For European car lovers, there are certain models that will always be dream machines - the Lamborghini Miura, the Ferrari 250GT, Aston Martin DB5, Jaguar E-Type and, the car we're talking about today - the Maserati Ghibli. While the Ghibli I'm referring to here is the 1967 Spyder, crafted by the Italian master car designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro himself - the most recent incarnation of the legendary Italian automobile isn't too far off the OG edition's status.
I've written about my disdain for companies abusing the GT tagline here before - how a true Grand Tourer should be ready for anything, it should be the epitome of luxury, speed, comfort and drivability. Too often, the GT tag is used as a marketing tool, a fancy-sounding fluffy stamp at the end of a car's name that will push up the price and usually points to faux-performance. Gran Tourers/Gran Turismos/GTs, were initially intended and designed to cross borders with style. They are performance vehicles, but not necessarily a "sports car" or any kind of a "whip" - they're a drive (pronounced here with a purrrr and a wink). They're the car with a wheel you wrap your fingers around, settle into the seats and beg you to take the scenic route. They're a drive made for pleasure, longing, not a flirty tryst. The Maserati Ghibli S? A Gran Tourer worthy of a long term love affair.
The famed 1967 Ghibli had a particular fierceness to it - a flashy shape that has been described as "shark-like". It had a nose that dipped towards the road; you knew it was fast. We're talking mid-century Italian design at it's best here. In line with how the Italians approach luxury design in 2016, today we find the Ghibli in its most subtle shape to-date - a car that means business. It's sporty, but it's not ostentatious. It's a head turner, but it's not offensive. In fact, this car is so masculine, sexy and self-assured in its design, even if the eight-speed Twin Turbo V6 engine was to be flexed on a main street, the poise that the Ghibli S exudes prompts anything but a little finger wagging response.
A collaboration with Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, the interior of the Ghibli S is incredibly elegant. It features a mind-bending 300km of 100 per cent, all-natural Mulberry silk (only the world's most exclusive and sought-after silk, don't-cha-know) wound into the door panels and seats, between plush Italian leather (all customisable, naturally). Yes you read that right. 300km. Of silk. Per car. This doesn't mean it's delicate; on the contrary, this is fashion-meets-tech on the highest level, Zegna has processed and specially developed this fabric for strength and durability.
I think it's important to point out here that in a world where computer systems date like avocado in the sun, this is the true definition of luxury. What your body feels when you slide into this car is a feeling that never expires. And as it was pointed out to me at the Maserati dealership, unlike navigation technology that is ever evolving, you're not going to see this level of detail appear in a cheaper car in a few years time; it's strictly a Maserati thang.
Boasting a brand new engine to meet new Euro6 emission standards, the 2016 Ghibli S' 3.0 litre, V6 Twin Turbo puts out a whopping 410hp of power - and the jump? Oh, just a casual zero to 100 kmh in five seconds flat, with a top speed of 285kmh... I mean, not that I would know that.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The steering wheel-side paddles are a delight, so switching from auto to manual is a cinch, and when flipped in sports mode, the car's response hits next level - it purrs like a Ferrari and handles like a dream (honestly, the handling is exquisite and the weight distribution is pretty damn on point). Unlike some sports cars, you'll never feel boxed-in; there's a great deal of space inside this car, which is, again, a key Gran Tourer trait. Personally, I don't mind confined spaces, but if this is your daily ride, you'll be thankful for the curves and space that comes with the Ghibli S' cockpit. Of course, the 10 speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, sonically engineered with the shape of the Ghibli's interior helps with sensory delight as well.
I spent three days cruising in this ride. From sitting in Sydney traffic to the open roads of the Southern Highlands, where I found refuge in many luxury car club's stay of-choice, Milton Park, you better believe I opened this bad boy up, to little disappointment. If you're on the hunt for an incredibly comfortable drive that offers all the space of a family car, a look that is at once elegant and suave, and boasts power and a razor-like response under the hood (and of course an audio note that says you've arrived), consider the Ghibli your dream machine. This car is a wolf in sheep's clothing.