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I have driven SQ4 and of course loved it. Price point may put me back down to base model, which I haven't driven. I love the car for style, drive feel. I will use the car for mostly local driving. The question is whether there is a huge difference in performance for the average driver between the base model and SQ4?
 

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I did not drive both but the consensus of the reviewers is big difference. Hopefully one of the forum users can provide more feedback. The issue from your question appears to be if the base power is enough or if the difference is so dramatic to warrant you to consider the Q S4. My guess would be if you are no looking for sports car performance and just an every day family car no.

However, if you look at what you get for the 10K difference for and what you get for the Q S4 and what you might spend for personalization on a base model the decision may be an easy one and is easy IMHO. Beside the engine with the Q S4 you get 4WD, sunroof, navigation system, hi pressure front head lamp washers, Radica open wood trim, 8 way power seats with 2 memories (work with key fobs as well), heated front seats, Bluetooth ($2.9K option with base) base package included with Q S4, color caliper option ($890), plus the option package pricing is different

Premium Pkg - $3.1K for Base $1.8K for Q S4 must buy on base to get Bluetooth
Cold Weather - Same for both
Tech Package - $3K for Base; $1,4K for Prem Sound for Q S4
Luxury Pkg - $100 less for Base???
Luxury Pkg Plus - $200K less for Base
Sport Pkg - No sport suspension available for base.

So if you do not care about the options and you are not interested in the power of the Q S4 base is the way to go. If you are a driver and love to drive sports cars, the Ghibli Q S4 is a unique car offering two personalities family car and a sports car. Good luck with your decision.
 

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There are a few more items that are standard on the Q4:

1) the Bi-xenon healights are adaptive (this is one of my faves);
2) auto dimming mirrors (int/ext);
3) easy entry system (the steering wheel slides into dash and the seat slides back);
4) power adjustable steering wheel;
5) better brakes (6 vs. 4 piston in front)

You should google "ghibli first drive" to get experts' take on the difference btw the base and Q4. I think the reviews will point you into the Q4.
 

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2014 Maserati Ghibli First Drive - Autoblog

"Rather impressed with the standard rear-wheel-drive Ghibli, I hustled back to grab keys to the more powerful all-wheel-drive Ghibli S Q4. This model turned out to be the real eye-opener. Again punching both the Sport and Skyhook buttons to put the Maserati in the proper mindset, the additional 60 horsepower could have been mistaken for 100 more, as the four-door shot off the line with an eagerness not experienced in the standard model. Plus, there was a very vocal exhaust growl playing the accompaniment.

The more powerful Ghibli was just as balanced as its sibling in the corners, but it possessed additional talent. As promised, the S Q4 acted like a rear-wheel-drive sedan until its tires had reached their limit, and only then did the driveline funnel power to the front wheels. The transition was seamless, but I could feel the front end start to gently grab and lend its helping hand. Under deceleration, the transmission instinctively downshifted (with a nice bark from the exhaust) providing a near-perfect ratio for the exit. The overall result was effortlessly blistering cornering speeds, superb balance and a fun-to-drive quotient unmatched by the Audi S6/S7, BMW 550i and Mercedes-Benz E550/CLS550. While this is purely speculative, and probably blasphemy, I'd bet the sporty new Ghibli S Q4 will even out-hustle its two-door sibling, the GranTurismo MC, on a road course."
 

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I have driven SQ4 and of course loved it. Price point may put me back down to base model, which I haven't driven. I love the car for style, drive feel. I will use the car for mostly local driving. The question is whether there is a huge difference in performance for the average driver between the base model and SQ4?
I just wrote on the other similar thread of K-A "Sport Suspension versus NON Sp.Susp." some remarks which may be usefull for you. Here in Switzerland there were 85% of the Ghiblis and new QP sold until end of december with the Q4. This is certainly not only the reason because of winter conditions in the alps and the nice wending streets but as well because here we have a lot of Maseratis and fans of this brand. So it depends as well what do you understand with"local driving" : mostly motorways or similar streets or do you have wending streets near your home? If you live in a region with real winters the Q4 incl. winter wheels is anyway the best solution. But as well for regions with a mild climate I would take the Q4, as this version drives under normal circumstances like a RWD and the Q4 gets only into action when needed.
 

