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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Anyone who has followed the drama chronicled here leading up to the purchase of my Ghibli may be interested to know how it went and my first impressions of the car. If so read on.


Redemption

If you've read along, you know my dealer hasn't been all that attentive regarding my order. As a customer I'm patient and mostly off the radar. I don't require much attention, I know the process especially with Italian cars, so I keep quiet -- the dealers aren't in control, so give them some slack after you place your order. Even so, I had to initiate every conversation I ever had with him, all 4 or 5 of them. That doesn't really bother me all that much, I'm pleased enough to take a smooth delivery with no surprises...

Well after I ask about my car's whereabouts a month ago I'm happy to hear it should be nearing the port. Dealer claims it'll be tight, but I should have it before year's end. A little longer than expected, but not bad, I plan for that. Then a few days later he discovers his information was outdated -- the car was already at port and would be ready for delivery before Xmas. Perfetto! My current lease expires on the 20th, I can wiggle around not having a car for a couple of days if necessary, so I plan for that. More time passes, Xmas is near, nothing from dealer. Finally I initiate another conversation and after being completely ignored for days I hear what I expect, "Yeah, your car is still at port, not sure what happened, ... Not sure when we can get your car, sorry." Not pleased. Made plans. Nothing to drive. He neglected to manage my order, it could have been in my garage by now! I consider walking away and picking up the 650 GC I test drove a while back. So I inquire about my deposit, what is the policy for getting it back? With the impression I could walk my dealer finds a way to get my car out of port, haul it up to the valley, prep it and deliver it on Xmas eve. Which he did flawlessly. To boot, he knocked 2.5% off MSRP for my troubles. Total redemption. There is a Santa Claus!

First Impressions

While waiting at the dealer for paperwork etc. I got to spend some quality time with the car. I ordered Grigio Maratea exterior with all Nero interior, even the headliner is Nero (alcantara). Like anyone who ordered 3 months ago it was all blind, I really didn't know what kind of grey was Grigio Maratea and I had never owned a car with all black interior especially the ceiling. What was I going to get? What have I done?!

Well, I have to say I got lucky with Grigio Maratea. I've been looking at greys ever since my order and most of them I didn't like, I had regrets. But the grey on my car, better than what I had hoped for! The sheen -- it looks wet. It has some earthy tones mixed in, it just looks gorgeous.

The nero headliner. Man! The interior of the Ghibli with all black primo leather and black alcantara headliner... it's BADASS! I wouldn't have it any other way. It's elegant, masculine, and befits the car's prestige.

The interior in general the way it's configured in my car is beautiful. I've driven two-tone Audis for a dozen or so years now and I'm bored with it, it feels out of style even (to me), the Nero on Nero over Nero is so sweet in this car! The switchgear "from the Chrysler bin" that all the reviewers parrot... Seriously? I don't care where it comes from, honestly why pick on that? BMW, Audi, MB... their's is no improvement. I loathe Chrysler and wish they and the UAW had nothing to do with Maserati, but there is no Chrysler of any significance in the Ghibli, anyone who claims otherwise, please, I'll be happy to debate you. The MTS doesn't really count either, the navigation sys is Garmin, arguably the Best there is. Otherwise, the interior is delightfully Italian and it shows.

The wheels... if you haven't ordered yet or your order isn't yet locked in, do yourself a giant favor and opt for the 20s. Do NOT get the 18s. After inspecting cars at the dealer with both 18s and 19s, they just don't suit the car at all, esp. the 18s. The 21s look ok, but frankly there's a touch of ghetto in them, just sayin'. The 20s are correct :)

I've only driven it a couple of times with it being Christmas and all, but holy heck! This car moves. I must be one of the lucky ones -- no turbo lag and no throttle response issues. The throttle behaves exactly like my Audi and current BMW. I test drove the base Ghibli model and was happy with its performance characteristics. My S Q4 feels like a different machine. The Gs I feel with this car, wow! The sounds! My neighbors will love me during Xmas break.

Handling is a dream. I'm going to take the car out tomorrow for some hills and hairpins, I'll update after that.

Issues

  • One minor problem I've noticed while idling is a bit of rattling from the muffler/tailpipe, not sure what's causing it.
  • The rear sunscreen automatically retracts when in reverse gear, I see the logic, but I don't want this. There doesn't appear to be a way to configure it not to do this.
  • The manual is woefully incomplete. The DVD "manual" is a joke. Maserati should use Audi as a model. [update] Looking at the DVD in the file system I noticed a PDF folder with a complete set of manuals (pdf files).
  • The volume for the navigation system's voice commands is too low. There must be a way to increase it, but it escapes me... [update] turns out the MTS volume knob adjusts the nav volume during a nav step, discovered by chance.

