Welcome to My Wheels, Michel. There are countless fabulous sports saloons out there and narrowing your choice down can be hard, but you picked up our 2014 Car of the Year winner, the Ghibli. Happy with it?
Thanks for featuring me in the magazine. I am delighted with it. I’d say it is the sexiest looking car in its segment with outstanding performance and a unique exhaust note. It is the perfect blend of sportiness and elegance.
It’s been customised a bit; tell us why you went for a camouflage wrap…
Well, when I bought it I never realised that the car would be such a success for Maserati and they would sell like hot cakes. I started to see black Ghiblis at every traffic light and decided that mine ought to look different. I love to stand out, it’s in my personality! So I personalised the car a little and made it a reflection of who I am. I turned to a trusted car wrapping company and after several rounds of design ideas, we decided we’d keep the car colour the same but make it matte and add the glossy camouflage patterns in the same colour. It gave it the personalised look I was after as well as respecting the elegance of the car while bringing out its sporty spirit.
It is not flashy but it is unique. You can see a lot of wrapped cars in gold and velvet and other colours that cry out for attention, however I believe that the wrap I have is tasteful and maintains the original lines of the car. It gets the attention that the car deserves and that makes me happy.
You were a Porsche man before buying the Maserati. What made you opt for it?
I had my Cayman S for almost nine years and I believed that my next car was going to be another Porsche but in those nine years I got married and was blessed with two gorgeous girls. So a two-door sportscar was no longer an option (it will be back in my life at one point or another!) I had to look for a more practical family saloon but during my search, nothing excited me.
I was looking for a car with a sophisticated exterior, unique interior and with a sporty and youthful character but which was also comfortable, safe and large enough to accommodate my family and this led me to the Maserati. It was love at first sight — and when I started it up the sound just hypnotised me and when I drove it the power captured me. I had to buy it! It was the perfect family car choice.
It puts a smile on your face then…
A big one! Every time I start the engine in my garage and I hear the rumble of the exhaust, it makes me smile. I have had it for three years and I have done over 87,000km in it. Driving a twin-turbo, 410bhp Italian exotic is incredibly fun. I have done a lot of trips with my family and friends, visited many places and driven on many roads with it.
At the Maserati Owners Club UAE, we always organise events for the Maserati owners in the UAE to enjoy driving their cars. We always tend to choose the nice, remote and bendy roads that we don’t drive on every day and we have had overnight stays at wonderful hotels in the UAE.
Another thrilling experience was a driving session at Yas Marina Circuit, it was amazing — I touched 286kph! I also participated in the Dubai Grand Parade with more than 30 Maseratis but my favourite road trip here in the UAE was to Jebel Jais where we had the pleasure to drive there with a police escort. We always practice safe and responsible driving in all our club activities and we’re looking forward to driving to Jabal Akhdar in Oman this year.
I must say I am very proud of my car and to be associated with the Maserati Owners Club UAE through which I have made some very close friends.
Tell us more about the blown 3.0-litre V6 under that sculpted bonnet. Powerful enough for you?
Power is addictive and you always want more and more. We don’t have autobahns here in the UAE and you have to respect the law and observe the speed limit. But it all hinges on how you get to that speed limit, and the Ghibli’s 410bhp gets you there with a pretty large grin. The power delivery is ever so smooth and at times it’s easy to forget that this is a saloon with a big boot! And that exhaust note is just so thrilling.
Even before buying this car I always thought that Maseratis had the best exhaust note in the market.
We’re glad you’re happy and wish you many more smiles to the gallon! You have always had a passion for cars haven’t you…
Yes, looking back at my childhood photos, I can say it pretty much has been with me all my life. From my first push car to watching Formula One with my father, going all over Lebanon chasing rally cars and going karting with my brother and friends, I can really say that my passion for motoring has been with me all my life.
My first car was a manual 1978 BMW 730 — I was the first among my friends to have my own car and I remember cramming as many of my friends into it as possible and drive around. I really loved driving it.
While at university, I bought one of the first Alfa Romeo 156 that came to the region in 1998. It was one of the first saloons to feature hidden rear door handles and mine had the large rear wing and the Momo interior. I believe that’s where my passion for owning Italian cars came from.
Then I moved to the UK where I decided to drive a Smart which was not a very smart decision given my size! After returning to the region in 2006, I bought my Porsche which I had personalised with some red details in the interior and exterior.
Your wife understands your passion, doesn’t she…
Yes she sure does — every year on our anniversary, she surprises me with a supercar to drive for the weekend! From all the cars that I have driven, I would say the one that I believe is the best was the Ferrari 458. The control, acceleration and sound was just sublime.
She’s awesome! Finally, what is your dream car?
Just one? I have so many I would need a garage for them all! There’d be a Land Rover Defender in there, a Porsche Carrera Targa, Maserati Ghibli, Ferrari 488 and a Harley Davidson Road King.