Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mattel Maserati Ghibli sedan

With the growing popularity of the Fast and Furious movie franchise it was nothing unusual about Mattel joining the fray, but this year as its own separate line not associated with Hot Wheels and Matchbox?  Against competition that is fierce with Jada Toys a leader?  Still despite the odds they pressed through and now have a unique spot on the list.  While the line might not excite many collectors who prefer pristine, nicely-detailed cars over the rough and tumble versions for kids (for which this line is designed for) it does have a few unique features over Jada: more cars from the movie (including the upcoming The Fate and the Furious movie) and play sets where kids can play with their new cars.  Still there are a few unique ones out of some poorly-executed models and one of them is the Maserati Ghibli sedan.

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As Maserati's return to the US excelled after the coupe and spyder return, followed by the Quattroporte, the next step was to grow more with a mid-size sedan and an SUV.  Later this year replica's of the Levante SUV will start to appear,  while the Ghibli can be found now.  The Ghibli is desinged for those who need a smaller sedan than the large Quattroporte while still enjoying the beauty of Italian design.  The platform is shared with the Quattroporte but on a smaller wheelbase with a smaller engine: a 3.0L DOHC twin-turbo V6 that is built by Ferrar and produces 404 horsepower and 406 Ib-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission.  The suspension is tuned for a more sportier ride to match the Maserati image, and this is the first Maserati to offer a diesel engine for Europe and share a few interior pieces with Chrysler products.

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The look of this car in dark green is stunning, even though the car that Shaw drives in the movie is a silver one.  The dimensions are appropriate even though the car as a whole might be passed off as a Disney Cars character (in fact, I had to look at the Cars isle just to see if this was a retool of an older Cars casting.  As it turns out they did make a Maserati for the Cars line but it was for the larger Quattroporte model).  The front has the caved-in grille with Trident badge nicely done and dark gray headlights; I added more details to the headlights and the chrome trim surround the grille.  The sides have the three portholes and multi-spoke wheels that look proper on this car; the downsides is that they are all plastic and there are some areas where the silver paint tends to bleed onto the tires.  The rear has slender taillights with quad exhaust tips and additional personal touches finish off the realistic look.

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The base shows off lots of detail with the engine, drivetrain, suspension, and exhaust details, and all now stand out thanks to a little silver details.  The interior, yes it has an interior, is nicely done with the leather seats front and rear, the 3-spoke steering wheel, the shifter on the center console, and the center stack layout.  The problem that I see here is that the dashboard sits too low but otherwise nicely done.  Despite a few small missteps this Ghibli is the best casting of the bunch as others have missing details, cheap shots of cost-cutting areas, wheels that don't match, and even worse interior setup.  Plus at the price offered one must wonder if this line will be a success?  Only time will tell and first it has to clear the popularity hurdle with the upcoming new Fast and Furious film in April.  If you want the best model of the group and love Italian design you cannot go wrong with this Maserati.

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