Washingtonians who like to travel in the fast lane are turning to Maserati’s latest.
If you’re a member of the law enforcement community, please stop reading now, as I’m about to confess to a number of offenses. Or actually the same offense—blatant disregard for the posted speed limit—over and over, from River Road in Potomac to the hills of Oregon Avenue in the District to Clara Barton Parkway.
Like any miscreant, though, I’m looking to defect blame. In this case, the Maserati Ghibli S made me do it. The car was my criminal sidekick for a weekend, the Sundance to my lead-footed Butch Cassidy.
You wouldn’t know this by looking at it, though. Unlike the weekend roadsters the Italian carmaker is known for, the Ghibli appears comparatively innocent from a distance. First launched last year, it’s a more accessible, everyday luxury sedan, aimed squarely at BMW, Mercedes, and Audi devotees (no coincidence it’s the first-ever Maserati with a backup camera, navigation, and a touchscreen display).
Then you get a little closer. Those are giant, red-colored, Italian-made racing brakes peering out from under the wheels. Hand-stitched leather seats and carbon-fiber paneling beckon from inside. Oh, and a 410-horsepower, turbo V6 made by Ferrari—that’s in there, too.
And people liked getting closer to it. About 45 minutes into driving it, I got the first of many thumbs ups from strangers. Pulling into the Ritz-Carlton downtown for a meeting, the valet refused to even give me a ticket. He’d just leave it right out front where everyone could gaze at it. When I brought it home, the neighbors asked about it; asked for rides in it. And motorcycle-riding neighbors even suggested places to drive it.
Which brings us back to River Road and Clara Barton, where I dropped it into Sport mode to open up the exhaust for a nice throaty roar (and to let me use words like “throaty”), using the manual-shift paddles along the steering wheel.
“We passed that car like it was standing still,” offered my passenger-seat companion at one point. “Are we really going 90?” Yes, we did. And yes we are.
Then it hits me. Washingtonians seldom drive just for the sheer pleasure of it. Yet here’s a car that goes from luxury cruiser to your own personal Grand Prix as soon as you can think it—and find some open road ahead. Therein also lies the car’s one true drawback—it makes the gridlocked traffic and mistimed traffic lights of DC all the more frustrating. Those speed cameras, too.