When the news came through Maserati had shoe-horned their delicious V8 into the Ghibli, I remember thinking, “Well, its about time.” For many petrolheads, a V8 powered Maser is drug many would admit to being addicted to. Now, at last, we have a V8 Ghibli, and here is what’s what.
The new Ghibli Trofeo is the one of three Trofeo models in Maserati’ current line-up, the others being the Quattroporte and Levante SUV. However, while the V8 has been a mainstay for the Ghibli’s larger siblings for some time, sadly it is the first and last time we get it in the Ghibli.
Maserati have gone to great lengths to distance the V8 Trofeo from the Ghibli’s regular V6 petrol and diesel counterparts, and distance it they have. In fact, the Trofeo could well be on another planet when you take a peek under that muscular bonnet.
The Ghibli Trofeo’s 3.8L twin-turbo V8 was built in Maranello by another illustrious Italian marque. Have a guess who? Yep, Ferrari. While the V8 had input from Maserati engineers during the development process, it is in essence the same engine Ferrari use in the drop-top Portofino. Power? Well in Ghibli Trofeo spec, that means 433kW and 730Nm of torque. Thanks to that twin scroll turbo set up, peak torque kicks in at round 2250rpm right up to 5250rpm.
The V8 is paired with a very slick eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox sending drive to the rear wheels. Add this grunt and gearing together, and Maserati claim a sprint to 100km/h from a standstill in 4.3 seconds. While that is brisk in anyone’s language, it’s the top speed which leaves you stunned. The Ghibli Trofeo will hit the mechanical buffers at a whopping 326km/h, making it, and the new Quattroporte Trofeo, the fastest Maserati saloons ever.
The Ghibli Trofeo sports a number of styling tweaks which mark at as the performance flagship. Red detailing around the three Maserati side vents and highlighted Trofeo badging are dead giveaways, as is the carbon front air ducts and piano black dual vertical bars in the front grill.
A red swipe through the Maserati emblem on the rear three quarter is also visible, as are the 21 Orione Staggered Dark Silver alloys housing Rosso red brake callipers. A lot of red going on here then.
Inside, it is very much business as usual re the standard Ghibli, it still feels as luxurious as before, and touches like the Trofeo embossed leather seats are lovely. Anyone familiar with leather, carbon fibre and brushed aluminum will feel right at home here. The driving position is good and there is plenty of room all around. Said leather chairs hold you well too.
The Trofeo now comes with a much improved 10.1-inch MIA (Maserati Intelligent Assistant) Infotainment system. The old system was fine, but felt a bit last week. Thankfully, the new system is much more up to date, with more responsiveness and easier use. It also houses all the features you would expect from a Maserati of this ilk.
My car also had the Driver Assistance Package which included lane departure warning, adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring and front autonomous emergency braking. Also, present was the grand Harmon/Kardon sound system, but to be honest, the best sound system in any V8 Maserati comes from its exhaust.
Fire up, and anything within a mile of you immediately becomes aware of your presence. Maserati has had the innate ability to convert high octane fuel into glorious V8 noise for many moon, and the Ghibli Trofeo is no exception. There is so much anger and ferocity to how the bellow from those twin pipes. It’s a Latin V8 burble like this which swing many into the Maserati camp. It is just a glorious noise.
Moving away, it becomes apparent the Ghibli Trofeo is something quite special. The rumble of that lovely V8 is somewhat subdued at cruising speed, which is probably just as well for a morning commute. Also adding to this reduction of noise from inside is the use of double-glazed windows all-around. However, it wasn’t long before the drivers window was dropped, and Sport mode was activated.
While I wasn’t ready to wring its neck on the open just yet, it was a real giggle in Sport mode with that exhaust on full noise, the dial turned all the way up, and just cruising about town. You may be thinking, why, but if you were in my position, you would probably do the same thing.
When you tire of this and the temptation to point the Maser’s nose at your favourite B-road becomes too good to resist, the Trofeo begins to dance its dance, and dance well. The eight speed ZF box is slick and quick through the gears, flicking up or down on each carbon paddle becomes a common pastime.
Heck, sometimes I found myself changing down just because I could, oh, and to hear the exhaust. From low to high rpm, the V8 goes full Verdi’s Requiem. There is such a sense of occasion when you give this thing a thrashing.
The combination of low-down torque and crisp throttle response, means the Trofeo just flies. While it tends to run out of puff at around 6000rpm, the journey getting there is a very quick one indeed. After 30 minutes of addictive acceleration, you really start to register this Ghibli is well capable of cracking 320km/h. Stand on the anchors, and you stop sharpish just as quick. However, it isn’t long before you are mashing your right foot into the firewall for the ride to begin again.
The steering is also razor sharp. The merest indication of a change of direction is met with an instant response. It constantly talks to you saying “push harder” and “Go on, you know you want to.” And push harder I did, and in return I received a tonne of grip and beautiful rear drive chassis balance in every bend.
Leaving Sport and into Track oriented ‘Corsa’ mode, you really are left on your own. Cornering hard and you feel the back start to come away from you, but thanks to that direct and communicative steering, you can make sure it never goes beyond your control. Oh, and that noise is just terrific.
The price for the Ghibli Trofeo is a fairly substantial $249,990. This makes the Trofeo considerably more than the BMW M5 Competition which has more grunt. The Trofeo is clearly aimed at Maserati enthusiasts who don’t mind paying top dollar for something which could very well be a future classic someday.
In summary, the Maserati Ghibli Trofeo is not only the fastest and most exciting Ghibli ever, but a terribly exciting car full stop. It does beg the question as to why Maserati hadn’t done it sooner?
Basically, if you champion Italian passion, a tonne of power, and don’t mind paying the extra for it, you will be utterly seduced by this four-door supercar. Also, since this is very much a one off V8 excursion for Maserati’s most popular saloon, you had better get in quick. Oh, and did I mention it sounds good too?
Special thanks to Euromarque Maserati