Friday,24 March, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1317, (27 October - 2 November 2016)
Friday,24 March, 2017
Issue 1317, (27 October - 2 November 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Special enough?

Maarati
Maarati
Al-Ahram Weekly

Maserati, the Italian car brand, decided to pave its way to the Egyptian market as part of a new strategy that aims to boost sales in the Middle East in general. However, the challenge does not seem easy for the Italians who should be equipped with genuine reasons to persuade a loyal Egyptian businessman to get out of his German ride and jump into their new Italian suit. “Our cars are in a class of their own. You can’t compare them with other brands,” Mohamed Qandil, managing director of Maserati Egypt, confidently said.

It would be impressive to see cars from bedroom wall posters popping out in real life but what of dreams? That’s a question that needs some thinking especially when you’re spending a whopping LE2 million for the newcomer Maserati Ghibli baseline.

What type of car should a nobleman get to satisfy his everyday desires? A car that looks confident every time his eyes fall on it, an aggressive look that reflects his inner determination to succeed, an exclusive automobile piece rarely seen on the road. The Ghibli meets all this. Even better from the inside, with an interior that comes straight from Italy and sterling enough to make you feel like you’re wearing an expensive yet comfortable Versace suit, it has thick comfy perforated leather seats, stitched with harmony, with the leather extended to the dashboard to make you believe that you are sitting in a special Italian lounge. When you step down you will love looking back to watch the elegant Italian design, but try not to look at the rear end. That will make you feel you bought a Ford Mondeo.    

Imagine taking this extra luxurious ride with its V6 engine that outputs 330 hp and 500 nm of torque to the highway heading to your vacation property in the North Coast or El-Gouna when all of a sudden two BMWs fly by -- a BMW 640i Gran-coupe with all its luxury and leisure and nearly the same engine power as the Ghibli, then the LE1,250,000 BMW X5 with a scary 4.4L V8 roaring under the bonnet that you can't even cope with on the road. You can give the lady sitting in the passenger seat next to you many excuses. One of them and the easiest is, “you can’t compare an SUV with a luxury sedan”, exactly like what Qandil said. But is the Egyptian mindset tuned that way?

Most car consumers in Egypt are always eager to get the most out of what they spend on. Put another way, they would prefer to get more flesh with a cheaper price regardless of what kind of car they were aiming to buy in the first place. You can find someone wanting to buy a BMW 7 series with its mind blowing price tag but out of nowhere changes his or her mind in the showroom after bumping into the X5, knowing that it is even more powerful and costs much less with all the luxury in the world. So, if you are a typical Egyptian kind of a car consumer, you will spend the whole journey from Cairo to the North Coast or El-Gouna thinking whether you spent your money wisely. But how many Maseratis are there on the road? How many BMWs and Mercedes? It’s like you tailor a suit knowing that you won’t go to a party if somebody else is wearing it, like getting an expensive suit on sale, if you’re lucky enough to find your size.

In cars, travelling abroad and seeing your precious BMW 5 series or Mercedes E-Class operating as a taxi taking you from the airport to your hotel, is a heartbreak even before you start your trip. “Maserati sells each year nearly 46,000 cars compared to BMW and Mercedes which sell nearly 1,800,000 cars a year,” said Qandil.

If power is one of your main concerns, then the 330hp that the V6 Ghibli baseline puts on the road is not enough. Keeping in mind the size of this car, the V8 suits it better and makes it more satisfying to the owner, but Maserati decided to save the musical V8 to the Quattroporte and Granturismo, and suck 450 hp / 550 nm from the V6 and throw it into the higher lines of the Ghibli, which are the Ghibli-S, and Ghibli-SQ4 (all wheel drive). Agreeing that nothing comes for free, Maserati’s more powerful versions of the Ghibli will demand that you dig into your pockets even deeper, so to get the Ghibli-S you will have to spend more than LE2 million and for the Ghibli-SQ4 maybe LE2,500,000. Such prices will sow doubts in people who are keen on getting served with every penny they spend, as the budget is already quite close or even passing the BMW top notch 740i 2017 which stands near the LE2,400,000 price tag along with the Mercedes S400, famous among businessmen.

Buying this type of Maserati automobile requires someone who doesn’t usually go into a store and pick up any drink from the shelf. Rather, it needs those who look for aged bottles and Cuban cigars, collectors who will walk miles just to own a limited edition item to make them feel special, someone who doesn’t need a challenge to prove himself anymore.

There are decisions in life that are mind driven and others that are driven by the heart. If your mind chooses Ghibli you might spend some time thinking about it, but if you switch your mind off and your heart falls in love with it, you will surely find many reasons to explain your selection.


Maserati Ghibli

Powertrain

Engine     
3.0 L V6
(twin-turbocharged petrol)

Transmission     8-speed ZF automatic

Dimensions
Wheelbase     2,998 mm (118.0 in)

Length     
4,971 mm (195.7 in)

Width     
2,100 mm (82.7 in)

Height     
1,461 mm (57.5 in)

Kerb weight     1,810 kg (3,990 lb)

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