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The way I see it is, you either get a Base loaded with a moderate amount of options, but have to keep itsome out or else it catches up to the price of the Q4 quickly. A well equipped Q4 is barely more expensive than a well equipped Base as it comes with more standard.

I keep hearing everyone say you "gotta get" the Q4 as well, but where I live (traffic, congested, messy roads often) I don't feel I "need" it. However there's a difference between "less power but just as good an experience" and "inferior motor which breaks the experience", and I'd hope the Base model would be more the latter.

If I get serious about a Ghibli, unless the Q4's take a bath in resale or discounting in the next year, a moderately optioned Base would be much more to my budget liking.
 

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I ordered a Base Ghibli with the sports package, premium, tech and base packages along with 19 inch Portero wheels. The difference in price between what I ordered and an SQ4 was approximately $3,800. While I could afford the difference in price I live in Southern California and I have no use for the all wheel drive. While the extra horsepower would be nice 345 is more than adequate for me (Los Angeles has a lot of stop and go traffic). I am also coming from a BMW 535 and right now my car has 310 hp so I am getting more power. I could not test drive a base car with the sports package so hopefully I will get some additional benefit other than paddle shifters. All and all I am happy with my order. The dealer gave me an ETA of March 11 so it is getting closer.
 

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I ordered a Base Ghibli with the sports package, premium, tech and base packages along with 19 inch Portero wheels. The difference in price between what I ordered and an SQ4 was approximately $3,800. While I could afford the difference in price I live in Southern California and I have no use for the all wheel drive. While the extra horsepower would be nice 345 is more than adequate for me (Los Angeles has a lot of stop and go traffic). I am also coming from a BMW 535 and right now my car has 310 hp so I am getting more power. I could not test drive a base car with the sports package so hopefully I will get some additional benefit other than paddle shifters. All and all I am happy with my order. The dealer gave me an ETA of March 11 so it is getting closer.
Does the Base Ghibli feel faster than the 535i? I have the N55 engine 535i (2013) which is notoriously underrated (i.e probably makes closer to Ghibli's stated power than what they advertise it as having) and makes a lot of torque at practically idle (very low RPM's, lower RPM than where the Ghibli's make their peak torque). I feel my 5er is "perfectly powered" for SoCal, fast enough to have lots of fun but "realistic" so you can wind it up a little, hear the engine sing and not have to worry about being at triple digits instantly. If the Base Ghibli feels even a little "faster", it'd be more than enough for me. Though I'm wary on whether it feels noticeably less torquey than the 535i.... as the torque curve on the latter is what really makes it feel faster than most cars who are rated with equal power.
 

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The difference between the BMW and the Ghibli is that the BMW feels quicker off the line than the Ghibli (consistent with comments about throttle lag). Around 35 mph the power of the Ghibli kicks in and it feels significantly more powerful than the BMW. I do not know if it because of the engine or because the car has a somewhat lighter driving feel but suffice it to say there is no lack of power on the base Ghibli.
 

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I have both a new 435i and an S Q4. In sport mode the S Q4 is far and away quicker off the mark than the BMW. Throttle lag in sport mode is about the same in both cars (hardly noticeable) and, as expected, the Ghibli crushes the 4 (0-60). My experience with the 650i in sport mode is about the same as the 4 regarding ECM impact on launch, or lack thereof.

Otherwise, in normal mode the Ghibli is somewhat more sluggish than the BMW, but not significantly. It provides plenty of power when needed while maintaining reasonable fuel efficiency (a miracle for this engine), which is the whole point of the ECM! Moral of the story: use sport mode for those rare moments when throttle lag impacts your plan for moving from A to B, otherwise, unless you enjoy gas stations, throttle lag is your friend.
 

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RSM makes a great point about strategic deployment of sport mode.

Personally, since the car is so new and fun, I like to drive in sport mode "around town" because of the exhaust note difference. However, on long trips, we use non-sport mode and flip on sport mode when we anticipate needing to dodge and weave to get out of traffic on the highway. It responds so immediately that you have great confidence in being able to quickly, and with a degree of finesse, overtake slower drivers.
 

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Glad to hear that james. overtaking other slower drivers is what i encounter ever day and something i'll be doing often, good to know it works well in that situation .
 
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