Home » The New Maserati Ghibli 334 Ultima Is A V8 Beast, But I’d Still Spend My Money On The Old Quattroporte

The New Maserati Ghibli 334 Ultima Is A V8 Beast, But I’d Still Spend My Money On The Old Quattroporte

Maserati Ghibli 334 Ultima Topshot
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Time is nearly up for Maserati’s Ferrari-supplied twin-turbocharged V8, but it’s going out with a bang. At this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, Maserati will unveil the Ghibli 334 Ultima, an all-out eight-cylinder sedan that promises serious speed. It’s actually in the name, as 334 signifies top speed measured in kilometers per hour (207.5 mph). That’s just good enough to make the Ghibli 334 Ultima the fastest new combustion-powered sedan on sale, at least until Bentley builds a Flying Spur Supersports or something of that sort. However, in the words of Lil Durk, “This ain’t what you want.”

Maserati Ghibli Ultima 334 Interior

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A Maserati shouldn’t be a car you buy for any rational reasons. It shouldn’t be cerebral, instead tapping into your id to work under your skin and win you over. If you placed every luxury sedan maker with one of the seven deadly sins, Maserati would invariably end up shackled to lust. However, to find a truly lustful Maserati sedan, we have to go back a few years.

Maserati Quattroporte Series I

Before Maserati received engine blocks made in Kokomo, Ind., there was only one four-door Maserati: The Quattroporte. While that name sounds about as sexy as new lingerie, it’s a literal Italian translation for ‘four-door.’ Everybody and their grandmother knows this by now, but it’s something to think about for a minute. [Editor’s Note: Remind me to have a talk with Thomas about the use of the words “lingerie” and “grandmother” in consecutive sentences. – JT]

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Maserati Quattroporte Series I Interior

Unless you buy into the machine-fed writhing of marketing-speak, every car model name comes behind an article, usually ‘the.’ That makes the Quattroporte the four-door, as in the superlative be-all and end-all of sedans. Bold strategy, but the first Quattroporte lived up to its name. In 1963, no sedan was this fast, and this gorgeous, and this well-appointed all at the same time. It could stretch it legs to 143 mph thanks to a quad-cam all-aluminum 4.1-liter V8, which meant that the entire family could keep up with E-Types and 250 Lussos in one of these bewitching Italian sedans. Wild.

Maserati Quattroporte V 1

Fast forward to 2003 and after a disappointing previous generation, the Quattroporte was set for a rebirth. Maserati was now owned by Ferrari and was pulling out all the stops. After rebooting its coupe with V8 power, a more thorough transformation was planned for the family car of the lineup. At the Frankfurt Motor Show that September, the fifth-generation Quattroporte burst onto the scene with a Ferrari-derived engine, an interior that smelled like the inside of a Birkin, beautiful styling by Ken Okuyama at Pininfarina, and the scourge of the early aughts — a six-speed single-clutch automated manual gearbox called DuoSelect.

Maserati Quattroporte V 2

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While capable of lightning-fast shifts when you’re really hustling, the trademark of any automated manual gearbox is a herky-jerky simulation of riding along with someone who just learned the basics of driving a manual car last night whilst under the influence of 12 Coors Lights. Needless to say, early adopters were subject to rolling misery until the clutch went out, at which point owners were presented with repair bills large enough to make them consider a cheaper thrill, like cocaine or lighting hundred dollar bills on fire. The original Quattroporte V was brilliant in the corners, endowed with a soundtrack to die for, and completely undrivable in everyday traffic. Then in January of 2007, Maserati fixed everything by dropping in a conventional ZF 6HP automatic.

Maserati Quattroporte V Profile

Cutting-edge tech at the time, the ZF 6HP was a transmission whereas the wretched DuoSelect abomination was a rear-mounted transaxle. If you know even the slightest thing about automotive packaging, you’ll recognize the scale of the task at hand. I’m talking about a new driveshaft, new transmission management, a new differential, a new subframe, a new crossmember, a new center console, a new shifter, and that’s only the minimum necessary stuff. In the process, Maserati switched to a wet sump oiling system, and changed a full 4,800 of the 16,500 total parts in the Quattroporte. That’s 29 percent of the entire car.

