Auto blogWed, 19 Nov 2014
A week after its debut on the interwebs, Maserati has trotted out its freshened Quattroporte range at the LA Auto Show, giving us our first in-person look at the changes to the top-of-the-line GTS trim.
Maserati has tweaked the headlights across the range, while the GTS gains new body-color trim pieces on the lower bodywork. Red badging on the wheelcaps and and a freshened trident badge are some of the more obvious changes, while new lower bodywork is matched to the main exterior color. While these tweaks are nice, we aren't totally sure they deliver on the "sportier and aggressive appearance" that the Italian company is aiming for in model year 2015.
What do you think? Could Maserati have stood to go further for the 2015 Quattroporte, or is this sort of super-light freshening just what the doctor ordered? Let us know what you think in Comments.
Maserati continued its centennial celebration this week with a lightly updated version of the 2015 Ghibli at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The sedan is enhanced with navigation and Bluetooth features, which are now standard. Reinforcing that this is a light refresh, Maserati gave the brake calipers a new finish, and contrasted stitching is also added on the Ghibli and Ghibli SQ4 models.
Maserati is also throwing in a free three-month "all-access" subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio for the Ghibli, Quattroporte and GranTurismo.
Maserati won't be showcasing any all-new products at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have anything to celebrate. It is, after all, the marque's centenary this year, and in 2014 has achieved the best sales it's ever racked up in the US market.
The most noteworthy Trident model to be displayed in LA next week will be the revised Quattroporte, the S Q4 and GTS trims of which are treated to some enhancements for the 2015 model year. The top-spec Quattroporte GTS in particular "benefits from a sportier and aggressive appearance," highlighted by color-matched lower bodywork, an updated emblem, red accents on the wheels and upgraded equipment inside, including red leather upholstery, contrast stitching, piano black trim and integrated wifi.
For 2015, the smaller Ghibli sedan also gets standard navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a new finish for the brake calipers. Maserati will also showcase the GranTurismo MC Centennial Editions, as well as the Alfieri concept originally unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show (new images of which we've included below). Finally, the Petersen Automotive Museum is also collaborating with the Italian automaker to display an array of historic Maseratis in the West Hall lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
With the new Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans out on the market, and the new Levante crossover and Alfieri coupe on their way, Maserati is making serious headway towards revitalizing its lineup. Now all it needs in order to reach its ambitious sales targets is to expand the network of dealers where they're to be sold. And according to Maserati chief Harald Wester in speaking to Automotive News at the Paris Motor Show, that's exactly what it has in store.
At the end of last year, Maserati had 79 dealerships across the United States. It has already boosted that number to 100 so far this year, but before 2014 is over, it plans to open another 20 to bring the total up to (carry the two, divide by the square-root of Pi)... 120 showrooms.
Globally speaking, Maserati reportedly closed 2012 with around 220-230 dealers around the world, and currently has about 355, but aims to close 2015 with a worldwide network of 450 dealers, representing a doubling of its network in two years' time. Having more than a quarter of those in the US alone is testament to how seriously Maserati takes the American market.
Each year, retailer Neiman Marcus releases a Christmas catalog detailing some truly absurd gifts. Chief among them is a Neiman Marcus edition car. Usually from a luxury or exotic manufacturer, the Neiman Marcus models are a limited edition and generally sell out very quickly. Past participants have included the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, McLaren MP4-12C Spider, Ferrari FF and, the most plebian car in recent memory, the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible. For this year's catalog, the Maserati Ghibli is up for purchase.
Not only will it make a great Christmas gift for the ultra wealthy, but this $95,000 Maser also pays tribute to the Italian automaker's 100th anniversary. Based on the top-of-the-line S Q4 model, this Ghibli adds a few unique features, including bespoke 20-inch wheels with centennial center caps and a black border for the grille.
The cabin features premium leather in Cuoiu, which is basically tan. Black contrast stitching can be found throughout the cabin and on the Tridents stitched into the headrests, while bespoke piano black trim rounds out the interior. Finally, the center console bears a badge denoting the Ghibli's unique edition number.
