A century ago, the Maserati Brothers started manufacturing spark plugs for the burgeoning Italian motor industry. Within a decade, they founded their namesake marque, renowned for uber-stylish coachbuilt automobiles and remarkable high performance racing machines. Maseratis graced the reviewing stands at international auto shows with magnificent creations from the design houses of Vignale and others that quickly went into the garages of kings and shahs.

At the Turin Motor Show in 1966, Maserati debuted a two-door coupe, the Ghibli. Aimed squarely at rivals Ferrari 365 and Lamborghini Miura, the Ghibli proved to be the most popular of the trio. The 2014 Ghibli features four doors and is Maserati’s entry into the premium luxury sedan market. Sourcing the twin turbo V-6 from corporate partner Ferrari, mated to a fully automatic eight-speed transmission and available all-wheel drive, the Ghibli salutes its performance heritage with aplomb. The unmistakably Italian design is a balance of sleek sweeping lines and signature styling cues culminating in a tastefully refined visually exciting automobile.

The real excitement of a Maserati is driving the machine. Thanks to the gracious folks at Maserati of Cincinnati, I had an opportunity to do just that as Scott Biehl and I motored around Cincy in style.

My first and most prevailing impression of the Ghibli is the quality of the interior; materials and craftsmanship are superior, seating position is comfortable, and sound levels are well controlled and enhanced by the Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system. Ergonomic needs are well-satisfied with a function control cluster next to the gear lever, giving the driver the ability to change suspension, transmission and sport functions with a single touch. The aroma of lush hides and carpeting blankets your senses as you settle into the seats. The senses of sight and smell thoroughly stimulated at this point, the sense of hearing goes into overdrive as the engine springs to life.

As you slip the eight-speed automatic transmission into gear, the Ghibli glides into motion. The superior ride quality is immediately evident. For decades, the Italian designers have been adept at dialing the harshness out of the ride while not sacrificing the driver’s connection with the road; it provides the proper amount of control to be comfortable at any speed. The Maserati designers are celebrating that tradition in grand style with the new Ghibli.

Press the accelerator and the lush ride is enhanced by some truly quality performance in the form of the twin turbo V-6 delivering over 400 horsepower through an all-wheel drive system that works with the Maserati Stability Program to maximize grip in all conditions. The Ghibli launches in a rush of motion with absolutely no drama—just exhilaration. As the engine taps the rev limiter, a bark comes through the exhaust before the lightning quick gear change occurs. The Ghibli is a luscious machine.

Paralleling the engineering improvements that Maserati has embraced, they also have built the appropriate support system of dealers and service centers. From the driver’s seat, this car appeals to your senses all around.

Driving Business

With the rigors of winter fading in the rear view mirror, classic car and motorcycle gatherings will soon begin again to the delight of many. The Cincy area hosts a number of annual car shows that have become a vital part of those communities. Sharonville hosts its 37th Annual Classic Car Show on April 27, the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance also marks its 37th annual exhibit and the Pumpkin Run Nationals is back at the Clermont County Fairgrounds for the 39th time in 2014. Countless other neighborhoods host Hot Rod, Custom and other specialty car and bike shows throughout the year.

Communities embrace the entrants and organizers with zeal. The shows bring a jovial spirit, with people out to enjoy the cars and the setting while also exploring the community. Rich Arnold of the Sharonville Chamber of Commerce tells us the Sharonville Classic Car Show draws over 400 display cars and more than 7,000 people into the town square, delivering a huge economic impact to the local businesses in one day. “Restaurants, shops and gas stations are packed throughout the day of the show, benefitting the merchants that support the chamber and the community,” Arnold adds.

The Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, a multi-day event, brings roughly 65 percent of its entrants from outside the Tristate area, filling hotels from Mariemont to Blue Ash. With over 220 vehicles—many with crews to care for the beauties—plus around 5,000 spectators, the annual event chimes in handsomely to the local economy.

The recent addition of the Rallye Porsches To Mariemont (RPM) has been a shining example of a community embracing the camaraderie these shows bring; Mayor Dan Policastro picks the car he would “Most Like To Campaign In” and Police Chief Rick Hines picks the car that would make the best Police Car, all in good fun. RPM Chairman Grant Karnes notes, “The full economic effect goes well beyond the day of the event and is certainly received in multiples over the ensuing six to nine months as participants and families return to the community.”

Rural areas have had great success with the car shows. The most notable is the Jack Roush Day each autumn, when thousands of cars descend on Manchester, Ohio for the festivities. Tom Cross, the director of the Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau, says, “This Jack Roush show has grown in leaps and bounds. Plus the county’s Ramblin’ Relics show brings in fewer cars, but for a longer time, which helps our hotels and restaurants again. Both of these shows are real assets to Adams County.”

The Big Daddy King Caddy of all area car shows is the Pumpkin Run Nationals at the Clermont County Fairgrounds in Owensville; this event puts almost 3,000 vehicles on display and draws more than 16,000 visitors during the three-day event. With its national reputation, the Pumpkin Run draws people from across North America. Hot rods and custom cars inundate the area for days filling eateries, lodges and shops across Clermont County. Car shows, cruise-ins and bike nights are big business in the community.

See you at a show!

Countless other neighborhoods host Hot Rod, Custom and other specialty car and bike shows throughout the year.

Schedule of Events

April 12, Motoring in Focus.com, Driving tour to Adams County, depart Milford 9 a.m.

April 12, Ohio Valley Karting Association, Karting 101 and Orientation, G&J Raceway, Camden

April 19, Ohio Valley Austin Healey Club and Cinci Miatas, Driver Training and autocross, Milford

April 26, Fastiques Rod & Customs, Swap Meet and Cruise-In, Owensville

April 27, Sharonville Classic Car Show, Sharonville, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

May 3, Restoration Tech Session, Metalkraft Coachwerkes, Montgomery Rd, Cincy 10 a.m.

May 3-4, Bluegrass British Car Bash, Lexington, Ky.

May 10, Cinci Miatas, “Car and Driver Test Loop” drive to Hocking Hills

May 10, Indianapolis Grand Prix, Indy Motor Speedway, Speedway, Ind.

May 12-15, Ultimate 356 Driving Tour, Tail of the Dragon, Tennessee and North Carolina

May 15-17, MW Donzi Club, AOTH XIV, Jamestown Resort, Lake Cumberland, Ky.

May 24, British Transportation Museum, Second Avenue Show, Dayton

May 25, Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, Indy Motor Speedway, Speedway, Ind.

June 4-8, Brickyard Vintage Racing Spectacular, Indy Motor Speedway, Speedway, Ind.

June 7, Corvettes of Hamilton Cruise-In, Chesterwood Village, West Chester

June 8, Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, Mt. Lookout

Recurring Events:

Thursday Evenings, Cruise the Square, downtown Sharonville

Friday Evenings, Mulberry Square Cruise-In, State Route 28, Milford

Saturday Mornings, Coffee & Cars, Fuel Coffee, 2726 Riverside Dr, Cincy, 8:30 a.m.

Saturday Mornings, Cars with Coffee and Donuts, Dunkin Donuts, Dixie Hwy, Fairfield 10 a.m.