The crazy part? It worked. In one fell swoop, Maserati managed to massively improve drivability, massively improve reliability, and still manage to keep a majority of the car’s weight over the rear wheels for a 49:51 front-to-rear weight balance. Oh, and let’s not forget the sound this V8 makes. It’s a cross-plane version of Ferrari’s F136 V8 that sounded even better than the wail of the F430’s flat-plane motor. It emits a vibrato growl-to-howl as you rip towards redline, reveling in the sublime steering and unreal agility for something so large. Indeed, Car And Driver sung high praise of the automatic Quattroporte, writing that:

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The car still steers, stops, and goes more like a four-door Ferrari than any of its competitors, but the automatic gives it a far more refined highway demeanor. It also gives away little in spirited driving, because the adaptive six-speed downshifts early and holds onto a gear until redline in sport mode, which also firms up the electronically adaptive shocks of the Skyhook system and sharpens the throttle response.

Talk about having your cake and eating it too, am I right?

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If you’re looking to get into one of these large, fast, luxurious sedans, you’d probably want to know the pitfalls before signing on the dotted line for a fifth-generation Quattroporte with the ZF gearbox. Failure points? Why yes, you’ll find a few in any aging Italian car. Let’s start with the biggie: Rattly camshaft variators, as reported by Evo Magazine and many owners. The updated parts aren’t hugely expensive at around $530 each, but the job still leaves a huge labor bill. Figure in the neighborhood of $7,000 to $8,000 at a reputable independent shop. If you’re looking to pick up a Quattroporte, make sure this key job has been done.

Maserati Quattroporte V Interior 2

Otherwise, you’re largely looking at little annoyances. The rubber-coated buttons may go sticky over time, but rubbing alcohol and a light touch makes quick work of that. Tie rod ends are absurdly expensive at nearly $200 each, and the adaptive skyhook dampers are S-Class air strut money, but these are fairly solid cars with general running costs on the affordable end of the ultra-fast luxobarge scale.

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So, what we have here is the best-driving, best-looking, best-sounding full-size luxury sedan in the history of the world. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems a whole lot more important than mere top speed. If you really want to celebrate V8 Maserati history, don’t spend six figures on something with switchgear from a Dodge Dart — spend less than $30,000 on a fifth-generation Quattroporte with the ZF six-speed automatic gearbox instead. Your accountant and heirs will be at your throat, but I promise you this: It’s worth it.

(Photo credits: Maserati)

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World24
World24
10 months ago

It’s actually in the name, as 334 signifies top speed measured in kilometers per hour (207.5 mph)

This makes much angrier than it needs to since Dodge has had how many different configurations to get a Charger Daytona to just do 200mph (oh, the Hellcat and Redeye Widebodies can do 204/203: the 2017 specialty Daytona package can muster about 180, and the 50th anniversary did 194 because it’s just a Hellcat widebody, and the widebody actually has a lower top speed) and they never did, but Maserati is over here doing it on a similar chassis just because it ended up doing that speed?

Last edited 10 months ago by World24
David Escargot
David Escargot
10 months ago

That zf 6hp trans came in everything from BMW sedans to Mopar products all the way through to the humble taxi spec Ford FG Falcon and fleet spec SZ Territories

World24
World24
10 months ago
Reply to  David Escargot

What Mopar product did it come in? Chrysler’s 6 speeds are either the 62TE, 6F24, & AW6F25 (FWD) or the 65/66/68RFE & AS66/68/69RC (RWD).

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
10 months ago

Since the new Ghibli is a rebadged Charger, they should’ve installed the Hellcat supercharged Hemi, or better yet, the Hellephant 😀

Chrysler gave Maserati the Pentastar but not the Hemi, which seems silly.

They could’ve also added four cylinders to the Hemi, or 2 cylinders to the old Viper V10, or just welded two Pentastars together, to make a V12. Ford put two Duratecs together for Aston-Martin, so there’s no reason Chrysler couldn’t do the same. Yeah Chrysler is shit, but so is Ford lol

Maserati/Ferrari Hellagatto

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
10 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Are these really rebadged Chargers? Dear god…imagine paying the $70,000+ or whatever it is for a new Ghibli when you can get wide body 392 Charger (the one to get, don’t @ me) that’s pretty much loaded for around 60. Granted I don’t think every 20 something with 200 horsepower or more will try to race you if you’re driving a Ghibli, but still…the value proposition is so shockingly bad

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

Not surprisingly for someone who loves to proclaim things like “Chrysler is shit”, his info is completely wrong. The Ghibli (and all other Maseratis) share nothing with a Charger besides maybe some corporate switchgear.

There was talk a few years ago of developing a new Charger on the Ghibli platform, perhaps that is his confusion.

