERY exclusive club of Maserati owners. Between BMW/MERC/Audi which number in the MILLIONS of sold cars per year, Maserati's goal is to sell 50,000 units (at least 70% of which will be Ghiblis) by 2015. Pales in comparison to the Germans. You are still talking about 1 Ghibli for every 10 BMW 5/6 series you see on the road. I'd say that's exclusive enough for most people.

Furthermore the base model cannot be had for 65000. By the time you option out a Base model, it will be in the 80 range. Maserati also enforces their recommended builds somewhat - its practically impossible to order a bare bones Ghibli. So seeing a bluetoothless Ghibli is going to be hard to find.

And to put the nail in the coffin here: you cannot possibly tell me that you seek any kind of prestige when buying a BMW - because with the introduction of sub 30K bmws the 1-series and the 2-series puts you in the ownership club with college students. They also drive a BMW- ;-)

2) Electronics are not up to par to bmw

This is true. But lets be honest, you are comparing a 107K BMW against a 80k something Ghibli (your 107 K Maser is not the typical Ghibli Sq4 Build). The difference is 20 grand. For 20 Grand, I can dine in the most expensive restaurants in Chicago 60 times - that's every weekend for a year, and my Ghibli will be parked in front every time while your GC will be safely valeted to the back parking lot (more on that later). I don't think that BMW electronics are worth the extra 20k

3) BMWs are much more reliable than a Ghibli....

Wow you really opened up a can of warms here. I've owned 3 generations of 5 series, 5 different models (hence my screen name vue-M5), and I can tell you with confidence one thing BMW cannot pride itself in is reliability. I've had good and bad experiences. My good experiences were mostly with M built cars, because they are paid much closer attention to than the run off the mill 5 series. I've had so many issues with my other non M bimmers in the past 15 years of ownership that I cannot see how someone can even mention the word reliability and BMW in one sentence. If you want ultimate reliability go with a Lexus. You cannot possibly say that BMW is more reliable at this point because there is really no long term proof that Maserati has built an unreliable car. The small quirks that we find with it right now are first year model problems - and first year problems are not exclusive to Maserati. Do I need to remind you what happened with BMW I-Drive when it was first introduced in 2001 on a 7 series? It had more problems then one can shake a stick at. BMW was offering courses on how to use the I-Drive because it was so un-user friendly and quirky. Or about the countless issues introduced in the original X5s that were built in South Carolina as opposed to Germany - those cars were falling apart. BMW has had its share of issues with new cars as well - and this is normal. Even the e60 M5 when first introduced in 2006 - had a bunch of issues with Carbon build up, Vanos and so fourth. First model year cars have issues.

And last but not least I have to disagree with you on aesthetics and curb appeal. The GC is a nice looking car - but it looks just like any other nice looking german sedan. It doesn't stand out in any way from the CLS, or the A7. Where I live there are countless A,CLSs and BMWs at every corner. It's nice to have something that looks (and sounds) different.

The Maserati undoubtedly wins in the curb appeal dept. I've had a guy get up from his table when I walked into a restaurant and start up a conversation about my SQ4 that was left upfront by the valet - just a random guy who was very curious to find out about the new Maserati - curious enough where when he saw the valet park my car, he got up from his table walk across the entire restaurant to the reception area and start talking about my car with me for about 5 minutes.

I've had valet guys who park 100s of cars a night, ask me about the car and it's always left up front. Same guys would take Panameras, 2014 S Class, A7s and park them down in the back lot, while the Ghibli was left upfront.

You won't get this kind of treatment with your 650 despite all the undisputed better attributes of that car (acceleration, electronics etc). And in combination with the fact that I paid exactly 23K less then you paid for your 650 I would say this makes the Maserati an unquestionably better deal for me.

Last edited by vuem5; 02-20-2014 at 12:55 AM.
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post #7 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 01:11 AM
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I'll reckon the only reason anyone would go through the trouble to write such a lengthy and thoughtful commentary on why he chose not to buy a car is to mollify the unsettled feeling he has for not buying it.

I have no regrets when I open my garage door and my Maserati S Q4 stares back at me...
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Last edited by rsm; 02-20-2014 at 01:14 AM.
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post #8 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 01:24 AM
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Well written post. As someone who currently drives a 2013 535i M Sport and thinks it is the most beautiful and perfect-for-me Sedan out there, the Ghibli is the only other competitor in this segment I will consider IF I stay in this segment when my lease is up. I couldn't be happier with my 5er, I think it's one of the best cars on the road when you especially factor in how over-engineered it is in so many ways for the dollars you spend (you get all the goodies and even the exact same chassis that houses much more expensive cars like the 7 Series, 6 family and RR Ghost), and with the M Sport Package it maintains some "exclusivity" look over the regular 5, but the Ghibli being an "exotic on a budget" per-se offers me something I do seek.... uniqueness and something a little "unconventional" yet obviously still conventional enough to live with, being that it's a Sedan.

However, being used to what the BMW provides me, and with the M Sport Package making me never feel like I'm driving something that is "everywhere", the Ghibli is a little "worrisome".