Nitpicks

  • When the navigation sys displays information in the center display the digital speed readout is gone; it should display in miniature somewhere. There's also no option to display digital speed in the upper left/right corners.
  • The base speaker in the trunk is totally exposed; there's no covering for the bottom of it where it is mounted.
  • The instrument panel and MTS don't appear to auto-adjust brightness. Sometimes the MTS is totally obscured by sunlight, other times it's too bright when in lower light situations. My wife's 435i does a perfect job of adjusting the lighting, even the coloring of the light changes to reflect conditions.
  • I cringe every time I close the trunk. The tinny sound reminds me of my 1973 Dodge Charger, may it rest in peace. (yes, I know the trunk lid is aluminum to save weight, but a little insulation would be worth its weight in gold back there.)
  • There is a permanent dime-sized mark/smudge on top of the dash on the passenger-side leather. I assumed it was a fingerprint or similar, but it doesn't wipe off :(
  • I also noticed a very shallow, silver-dollar-sized surface abrasion on the center of the hood. I failed to rub it out. This most likely happened on the trip to the dealer from the port, or at the dealer during prep. Grrrrrrr...
  • As I spend more time in the car I am reminded more of the substandard quality of the Chrysler-based MTS, especially how it compares to our 435i dial-based UI. I am now convinced touch screens and cars are not to be paired. In a nutshell, the problems are: 1) touch screens in general require visual guidance of finger to screen location, which means less focus on the roadway. 2) the Ghibli's MTS is not touch sensitive enough, it often requires multiple attempts to select a UI control. 3) the resolution is of poor quality. See my lengthier post below for more info regarding this (rather heavy) nitpick.

Unexpected Delights

  • The exhaust sound/note! I test drove only the base Ghibli, which was impressively throaty and badass sounding, especially for a V6. But the S Q4 is a couple of notches badder assed.
  • Bluetooth connectivity is a dream. I know it's commonplace now, but I suppose I was expecting sub-par quality with this being an exotic-ish car. Turns out it's better than our new BMW's spotty quality.
  • Adaptive headlights. For some reason I hadn't expected a full-featured product from Maserati here. It's all there and functions at least as well as our 4-series: beam focus, auto-high beam, and directional. In fact I like the Ghibli's focusing better than the BMW's, which is "lumpy".

Photos

(excuse the quality these are quick ones from my phone camera)
 

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Nice review Rsm...the subtitle 'redemption' says it all. Glad to know the turbo issues are imperceptible. I dont see much difference between the 19 and 20 inch wheels to justify the price delta. In fact the silver trident against black circle stands out better on the 18 inch wheels :)
Cheers
 

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Thanks for the reiview.. you answered my worries. I m planning to get the marratea as well with sabia interior.. only saw the color on chips at the dealership. You re absolutely right with the wheels.. 21 " is very chateau ghetto!..lol red calipers are on my list as well...Btw can i ask you what sound system you have in ? base? premium? B&W?
Also the side view picture of your car (even iphone quality) is gorgeous.. this color really shows the lines and beauty of the car... I can t wait to order mine.
Thanks again for sharing!
Happy new year guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
...Btw can i ask you what sound system you have in ? base? premium? B&W?
I have the premium sound sys option. Pretty average quality, but more than satisfactory for my needs.

Since I've been getting some private notifications/emails regarding my configuration, options, etc. I added a photo of my sticker to my original post. Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Fyi, I've added a Nitpicks section where I'm documenting nitpicks as I find them. I'll probably add another section for Delights or some such as I find those too. For instance, the smartphone integration is surprisingly better than my 435i.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
[update]

I've been driving my sq4 for over a week now, not that long, but long enough to find faults. My main nitpicks about the car so far are mostly with the MTS and UI in general. My opinion of touch screens in cars is validated -- it's generally a terrible idea. The more I drive the Ghibli, the more I loathe the touch screen. It requires more eye contact than a non-ts system; very aggravating and, more critically, dangerous. And as touch screens go, it's not exactly high quality. The screen isn't touch sensitive enough; it often requires two or more attempts at selecting a UI control -- similar to a second-rate grocery store screen (and far from iPad quality). Screen resolution is equally shabby. As some have pointed out, it has an older generation cartoonish feel.

BMW and Audi have it right with the dial-based GUI. We have a new 435i and I can say from experience BMW is heads above the (it pains to type the word) Chrysler MTS. The BMW UI is intuitive and a breeze to use. Above all I can focus on driving a lot better because I don't need to visually guide my finger to the correct place on the screen (and then stab at a control 2 or more times!) The dial wins, it's as simple as that. BMW's screen resolution is also of modern high quality as is the overall look and feel.

To sum up, if I were to have any regrets so far, they would be centered on the crappy design and quality of the Ghibli's MTS especially as it compares to BMW (and Audi).
 

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Im assuming you didnt get carbon fiber which is why you got yours earlier but besides that and the Cuoio seats, we ordered **** near the same car.

Like you, I was shocked at how much the black headliner improved the look and feel of the cabin. Thanks for taking the time to post this
 
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