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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK so today we finally got to test drive the car we've been waiting months for.

Here is my experience and my comments:

My wife, baby, and I all went to our local garage today to test drive the SQ4. It was the bronze colour with a beige interior. There was also a Griggio with a Tan interior which I preferred more. There was also a base model in Griggio.


Externally:
The car look great externally when upclose and pictures don't do it justice. Curves in all the right places. I love the front end and the upright grill. The back end could use a little more work but its OK.

The standard wheels and tires SUCK big time and you won't believe the tall sidewalls - like Nova said, they look like something out of the 80's or 90's !!!. Even my dealer admitted that they were TALL. And don't even get me started on the wheels on the base model - YUCK - they look like something off a Toyota - Yes they're that bad! My delaer also pointed out to where the calipers on the rear of the base are just a case piece of metal - no colour and no style whatsoever (although the fronts are better). The SQ4 at least does have better calipers but the wheels are still of poor design and nothing like what I'm used to seeing on a Maserati.


Internally:
A really nice interior. The leather is soft and supple and we liked the embossed logos on the headrests. The carpets seems to be of good quality. My wife commented on how unfussy the dash was and how simple and elegant it looks. She also liked the clock on the dash.
We had no issue with the the dash and central console layout - in fact the TFT display on the dash looks really Cool !

The car didn't feel claustrophobic in any way and we had no issue seeing out of the windows. The window/beltline was also low enough not to be an issue.
The door handles are really nicely integrated into the door panels. The rear passenger central vents have a nice design touch to them.

The seats are very comfortable and supportive. No issues here. However, the seats are tight up against the center console - so much so that putting the seat belt on was a struggle. If you drop something down the eighth of an
inch or so gap, good luck trying to ever find that item.

Plenty of cupholders and an AC / heater in the center console to keep drinks cool / warm.
USB port, Aux, and SD card port are standard - so entertainment connections are covered. However, there's only a single CD disc player. Sound was good even with the standard system.

However, the biggest issue internally (for us at least) was the issue of a lack of rear legroom space. Firstly, anyone back there won't have anywhere near the same amount of legroom space as, say in a Jag, Merc, or BMW of equivalent size. To exit the car, you will have about 10-12in of space in which to get your feet out. I couldn't do so without tuning my foot and my knee almost banged the dor panel on the way out. Secondly when we placed the baby seat behind the front passenger (the dealer in our case), he had to move his seat all the way forward to allow a regular baby seat to fit behind him. His knees were up against the glovebox and I could tell that he wasn't comfortable.

It has a large trunk - in fact too big. They could easily have used some of that space and increased rear legroom for rear passengers.


Engine and transmission:
The gear knob will take some time getting used to since it doesn't have detents for each gear you're in. Instead you keep clicking it back to get from P to R to N to D. The top of the gear knob lights up to tell you which gear you're in but since this can be covered by your hand so it also tells you on the dash screen.
There's a manual button next to the gear shift if you want to drive 'manually'. There were no paddles in the example we drove so I can't comment on that.
There was also a 'Sport' button next to the gear lever which holds the gears longer and makes the engine exhaust sound louder.
The two biggest issues for us were:
a. Booming from the engine exhaust is really quite intrusive - even in the normal driving mode. For my wife this was a deal breaker as she didn't want to have this loud noise and have a baby in the car.
b. For me the dealbreaker was the lack of throttle response. I pressed the gas pedal about 2 inches before anything happened (in regular and slightly less in Sport mode). This was so not like even my son's Infiniti G37, let alone my wife's old Jag XF V8 supercharged. They were instant. The turbo-lag just kills any enjoyment you try to have in this car. The SQ4's pedal has to be pushed half-way to the floor to get any half-decent throttle response. In regular driving, look to push the gas peddle a long way just to get the car moving. I even asked my dealer if there was something wrong with this and he said that even the Quattroportes were the same.


The 4 issues that definitely need improvement in our eyes (and ears) are:
1. Make 18in standard on the base (17in are standard !!!) and 19in standard on the SQ4 instead of 18in - AND CHANGE THE WHEEL DESIGNS.
2. Reduce the amount of booming in the cabin. This is a luxury car - I only want to hear the loud exhaust when I'm in Sport mode - in normal driving, I want a refined and luxury cruiser.
3. Change the throttle response or put in a supercharged instead of a turbo. It's simply no fun in normal mode and even sport requires some gas pedal punching.
4. Not sure what Maserati can do about this without changing the platfoirm - but this car needs more rear legroom.

If you can look past these , then it's a lovely looking car inside and out.

In all, we liked the car but it does need some improvements and despite having waited 3 months to try this out, we came away saying that we couldn't live with the issues outlines above.

Unfortunately, the Ghibli is not for us. Hope this review helps you to look for things when you go for your test drive.
 

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I noticed during the open house for the Ghibli last month that the back seat room was a wee bit tight, but no one was sitting in the front seat. Wow, makes me think about just buying an older Quattroporte... My test drive is scheduled in 2 weeks.
 

