MASERATI IS BACK: The Italian automaker has returned to South Africa with the launch of its four-door Ghibli. Image: Twitter
Fourways, Johannesburg - Maserati is making a comeback in South Africa with the launch of its second four-door, luxury sedan - the Ghibli (pronounced gib-lee).
The Italian automaker celebrated its 100th anniversary 2014 and continues to grow in popularity.
There is only one 16-car showroom currently in Johannesburg, several other dealers are being set up for Cape Town and Durban as the brand grows in South Africa.
Maserati has an amazing automotive legacy, read more about it here. Even though the Ghibli is a new car on the market in SA, it's not the first version of the sporty vehicle; The first was built back in 1967 as a two-door, two-seat variant.
The automaker reports the following sales figure: In 2012, 6200 units were sold worldwide, sales doubled to 15 400 in 2013 and in 2014 sales grew to 36 500.
The Ghibli, Maserati says, will take the brand to new heights. It’s the fourth model in its stable and is the first in the E-segment category. Maserati is still a niche brand but its offerings are now reaching across a broader spectrum. The Ghibli also offers the automaker's first diesel derivative.
According to Maserati: "(The Ghilbi) symbolises the essence of Italian style with an elegant, sporty appearance." It’s engines, says the luxury automaker, promise to deliver powerful and efficient dynamics.
You can look but not drive...
Sadly, no one was lucky enough to drive the car on show and all we could do was admire its beauty for several hours and suffer inwardly, resisting all desires to get into the car and drive it out of the grand venue to sample the throaty roar from its quad-exhausts.
The sedan measures 4.9m long, 1.9m wide with a wheelbase of 2.9m. It's 260mm shorter than its Quattroporte sibling.
It has bulging curves yet it doesn't have the chunky rear of the Quattroporte. It also sports a sloping bonnet and trapezoidal grille with the signature trident motif.
The arches elegantly makes room for its 235/50/18 tyres in the front and 275/45/18 profile at the rear. Owners can also opt for wheels up to 21" in size.
Inside, the automaker has opted for the minimalist approach on the facia and throughout the car. Although less is more, it makes you wonder what you're really paying for.
Everything about the Ghibli is about individual taste and the options both in equipment and trim are limitless. It's also the reason why Maserati SA could not really give Wheels24 a realistic figures for orders. All we know is that two units have already been delivered locally.
Three versions are available for SA: The Ghibli, Ghibli S and a diesel variant. All units will feature a 3.0-litre V6 engine mated to an eight-speed ZF auto transmission with five different shift or driving modes.
The 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel delivers 202kW/500Nm while the 3.0-litre twin turbo petrols units kick out 283kW/500Nm and
the more powerful S variant pushes out a scrumptious 301kW/550Nm.
With words such as elegant, sporty and niche being used, obviously the price comes with a somewhat-heavy tag. Prices start at R1.3-million. It's worth is still questionable. Hopefully we can answer that question when we get to drive it later this year.
The automaker will be launching its first SUV, the Lavente in 2016.