A couple of other points: To the argument that the 6GC should have more features because it costs more, you can get all those features in the 5 Series. In fact, the 5 Series usually gets its tech features sooner than the 6 Series (like the newest iDrive, then the even newer iDrive with toucpad, auto trunk, etc.). My $64K MSRP 535i has vastly more features than even a loaded Ghibli. I don't even know if the Ghibli comes with Auto Hold?

Of course, I understand the Ghibli isn't about features, and I never buy a car for the features, I prefer the language, the "soul", how it moves me, etc. The 5 M Sport draws a very perfect balance for me there in providing that but also a solid fundamental appliance. The Ghibli I'll be taking a much closer look at once the time comes.

What I do know is that I really *WANT to want* the Ghibli. I am essentially the customer that Maser is targeting with the car. I generally need or want cars in this segment, but admit I'm a bit of a "brand snob" (for lack of a better word) when it comes to spending what I think is a decent enough amount of money, and think uniqueness is very important when you have a high selling car, which is why I actually *PREFER* BMW to charge as much as they can for its M Sport Package on a 5 Series as I'd happily pay it if it makes my car stand out a bit from the pack. The Ghibli sounds like the answer to all my questions and desires, but "at what cost/sacrifice" becomes the new question.

Another point to make about the Ghibli price, as time goes on (already happening) Ghibli's are going to get more and more discounted. So that "$65K" price they're quoting WILL be attainable on somewhat equipped cars. I.e, I have no doubts we'll see $75K cars getting sold for $65K or less, sooner than later.

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post #9 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 03:58 AM
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@ OP

Honestly your post reads like a list of every stereotype about cars I've ever read.

I've had major issues with german cars, BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Let me list some of them quickly:

BMW- Had an X5 in 2009, had major electrical issues, had a lot of warranty work done on it and air suspension failed. The experience was incredibly frustrating.

Mercedes, C class, had a 250 CDI for a while, had major problems with the injectors that weren't fixed for months until Mercedes did a recall. My car spent 1 month at the dealer at one point.

Audi, bought a Q5 for my girlfriend, the car is 2 years old now, has about 30k kms, it rattles like nothing else I've seen. So much for that famed Audi build quality. It's been reliable as far as mechanics and electrics go, but really, 2 year old car rattles like a horse carriage, unacceptable. I almost hate using her car.

At the moment I have a Jaguar XF, everyone told me they're unreliable and to stay away from them. I've got 35k kms on it in a bit over a year, the car is flawless, really I couldn't be happier.
I'm planning to get a Ghibli and I'm a bit sad that I'm going to have to sell the Jaguar, that's how much I love it.

Also a friend of mine had an engine failure on a CL63 AMG a couple of years ago. They changed it under warranty, but if it had happened after the car was no longer under it, the engine would have cost 55k. Good thing it failed early.

Yes the Ghibli has some issues. It is a NEW model, on a NEW platform, by a manufacturer that does not have enough experience with building cars meant to be used and abused daily. They will probably have these issues sorted on later model years or in recalls etc. That's what I feel is most important. How they handle these issues. If they care about their customers and fix these issues, that will be enough for me to buy a car from them. I've decided to wait for the next model year to buy the Ghibli, not necessarily because of the technical issues but for financial reasons.

Porsche didn't have the experience when it started building the Cayenne back in 2003. First two model years had issues, but things were sorted later and it became a really great car. There is a first for everything. I hope Maserati follows in their footsteps.

Anyway, it sounds to me like you are trying to justify your decision to buy a BMW. If it was me, I would not have taken the time to write such a long post about it. I really don't feel I owe anyone an explanation for what choices I make on my dime. BMWs are clinical and boring, you only live once. I'd much rather have a Maserati and be happy, even if I have to deal with some minor issues.

Sounds to me like you would have been happier with a Ghibli as well, hence you are trying to convince yourself and others, for some reason that is beyond my comprehension, that you really made the right choice. A bit of buyer's remorse perhaps? Or you saw a Ghibli next to your GC?

Good luck to you.
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Last edited by emix; 02-20-2014 at 05:28 AM.
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post #10 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 04:40 AM
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Everyone its opinion of course. For sure on the aesthetics that are subjective of course. Even when german cars aren't like 'bratwurst' anymore, they can't beat the Italians. I like the exterior of the BMW 6 you write about to! The interior however is not my cup of tea: it is not homogeneous, the lines do not run into each other. Moreover, I find it even boring. But of course, coloribus et de gustibus non disputandum est.
Your opinion on handling however, seems a bit odd to me (unless I do not understand the meaning of 'handling', since English is not at all my mothertongue :-) ). For me 'handling' has to do with how it behaves on the road (this has nothing to do with the 'sound' and even acceleration isn't really important in this one. I wonder where you get the information the BMW 650 would be faster: the figures I have for 0-100km/h e.g., are 5,4 for the beemer and 5,0 or 4,8 for the Ghibli S. The figures for the Ghibli are correct I can assure ;-) ). And then there is a major difference. I really like to drive in a sporty way, powerslidings included if needed, and my Ghibli offers a much better behavior and pleasure on the road. It is a real 'drivers car' and, besides aesthetics, this is the reason why I've choosen the Ghibli.
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