World24
World24
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

The Ghibli’s chassis has been known to be based on the 300’s, just with a completely different rear suspension design.
Rumores pegged that the LX cars were supposed to go on to that chassis, but like most things from the FCA days, it was just hear-say.

World24
World24
10 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Chrysler gave Maserati the Pentastar but not the Hemi, which seems silly.

And the Viper V10 is just the all iron Magnum V10 that Lamborghini just made out of aluminum instead? Or wait, Lamborghini developed the OHV V10 for Chrysler, that’s it?
Fiat wanted Ferrari to develop a V6 for Maserati for their road cars back when Fiat really start Just like the 2.9 from the Guilia/Stelvio, Ferrari didn’t custom make one: they took one that was already in-house and modified it. Hence, the Pentastar.
It’s also the reason why Chrysler’s boosted versions of the Pentastar were never worked on: Ferrari gets to spend whatever it wants on its programs, and the only got 404hp at best out of that twin turbo 3L? The 3.6/3.2/3L in Chrysler’s far smaller development budget was never going to get much out of their core architecture.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago
Reply to  World24

And the Viper V10 is just the all iron Magnum V10 that Lamborghini just made out of aluminum instead? Or wait, Lamborghini developed the OHV V10 for Chrysler, that’s it?

Neither of those is true.

World24
World24
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

That was the point dude.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore
10 months ago

presented with repair bills large enough to make them consider a cheaper thrill, like cocaine or lighting hundred dollar bills on fire”

That made me laugh out loud enough that I had to stop, read it to my coworker, who also laughed out loud. Thank you, sir, for that glorious alliteration.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
10 months ago

I’ll wait until 2026 when these will be on Buy Here Pay Here lots for $29,999. Maseratis are leftover FCA/Stellantis parts bin junk. Pretty junk, with cool engines…but junk nonetheless. Honestly I wouldn’t even touch one post horrific depreciation.

They’re just not worth the trouble. Hell…the local Maserati dealership near me runs specials all the time that’ll let you lease their cars for about the same cost as a payment on an entry level luxury car. They’re the ultimate new money/clout chasing/all show no go statement ‘round these parts.

LOOK AT ME I AM SO WEALTHY!!!! My brother in Christ…I know you’re paying $799 a month for that white Levonte. No one is impressed. The people with the actual money wouldn’t be caught dead in that monstrosity. If you want a good laugh head over to any Maserati forum. The cycle is hysterical…

I GOT MY DREAM CAR FOR THE PRICE OF A CAMRY!

EVERYONE is looking at me! It’s AMAZING! I’ve finally made it!

Ooof that first repair bill was ROUGH but I still love her.

…has anyone done a DIY transmission repair on these? I’ve lost 3rd and I don’t want to go back to the dealership.

…….I’m out 18k over the last 6 months I can’t do this anymore

…………I sold the Ghibli for $17,000

HOW MY DREAM TURNED INTO A NIGHTMARE: DO NOT BUY A MASERATI

Rinse and repeat!

Last edited 10 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Lockleaf
Lockleaf
10 months ago

I have seriously considered finding a duoselect quattroporte and doing a manual conversion on it (the Duoselect is an automatically shifted manual trans). There’s a few guys out there who have pulled it off and it fixes all the driveability issues and makes it a freaking manual! Now that is a luxury missile I would like to have around.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
10 months ago

Everyone says these are beautiful cars. I just don’t see it. They look Blah.

Turbeaux
Turbeaux
10 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

I have always thought they look like a Buick. I’ve seen a couple of Ghiblis around town and thought to myself “Man, those must be nice to drive, because they sure are ugly.”

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
10 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

They look weird. Like the headlights are sliding off the face.

Sklooner
Sklooner
10 months ago

I worked in a body shop in the late 80’s spent over a year just rebuilding the floors and rockers on a 3500gt, that cured me of any desire to own a Maserati.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
10 months ago

When the Quattroporte came back in the early 2000s I went with someone to test drive them. Keep in mind they had been out for at least a couple of years and they were (at that point) offering them both with the F1 AMT transmission and the new ZF 6 speed traditional automatic.

We drove the F1/AMT version and it was only amazing when you put your foot in to it. Otherwise it was really jerky and the icing on the cake… during regular driving in traffic the dashboard light up like a damn christmas tree because the F1 AMT transmission essentially crapped its pants…

So… yes to old Quattroportes (if you can afford the repairs), but HELL NO to the F1 transmission version.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
10 months ago

Using Maserati engine (or any mechanical component) and bang in the same sentence. Pure poetry. This site is on it’s way to a Pulitzer.

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