- Three engines: all of which are V6
- Two twin-turbo petrols and a diesel
- All provide ample performance
If speed is your thing then the performance offered by the Maserati Ghibli will impress, regardless of whether you choose petrol or diesel.
Ferrari V6 petrol engines
Built by Ferrari at its Maranello plant, the 3.0-litre V6 units are fundamentally the same, with the top-end Ghibli S offering more power from its twin turbochargers. That means the range-topper pushes out 430hp, which along with 580Nm of torque means the Maserati can complete the 0-62mph dash in 4.9 seconds before topping out at 178mph.
It’ll do so with a real roar too, thanks to the Maserati Active Sound System which opens valves in the exhaust at high rpm or engine load to raise the volume of the engine note, while ensuring it remains civilised and quiet at a constant cruise or at low speed.
Choose the less powerful 3.0-litre V6 and you’re not likely to feel short-changed though, as this model of Ghibli still produces 350hp and 500Nm of torque, so can complete the same benchmark sprint in just 5.5 seconds.
V6 Ghibli Diesel
The Ghibli is the first Maserati - since the firm's creation in 1914 - to use a diesel engine. in fact the first time the Italian firm has fitted a diesel engine into one of its cars – and it’s been around since 1914.
But while it’s very much a diesel in name, it’s far more petrol-like in its performance; the 0-62mph sprint takes only 6.3 seconds. That’s thanks partly to the headline 275hp power figure, though mostly to the massive 600Nm of torque available from 2,000rpm.
It even sounds good, once you’ve got past the initial start-up clatter and put it in Sport mode and the mid-range shove means that on a twisting back road – even with slower traffic to pass – it never feels lacking in grunt.
Eight-speed automatic gearbox
There’s no option for a manual gearbox on the Ghibli, so no matter what engine or trim you opt for you’ll have an eight-speed automatic.
The good news is it’s a decent unit, with well-spaced ratios and a mostly smooth gearchange – the optional paddles behind the steering wheel giving excellent manual control should you wish, and feel great.
However, we’ve noticed that in crawling traffic, the Ghibli’s gearbox can transmit a noticeable shunt through to the cabin as it decides which gear to pull away in after slowing down. It’s nothing too alarming, but doesn’t feel like something you should be experiencing in a luxurious performance saloon.
- Excellent body control for such a big car
- Little body roll and quick steering
- Adaptive damping alters handling
At just a shade under five metres long the Ghibli can’t be considered a small car, but Maserati’s sporting heritage has clearly played a part in how it performs. It’s no lazy saloon.
Certainly there are times when you forget just how much mass is around and behind you. On a smoothly driven dry road the Ghibli generates impressive levels of grip, and you barely notice its size unless it’s a particularly narrow street.
There is some initial bodyroll as you tip the car into a turn (the optional adaptive dampers will improve this) but once committed to your line the Ghibli remains flat and stable and very easy to manage.
In fact it feels more agile than it has any right to, though more steering feel through the rim would be welcomed and on the ragged edge as its kerbweight comes back into play.
Drive it beyond its natural limits and the stability control system will intervene, ensuring that all remains in control, however the car’s Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) system is there to prevent this happening in the first place.
With the system turned off the back end will relinquish grip and do so without much warning, requiring quick hands and decisive corrective action to maintain contact with the black stuff.
At least the six-piston front brakes are up to the job of hauling down the Ghibli’s speed should it all go wrong, and there is refreshingly little dive or squat under braking or acceleration.