At a glance
- New price: £49,165 - £49,165
- Used price: £27,420 - £49,945
- Distinctive looks
- Badge appeal
- Some quality lacking
- Not that efficient
- Rear space
The nameplate might be familiar – it dates back to 1966 – but the new Maserati Ghibli ushers in a number of firsts for the proud and heritage-laden firm. Using the Quattroporte’s chassis this is the first time the company has produced two four-door saloons at the same time, and more tellingly it’s the first Maserati with a diesel engine.
There are actually three engines available for the firm’s new Sports saloon; two twin-turbo V6 petrol engines and a 3.0-litre single turbo V6 diesel all produced exclusively for Maserati by Ferrari at its Maranello plant. You can choose between 407bhp and 327bhp with the twin turbo units, but both will sprint from 0-62mph in around five seconds and sound glorious as they do so thanks to active exhaust valves.
Despite the Maserati Active Sound System, which uses valves near the tailpipes to enhance the output under higher throttle inputs, the diesel can’t match its petrol brethren for aural drama (though in truth it does sound as good if not better than many diesel rivals), but does offer impressive performance. It’s the most powerful single-turbo 3-litre diesel on the market, with 273bhp and 600Nm, the latter produced from only 2,000rpm; though it is one of the noisier diesel engines on start-up.
The 0-62mph sprint is completed in 6.3 seconds, with every shift from the eight-speed automatic gearbox completed smoothly and quickly. Only when pulling away from rest can the ‘box get confused and delay take-up occasionally and we occasionally found it easy to overshoot reverse when using the centre-console mounted lever.
All the while it’s doing this it’ll offer the ability to hit 47mpg (though we struggled to find the right side of 40mpg such was this car’s eagerness to be ‘enjoyed’) and emits 158g/km. Not class-leading – you’ll need to look towards the BMW 5 Series for that – but impressive figures for such a large, sporty and powerful vehicle.
Agile chassis, agile design
Maserati is renowned for its sporting GT cars, and while the Ghibli sports four doors it has been deliberately styled to be recognisable as a sporting four-door coupe. That means the roofline is 20mm lower than the Quattroporte it shares its chassis with, while the wheelbase is 173mm and the overall length 290mm shorter. Extra width on the front and rear tracks adds to the car’s aggressive stance.
That said it does sport an almost un-comprehensibly long nose in relation the incredibly short bootlid, which looks stunted from some angles. Still, on the move the Ghibli looks wonderfully mean and distinctive, not least thanks to the prominent grille and aggressively sharp headlights.
All but the diesel (51:49) sport a 50:50 weight distribution for agile handling, and adaptive ‘Skyhook’ suspension is an option across the range. Whatever model you buy you’ll find a mechanical limited slip differential for greater rear traction, and on the road the Ghibli generates plenty of grip.
Quick direction changes are little problem also, though the steering could offer more precise feedback around the dead-ahead, and it’s easy to forget just how much car you are throwing around – nearly two tonnes. Body roll is noticeable at extreme cornering angles, but with 19-inch wheels the payoff is a ride comfort at faster speeds especially that is comparable to the best.
Bold, beautifully trimmed and comfortable interiors – along with that analogue clock – have been a feature of all Maseratis and to a degree the Ghibli is no different. Those used to Fiat and Chrysler group products will some minor switchgear (and the eight-inch Garmin-sat nav and touchscreen) from lower rent products, and some poor quality plastics do make an appearance with surprising regularity.
However, certain areas are done very well, with supple and soft Poltrona Frau leather upholstery, a rich and delicate Alcantara headlining and real carbon fibre for the centre console (a £1,710 option) and centre of the steering wheel rim. The aluminium gearshift paddles behind it (£245 option) are a joy to use, and bring with them the benefit of increased control of the ‘box.
The front seats are clearly the best ones in the house though, especially if you specify the £980 eight-way power adjustment, as the heavily sculpted rear bench is tight for legroom and really only suitable for two people thanks to the high transmission tunnel. At least the 500-litre boot is competitive, though the small opening may limit the size of some intended cargo.
What it’ll cost
If you’re considering a Ghibli then you’ll need the think end of £50,000, and a few choice option boxes ticked up will tickle that ticket price beyond £60,000. That’s a lot of money, and crucially one this car’s biggest problems – rivals such as the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar XF can offer similar performance, efficiency, equipment and appeal for a lot less.
That said few are as distinctive, or command such romanticism around the badge, so if you want to stand out with your executive car choice then we wouldn’t chastise you for choosing the Italian. Read on for the full Maserati Ghibli review.