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Excellent write-up. It will definetly give me things to think about when I finally get to test drive it in a few weeks. What other cars are you considering?
 

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Interesting, every other review I've read describes throttle response as at least above average. Makes me question the legitimacy of your review...

For instance, this recent view is more consistent with others I've read.

"Throttle response is not laggy, ponderous, or heavy even when in standard driving mode. The car accelerates on command and in proper amount according to pedal input. The brakes are also neither touchy nor heavy - good feeling brakes that are easy to modulate with great stopping power. In sports mode, the throttle response is more immediate and it holds revs and gears very well, definitely the best I've driven, ever. The car is not a super performance car so the acceleration isn't violent, merely very strong. It's powerful but composed."
 

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I also test drove the Q4 today. Will add more detail later but I agree that the throttle response was slow. Maybe it is normal for a turbo charged V6, but it was a stark contrast to my '07 QP, which I imagine is expected when comparing a turbo to a normally aspirated engine. In any event, the Q4 may have perfect throttle response for a turbo, but it would take some time for me to get used to it.
 

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Interesting, every other review I've read describes throttle response as at least above average. Makes me question the legitimacy of your review...

For instance, this recent view is more consistent with others I've read.

"Throttle response is not laggy, ponderous, or heavy even when in standard driving mode. The car accelerates on command and in proper amount according to pedal input. The brakes are also neither touchy nor heavy - good feeling brakes that are easy to modulate with great stopping power. In sports mode, the throttle response is more immediate and it holds revs and gears very well, definitely the best I've driven, ever. The car is not a super performance car so the acceleration isn't violent, merely very strong. It's powerful but composed."
I went back and looked at the Car and Driver and Edmunds reviews and they were both consistent with OP's assessment.
 

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In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary... come again? Where does the Car & Driver review say anything about turbo lag??? They do mention they desire a more "frenetic" throttle response -- more violent like a super car. But that's a far cry from "turbo lag" as the original post claims. And no one really wants a hyper-sensitive Ferarri throttle on a daily driver anyway. In any respect, no reputable review of the Ghibli has mentioned turbo lag, none to my knowledge that is. So again I'm not convinced this review is legitimate.
 

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I would also confirm the throttle lag, not turbo lag, just a lag from having to depress the gas pedal half way down to get a respectable response. Sport button helps somewhat, IMHO.
 

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rsm - did you drive the car? or just don't like what you hear. 3 people on this thread took the time to drive and reported the similar thing regarding throttle response. Must be a grand conspiracy.......
 

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No car I've driven has as good throttle response as the early 90's Honda Accord I owned for a while. The throttle there was a steel cable connected to a butterfly valve on the throttle body of a rev-happy engine mated to a free spinning manual transmission. I remember driving a electronic throttle car for a while when they first started showing up on the market, thinking "well, it's not so bad", then jumping back in the Accord and having a tough time rev matching shifts for the first few minutes because of its immediacy.

I've also driven cars with ponderous throttle response, such as a 2012 C300, where the throttle needed to be pushed pretty hard for the car to respond. The level of effort needed on the throttle to get the car moving was not linear, so the car felt heavy and slow even though it is not.

I thought that the throttle response on the Ghibli was pretty good for a car with electronic throttle. I did not notice the same sense of heaviness or ponderous lag that plagued the C300. Press a little, and the car accelerates a little, press a little harder and the car goes a little harder. I did not have the sensation that I had to press the gas pedal halfway just to get the car moving. During my test drive I specifically checked the sensitivity and linearity of the throttle response since I know it can be done very incorrectly that completely destroys the driving dynamics of a car.

I did not notice any turbo lag, though I don't doubt there is some - laws of physics can't be overturned. I never got the sense that pressing and holding the gas pedal at a specific location resulted in two distinct stages of acceleration - one prior to boost coming on, and one after. If there is a ramp-up time for the turbos, it's short and even, not long and jumpy.
 

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In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary... come again? Where does the Car & Driver review say anything about turbo lag??? They do mention they desire a more "frenetic" throttle response -- more violent like a super car. But that's a far cry from "turbo lag" as the original post claims. And no one really wants a hyper-sensitive Ferarri throttle on a daily driver anyway. In any respect, no reputable review of the Ghibli has mentioned turbo lag, none to my knowledge that is. So again I'm not convinced this review is legitimate.

Ok, let me explain.

OP's assessment was: "For me the dealbreaker was the lack of throttle response".

Car and Driver's assessment was: "A more frenetic throttle response would help with the perception of performance and the car’s overall character."

IMO, two different ways to communicate essentially the same thing (slow throttle response).
 

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Here's an additional question - the car I drove had powered pedals where you can adjust the pedal position. Did your cars have this? I know that adjusting the pedal position doesn't change the car's throttle response, but perhaps the fixed vs adjustable pedals have different default configurations?
 

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I wonder if US cars have been electronically engineered to negate any possibility of unintended acceleration? If so thank the lawyers.
 

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Here's an additional question - the car I drove had powered pedals where you can adjust the pedal position. Did your cars have this? I know that adjusting the pedal position doesn't change the car's throttle response, but perhaps the fixed vs adjustable pedals have different default configurations?
I would assume the default configuration of both the fixed and adjustable pedal will be the same until you make the changes needed to the adjustable one.
 