It used to be easier to make sense of the auto industry. There were mainstream manufacturers, and there were niche sports car manufacturers. That was before Porsche starting selling more crossovers than it does sports cars, Lamborghini began preparing to go down the same road, and Ferrari introduced an all-wheel-drive hatchback. But long before the arrival of the Cayenne, the unveiling of the Urus and the advent of the FF, the storied marque that is Maserati was already bolstering its sports car offerings with four-door sedans.
In fact, it's now been half a century and six generations since the launch of the original Quattroporte. So the idea of a four-door Maserati shouldn't come as any surprise by now, but the vehicle you see here has the Modenese automaker breaking new ground in another way entirely. And it's not the size, either: although the new Ghibli is smaller than the current QP, it's roughly the same size as the aforementioned original - not to mention the Dodge Charger, a corporate stablemate which similarly revived a coupe nameplate for a four-door sedan. No, what makes this Ghibli 'special' is what resides under the hood, because the model you're looking at packs the very first diesel Maserati has ever offered in its hundred-year history.
Sacrilege, you say? Maybe, but as so-called performance brands have turned their attention to four-door sedans and crossovers, they've also begun to embrace diesel propulsion. In Europe these days, even Porsche, Jaguar, the BMW M division and Audi Quattro GmbH are burning the midnight oil. So while it may be new territory for Maserati, the Ghibli is far from the first high-end, performance-oriented diesel on the Old World's market. It's also a vital addition to the brand's portfolio, particularly in Europe where the advantageous price of diesel fuel over gasoline (and the smaller volumes of fuel a diesel engine typically consumes) makes offering a model so equipped vital to the Trident marque's ambitious growth plans. The question, then, is whether it delivers.
Maserati has been celebrating its 100th anniversary all year, but recent visitors to Virginia International Raceway might have gotten to see one of the coolest highlights of the whole centenary. The brand took its already amazing MC12 GT1 racer and painted it up to commemorate its 100th birthday, dubbing the model Maserati MC12 GT1 Centenario. That would be neat enough, but the spectators at VIR actually got to watch and listen to this special edition racecar lap the track with its spectacular exhaust note singing a fantastic tune.
It's rather rare to see these beastly V12 racers on track in the US these days, but they were quite successful in FIA GT1 competition in Europe several years ago. The sound that they make perfectly matches those purposeful, low-slung looks. Switch this video into HD and turn up the speakers to experience a look at this fantastic racecar.
When Chrysler was developing the current Jeep Cherokee, matte black, lifted Alfa Romeo Giuliettas weren't an unusual site around the company's Auburn Hills, MI headquarters. That's because the Jeep rides on a modified version of the Alfa's platform.
Judging by these images, Maserati is following a similar path for the upcoming Levante. The presence of the modified and lifted Ghibli basically confirms that the company will look in-house for the new CUV's platform rather than outsource it to Jeep (otherwise, we'd be seeing modified Grand Cherokees running about).
The mule's Ghibli body has been fitted with a number of tweaks. Most notable are the higher roof and stretched wheel arches, which we're guessing are an attempt at increasing the sedan's center of gravity and width, respectively, in a bid to match the eventual production model.
States have different laws about how closely your car can mimic the look of a police car, which this Massachusetts driver might've wanted to have look into. Even though he's driving a Maserati GranTurismo in homage to the Transformer Barricade and it reads "Decepticons" and "To punish and enslave" on the sides - in two places - and a Twitter hashtag for #Halomafia, the police in Braintree, MA, didn't like it.
Watch out now, Decepticons are patrolling Quincy Shore Drive! #quincytweets #quincyma pic.twitter.com/gXMerDS0FS
- Quincy Tutoring (@QuincyTutoring) August 2, 2014
Motor Tend technical director Frank Markus owns a 1967 Maserati Ghibli, bought back in the early 2000s when "they could be had for Camry money" - now Hagerty values them anywhere from $63,000 to $107,000. The grand tourer designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro outsold the more powerful and less expensive Ferrari 365 Daytona, and the more powerful and more expensive Lamborghini Miura.
Carlos Lago, host of the magazine's Ignition video series, figures it's because of the Ghibli's long-haul comfort and the tractability of its 4.7-liter V8 with 330-horsepower and 330 pound-feet accessed with a five-speed manual, even though he cites the powertrain and suspension as being behind the times.
There's no arguing about the Ghibli's sound, though. You can get several ears-full of it, as well as Lagos' and Markus' thoughts on the car, in the video above.