This is what happens when you take a luxury car brand that was once partnered with Ferrari and then decide that Fiats and Alfa Romeos are cooler cousins. When Maserati partnered with the Fiat Group, I’m sure the executives, sitting in their supple Italian leather armchairs, made a plan to lower the standard for luxury sports cars.
If you think about V-8 engines when your buddies talk about Italy, then fasten your seatbelt. Maserati has announced something better than a new feature for the next model year’s Quattroporte. Are you ready for the all-new Maserati? It’s called the Ghibli.
Although the newest member of the family is still in utero, we know drivers will have the option to power it with a turbocharged gasoline engine or a diesel block. Wait, isn’t Maserati known for destroying lap records at the Nürburgring, one of the longest and intense automobile test tracks in the world? Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t a diesel engine take a bit longer to pick up speed? Sure, you get a bit more torque with a compression engine, and you can carry a bit more weight on less fuel, but isn’t the point of a Maserati to turn heads so fast gawkers get whiplash?
The world has desperately needed an ultra-luxurious, fuel-sipping, Italian-made masterpiece. Those environmentally conscious millionaires on the Riviera finally have a non-electric, eco-friendly option that will impress all three of their mistresses.
It also turns out that Maserati plans to sell this lil’ baby for $65,000. That means every middle-class family with a BMW 5-Series or a Mercedes E-Class can afford one. Wait, Fiat Group executives, I could have sworn that the magic and prestige of a Maserati depended on just how difficult it once was to acquire one. That’s why people dream about owning a Maserati. They want a car stitched together by people skilled enough to sew Dolce and Gabbana. They want an engine crafted by people who could assist Boeing.
What’s going on here? How in the world could Fiat consciously take a coveted brand and market it to anybody who makes six figures? Whoever buys this car will have to know that its makers did not manufacture the best car they could. They created a car to fit a niche, and to do that they had to cut corners.
Sure, Ghibli with be fitted with a Maserati emblem, but in a world where capitalism calls for brands to constantly grow, it will be nothing like its race-ready siblings. And with a name that resembles a failed Ben Affleck movie, the Gigli — I mean Ghibli — doesn’t even sound impressive. The Ghibli just makes a once-exclusive brand into an everyday car you see parked at Forever 21.
This is why Maserati has never won the 24-hour Le Mans Classic in France. They sacrifice their finesse and reputation for money. People once bought exotic Maseratis because they were crazier than their German counterparts. Now Maserati will simply blend in.
Brian Latimer is the Editorial Page Editor. He is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying history. He can be reached at [email protected]