Weekend Wheels / 2022 Maserati Ghibli Modena

Maserati’s Ghibli Modena Q4 is packed with passione

Be still my beating heart. We have a Maserati to play with for a couple of days. The latest Ghibli Modena Q4, no less. A true bella macchina with a helping of tutti frutti.

This Italian stallion is Maserati’s answer to German Clydesdales like BMW’s 550i, Mercedes’ AMG E 53, and Audi’s S6 in the $75,000 to $85,000 price bracket.

What the Maserati has by the bucketful is passione. Climb behind the wheel and you’re instantly transformed into Marcello Mastroianni, or Alfredo Pacino – Al to his friends – waving your hands and slipping on your best Dolce and Gabbana.

Just look at the thing. It has more curves than Gina Lollobrigida in Solomon and Sheba, more bulging biceps than Stallone in Rocky I to 43. And that greeny-gray color – Maserati calls it Verde Royale – with those black 21-inch alloys, the car looks amazing.

Of course, Maserati hasn’t been without its problems over the years. Bounced between different owners – French giant Citroen, crazy independent De Tomaso, and the cash-poor Fiat Group – it has long been starved of new-model funding.

But things are looking up. Now part of the mighty Stellantis conglomerate that includes everything from Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, to Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Peugeot/Citroen, there are huge resources here to tap into.

And we’re already seeing the results, with newcomers like the terrific new Grecale mid-size SUV arriving this fall. That, and the spectacular MC20 mid-engined, two-seat supercar.

That said, our four-door Ghibli – it’s named after a fiercely hot wind that blasts out of North Africa – is definitely showing its age. The car dates way back to 2013, though it has been nicely updated and enhanced since then.

For 2022, there’s a trio of Ghibli models to chose from. The 345-hp GT (from $81,000) is the entry version, while at the other end is the insane Ferrari-engined 580-hp Trofeo (from $117,100).

The sweet spot is the Ghibli Modena we’re piloting, especially the all-wheel-drive Modena Q4 that kicks off at a slightly ambitious $88,000.

Under that curvy hood is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 designed in collaboration with Ferrari. It packs a 424-hp punch that’s enough to rush the car from standstill to 60mph in 4.7 seconds. Top speed on the autostrada? Just under 180mph.

Climb aboard and settle back into one of the lovely, hip-hugging front sports seats – part of a $4,000 Sportivo package – and rest your hands on that sexy, perforated-leather wheel.

There’s a lot going on here, with the glossy carbon fiber center console, the too-shiny carbon-weave seat inserts, the acres of double-stitched Zegna leather, and suede-like Alcantara on the roof pillars and headliner. Think of it as material overdose.

Yes, there are a few too many switches and controls from the Stellantis parts bin – that entire center touchscreen and side vents package is straight out of a Dodge Durango. But, overall, the look and feel of the cabin is just gorgeous.

Once you’ve found the start button – it’s hidden away behind the wheel on the left side – it fires-up that muscley V6 with a lovely soft-edged bark. Dial up the ‘Sport’ drive mode for feistier responses, and we’re off.

Even with 424 horseys, the Ghibli is more the refined cruiser than hard-core charger. Its exhaust note, even when the V6 is revving toward 7,000rpm, is rich, deep and bellowy. And always in the background rather than halting conversation.

Its ride too is smooth with a touch of firmness, rather than a danger to dentalwork. And through the curves, it always feels safe and predictable, rather than on the edge. The focus here is more luxury and less sport.

Here is a true gran turismo, for covering long journeys at high speed, in supreme comfort.

Of course the Ghibli makes little-to-no financial sense. Its sky-high sticker – our test car topped out at an insane $115,400 – coupled with poor residual values, makes it only really viable with a great lease deal.

But, but…all that emozione, all that passione and Italian sporting heritage, would definitely make you stand out from the crowd. And hey, it’s a Maserati!