2017 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 Year 1 Lease Review and Experience
Maserati. Once a storied brand, where only the few with enough means could get their hands on one. Now owned by FCA, they decided to produce a car that is more attainable, providing an entry point into the brand and giving it more visibility. The base Ghibli, with ~330hp from a 3.0L twin turbo V6, can be had in the low $70's excluding any dealer discounts/rebates.
That's E-Class and 5-Series territory. Realistically, most people will be leasing them, and thats where the value can be had. The top of the line S Q4 with 430hp and AWD has an MSRP starting at around $80k, but most dealers are selling them for much less. Leases can be had starting at $500/mo and up, with some aggressive dealers taking nearly $20k off the selling price. For 2-3k down, you can have a payment in the 8-900$ a month range for a well-optioned SQ4, on par with the M3/4 but with the all-season practicality of AWD and a bigger trunk/back seat. Not to mention there are like a million BMW's and M-cars on the road, so who wants another one, besides the hardcore BMW guys?
Now after selling my 2015 Evo X due to the inconvenience of driving stick in New York City, and moving to a Lexus NX200, I was ready for something a bit more fun and exciting. While a very practical and comfortable car, the NX200 was slow and extremely boring to drive. I also test drove the Jaguar F-Pace, and considered the Porsche Macan, but in the end, the Maserati won with extremely attractive leases (Jaguar had like a $5k first month payment, WTF?) and the most horsepower. Also, sedan driving dynamics win out every time.
I first took the Ghibli SQ4 for a test drive at Manhattan Maserati, who were great. My salesman, Tom Hale, was especially a pleasure to deal with. The showroom was quiet, and there was no pressure or anything -- they were courteous and respectful. On to the drive -- the first thing I noticed was the sound of the car at idle. I'm used to all my cars having modified exhausts, and the throaty growl of the car while just standing still brought back memories of my Evo and Camaro. It definitely got me excited for the drive. Going up the West Side Highway with the exhaust flaps opened, the sound of the engine reverberating off the median wall at around 3-4k RPMs, was intoxicating. It reminded me of a 2JZ or GTR, but with more rasp - it definitely had its own italian flavor to it. The car pulls hard, as expected, and shifts with enthusiasm thanks to the ZF 8-speed - a solid and well-respected tranny available in many other luxury sports cars. 404 horses in the stable make for a fun ride. The interior wasn't as upscale as the Quattroporte, as thats a $100k+ car, I would put it on par with a top trim 3-series BMW. The infotainment and HVAC switches are plasticky, which you wouldn't think should be in an $80-90k car, but with discounts making it $70k, I can forgive it, as it makes up for it with its performance and character. It's an italian car after all, they aren't known particularly for build quality. The bean-counters at FCA weren't any help either, I'm sure. There are nice wood touches and the extended leather feels great. The Harmon Kardon sound system is a worthy upgrade and the stock infotainment unit is one of the best I'ved used - the screen is high-res and feels snappy. Can't say the same for the piece of sh*t Lexus puts in their cars - the thing makes the original Nintendo Game Boy feel like an Iphone X.
So yes, the car has solid driving dynamics -- good grip, steering that ISN'T completely numb, thanks to a hydraulic steering rack, and an engine with a character that isn't found in a lot of new cars today. The ride is firm, but supple enough to absorb the bumps of New York City and let you keep your teeth. So I was sold - weeks later on Black Friday, my salesman Tom called me and offered me a great deal an SQ4 with the driver assistance package (adaptive cruise, collision warning, lane assist, 360 camera & sensors, etc) with a price I could swallow of around $800 a month and $3k OTD.
Fast forward almost a year later, and the Ghibli is still going strong. The only mod I've done is disconnect the exhaust flap vacuum lines, to make it louder. And boy can it wake the neighbors now on a cold start. The dome lights went out for some odd reason about a month in, and the dealer had to keep the car for a few days to fix it. At the time, the loaner fleet was being switched out, so they couldn't give me one -- unfortunate, but I'll give them a pass this time. Every once in awhile, I get looks and compliments on the car, which is surprising considering how common Maserati's are becoming. I feel like I see a few Ghibli's everytime I go out, so over time I don't expect the same amount of attention. But anyway, I didn't buy this car for the attention -- In fact, I wish it drew less. The general populace think you must be rich if you drive a Maserati, which isn't true anymore. All you have to do is be able to afford the lease payment, which a single guy on a modest salary can do. This leads to some awkward conversations at work or with friends where people think you must make a shitton.
Anyway, I recommend this car for anyone looking for a practical, all-season, performance car. I was able to drive through snowy/slushy city roads on all seasons with confidence, and I can fit a stroller and infant car seat in it as well. The relatively large trunk was able to handle trips to Costco and the adaptive cruise made chugging through traffic a breeze. Compared ot the C-class AMG43, the Ghibli is cheaper after discounts, and has more power and character. I'm sure the AMG wins on build quality/interior amenities though. The 550i is a strong competitor with more power, but its also several hundred pounds heavier. It also looks the same as every other BMW on the road and don't think theres as many discounts on the 550 either.. So if you're in the market for a performance sedan on a lease, I'd say the Ghibli is a great value compared to it's rivals, and I suggest you go take one for a test drive!