Looks to Thrill

The Italians understand three things very well: beautiful lines, voracious handling and very willing motors. Maserati is one of the great attention-getting names in automotive history, even as its ownership has veered through operatic changes over the years. For the past two decades, however, the manufacturer has enjoyed the stability of a partnership with Fiat and Ferrari, companies that have modernized the Maserati factory. As a result, the new Ghibli might be considered something of an accessible, affordable Ferrari, as it’s priced like an Audi S7. It’s doing so well here that Miller Motorcars, the exotic-car specialists in Greenwich, has opened a Maserati of Westport at 1026 Post Road East.

The “S Q4” designation of the car we tested means this version has a bigger engine and all-wheel drive; thus, it can be on the road year-round. We even took it out in a vicious winter storm, yet it felt totally serene and capable. The V-6 was designed by Paolo Martinelli, Ferrari’s Formula 1 maestro, who orchestrated the engine to produce some startling sounds. Accelerate hard and you’ll hear a raucous braaap. The auto pros at Miller Motorcars who loaned us this curvaceous howler suggested we keep it in Sport mode most of the time, but during the storm it was easy to access the gentler dynamics of the Ice mode. Altogether, the car has five driving modes and each one affects the behavior of the eight-speed automatic transmission.

While the Ghibli is “smaller” than Maserati’s Quattroporte gunship, it’s still a full-sized luxury car with four seats upholstered in beautiful leather. Even so, it can be tossed around with aplomb. Power around a backcountry curve at 50 mph, and the ride feels as composed as if you were doing 25. The car doesn’t furnish neck-snapping acceleration, but it does offer a stimulating rush that makes a driver suddenly question how everything got going this fast.

It’s no wonder Maserati sales have risen so dramatically in recent years. This model works like a normal car, yet it has startling good looks and goes like hell. It’s Italian, you know. Passionate. For information go to

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