First drive review: 2021 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo adds substance to style

Maseratis seem to put form over function, so I haven’t understood their appeal. But the 2021 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo adds some substance to back up its flash, and I had the feeling it would worm its way into my heart.

The Trofeo (trophy) models are the fastest, baddest, and most expensive models in the Maserati lineup, and this year the Ghibli and Quattroporte get their own versions with the same engine found in the Levante Trofeo: a 580-hp, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 making 538 lb-ft of torque. That’s exciting because the Ghibli is the smallest and lightest Maserati, so it can make the best use of that prodigious power.


For a high-performance variant, styling is rather subdued. The Ghibli Trofeo has a small Trofeo badge on each fender, small bits of color for accents (such as the green/white/red Italian trim on the B-pillar), and functional hood vents. The easiest way to pick it out might be the noise from the V-8 as the car sprints away.

I was introduced to the Ghibli Trofeo at one of my favorite places: Willow Springs Raceway in the high California desert. An afternoon complete with a series of hard launches, a slalom course, and laps around the big track were enough to paint a pretty complete picture of the Ghibli Trofeo’s performance potential, which is considerable.

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