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rsm - did you drive the car? or just don't like what you hear. 3 people on this thread took the time to drive and reported the similar thing regarding throttle response. Must be a grand conspiracy.......
I have not driven the Ghibli yet, ordered mine over a month ago; I'm hopeful it'll arrive before eoy. I'll drive one earlier when they come to the dealership and I'll review my experience here.

In comfort or I.C.E mode I expect my throttle input to be smoothed over to reduce consumption, my Audi does this and I'm happy it does, but the original post claims that it's so bad it effects his decision to buy the car? The BS meter swings rightward.... The QP's throttle response is fine and not one reputable review of the Ghibli mentions unreasonable throttle response, not one. So who shall I believe?

Honestly, do you really believe Maserati would build a car with crappy throttle response?
 

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I've now sat in the Ghibli twice (test drive scheduled for the 15th.) During my last visit, I gave extra attention to the back seat after all of the concerns I've read here. I have to say, my wife and I really felt the rear leg room was a non issue. Is it overly spacious...no. But I'm just over 6ft and had absolutely no leg room issues. Now that said, seating 5 is a bit of a stretch, but two normal sized adults would have no issues with the rear seating.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Excellent write-up. It will definetly give me things to think about when I finally get to test drive it in a few weeks. What other cars are you considering?
I'm considering the A7 (my wife likes it bit I think it has a droopy butt!) and the XF

Interesting, every other review I've read describes throttle response as at least above average. Makes me question the legitimacy of your review...

For instance, this recent view is more consistent with others I've read.

"Throttle response is not laggy, ponderous, or heavy even when in standard driving mode. The car accelerates on command and in proper amount according to pedal input. The brakes are also neither touchy nor heavy - good feeling brakes that are easy to modulate with great stopping power. In sports mode, the throttle response is more immediate and it holds revs and gears very well, definitely the best I've driven, ever. The car is not a super performance car so the acceleration isn't violent, merely very strong. It's powerful but composed."
This is only MY experience. That's why I stated in the end that it's not for me and my wife - I didn't say it's not for YOU. You may be happy with the throttle response.
BTW, I'm not a car journalist - I'm a consumer aka a Layman so i tell it as I saw/felt it.
Please feel free to ignore my review. In fact I prefer it if you would.

Here's an additional question - the car I drove had powered pedals where you can adjust the pedal position. Did your cars have this? I know that adjusting the pedal position doesn't change the car's throttle response, but perhaps the fixed vs adjustable pedals have different default configurations?
Interesting - I didn't see anything to suggest that the car I drove did have them and the dealer didn't mention anything about that. If it does that could change things dramatically since we really did like the car overall If one of the major negatives can chnage then that a major plus point.

I've now sat in the Ghibli twice (test drive scheduled for the 15th.) During my last visit, I gave extra attention to the back seat after all of the concerns I've read here. I have to say, my wife and I really felt the rear leg room was a non issue. Is it overly spacious...no. But I'm just over 6ft and had absolutely no leg room issues. Now that said, seating 5 is a bit of a stretch, but two normal sized adults would have no issues with the rear seating.
Width wise I agree that it's really comfortable for two and a strecth for three. However our issue was with legroom. My wife is only 5 4" and she had to turn her feet to exit the rear - which she didn't like. That's with the drivers seat adjusted for me(and I'm no giant!). I had to do the same even when she was driving and I was in the rear.
I suppose the old adage YMMV really does ring true here - maybe I'm just used to bags of legroom in the rear whilst you're used to tight legroom which becomes a non-issue for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I've also driven cars with ponderous throttle response, such as a 2012 C300, where the throttle needed to be pushed pretty hard for the car to respond. The level of effort needed on the throttle to get the car moving was not linear, so the car felt heavy and slow even though it is not.

I thought that the throttle response on the Ghibli was pretty good for a car with electronic throttle. I did not notice the same sense of heaviness or ponderous lag that plagued the C300. Press a little, and the car accelerates a little, press a little harder and the car goes a little harder. I did not have the sensation that I had to press the gas pedal halfway just to get the car moving. During my test drive I specifically checked the sensitivity and linearity of the throttle response since I know it can be done very incorrectly that completely destroys the driving dynamics of a car.
We too also had a C300 and I completely agree - it was amazing just how SLOW it FELT. I remember actually counting how long it was before the car accelerated after pushing the gas pedal half-way - 3 seconds!

I didn't know the pedal has an electronic 'linkage' - I wonder if that's why ? I did ask the dealer if there was something wrong with it and he said 'no'. Pehaps my test mule had been 'calibrated' differently in error which made it seems ponderous. Certainly I know other cars I've had in the past haven't FELT slow picking up (other than the aforementioned C300). Honestly my test car felt almost as bad as the C300 when the pedal was pressed, say, 1 inch or so - almost no response. Of course when I pressed if the full way, the car picked up instantaneously but who does that in daily driving?!
 
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