At Easter 2016 I picked up my ex-demo Maserati Ghibli S from my local main dealer with 1500 miles on the clock. A few weeks ago the odometer clicked over to 50,000 miles. This probably makes it one of the highest mileage petrol Ghibli in the country. I thought it was probably time to reflect on the ownership experience and my time driving one of the great Italian brands.
Buying A Maserati
Here's the thing, I still can't believe that I bought the car in the first place. Yes I went for a test drive, but that was partly because of the delays to the Alfa Romeo Giulia, I didn't really expect to be able to buy one.
The test drive was good, there was no pressure from the salesman at all. I was honest about my expectations and capabilities. I was adamant that I didn't want a diesel but wasn't sure that I could stretch to the top of the range S. The cat was put amongst the pigeons when I was told that a deal could be done, with all of the various finance arrangements, on the test drive car.
Given that this came in at a little more a month than a decent, non-QV, Giulia would be and I could have the car in a couple of weeks rather than waiting at least 6 months I couldn't find a reason to say no. I didn't really try hard, it was a heart rather than head experience.
In the end, the deal was done, and I drove away in a top-spec Ghibli S with almost every option.
I've been to a few shows and displayed the Ghibli. Once people get past the fact that, shock horror, it's not a diesel the first thing they ask is "how much does it do to the gallon?". To be honest I don't care. It never figured into my calculations about buying the car and isn't a factor when it comes to deciding to keep it and drive it. However. I know that people are interested so it now up to 51888 miles, meaning I've driven around 50388 in it, and I'm averaging 23.41 mpg over that time. The total fuel cost is a scary £11,000+ but its worth it for the smiles per mile.
I've had 4 services with the costs ranging from £380 to just over £1000. A little on the expensive side, but compared with my previous Alfa Giulietta not as bad I would have expected.
I've gone through 4 sets of rear, and 3 sets of front tyres. Though some of the fronts were due to puncture, one on each side, rather than wear. These ranged from £220 to £270 per tyre dependent on whether it was front or rear and the phase of the moon. I don't understand tyre pricing you never get the same price twice.
The final running costs is brakes. I've had two sets of pads and a set of discs. These came in at a total of £3000.
Totting all that lot up I think I'm a little crazy. There you go though, its been worth it for what owning a Maserati has done.
The most unexpected thing when buying a Maserati was the impact it has on others and the camaraderie that exists amongst Maserati owners. The number of people that mouth the word 'Maserati' and track the car as you drive past is something to behold. It's almost as though their heads are connected to the car by a piece of string. Also it seems that whilst Ferrari and Lamborghini stoke up envy, Maserati doesn't in the same way.
I've been involved with two groups in the UK. The SportsMaserati Forum and the Maserati Club UK. They both organise get togethers and events but are both welcoming to new members. Since joining I've visited a number of events to display the car and made new friends. Owning a Maserati has really opened up new experiences.
Like many reading this I suspect, I'd always fancied the idea of a road trip but never seemed to get round to doing it. Having the Ghibli gave that extra push to organise and take a trip. The first one was done quickly and incorporated a week working near Cannes, but included a trip to the Maserati Factory in Modena for a photo op.
After driving back over the San Bernardino Pass to come home I was hooked and the next year organised a much more involved trip spending a little over 2 weeks in Italy and taking in 7 mountain passes in total.
Next year will be the Pyrenees for a change before heading back to Italy in 2020. I'm not sure that I'd have taken the plunge if it hadn't been for the buying the Maserati.
The experience hasn't been all plain sailing. I had a steering pump failure taking instruction on a track and found out the hard way that this wouldn't be covered by the warranty. Ouch. Also, because of swarf in the steering fluid the whole system would need to be replaced or steering would be excluded from future warranty claims. Double Ouch. This cost me a little over £5,500 to get fixed.
Early on the car developed a real thirst for screen wash. It was going through 5l a week. The source of this issue came when I was showing my partner how they worked and she noticed that it didn't squirt on one side. Taking this to the dealer it was found that there was a problem with one of the units. It was replaced under warranty and has been good ever since.
I have had a couple of issues with the car going into limp-home mode. This has generally been after being left for a couple of days, the most worrying was when it did it leaving a car park in Venice. No fault has been found though and it always corrected itself.
The final issue has been an odd with the climate control trying to cook the driver. This is another thing that only seems to happen when the car is left for a while. An actuator on the driver's side of the air conditioning unit sticks and regardless of the temperature set blows hot air out making it unbearable for any distance. If the car is then left for a little while though it fixes itself and all is good. All Italian cars should have odd things that happen it goes with the territory.
Whenever I visit the dealership there is always a lovely collection of Maserati and Ferrari cars present. Many of them tempting, but most with very large prices associated with them. I'm always asked if, when, I'm thinking of changing.
There are always the lottery win cars, but as a daily driver, which my Ghibli is, I'd be hard pressed to replace it. The temptation will really come when the Alfieri arrives. Then it will be a simple choice, trade in the Ghibli for one, or keep the Ghibli and look to pick up a classic Maserati to complement it. For the moment I'm happy with what I have and don't see a change in near future.