Maserati Ghibli Review & Prices
The Maserati Ghibli is a sleek and sporty alternative to more mainstream executive cars from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, but it’s much, much more expensive
What's not so good
Find out more about the Maserati Ghibli
Maserati aims to offer Italian exotic appeal at a more palatable price than, say, Ferrari. And in the Ghibli, you have a sleek and sporty saloon that is an alternative to the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar XF.
It’s a bit like the Armani Exchange brand: it brings the premium appeal of the Armani name, but its products are more practical and affordable. And to really make that point, Maserati has given the Ghibli a fuel-sipping mild-hybrid to go with its more lairy V6 and V8 options.
The biggest selling point of the Ghibli is the way it looks, both inside and out. It might be a design that’s several years old now, but it still looks more exotic than most premium saloons. In a world where first impressions matter, the allure of the styling and the badge is undeniable.
For the same reason, the Ghibli’s typically Italian, stylish cabin is a nice place to sit. Most of what you’ll see is shared with the larger and more expensive Quattroporte, which means it could hardly be more different than an Audi. Admittedly, the German alternatives still better it for both technology, fit and finish, but there’s still a real sense of occasion in the Maserati that they can’t match.
The Ghibli’s most recent update saw the interior freshened up with a new infotainment system that’s nicer to look at and easier to operate, while the materials have gone up a notch, too. The revisions are welcome, but the above point about the tech being a little off the pace still stands.
It’s spacious in the front, though, with enough adjustment on the driver’s seat and steering wheel for most people to get comfortable. However, things are tighter in the back, where the more coupe-like roofline means headroom is merely okay, kneeroom is poor, and the transmission tunnel in the floor means it’s hard to see it as more than a four-seater in everyday use. Think of it more like a BMW 3 Series than a 5 Series in terms of outright space.
Buying a Ghibli is very much letting your heart rule your head: You know that there are better alternatives, but you can't help being drawn to the name and the looks
Likewise, the 500-litre boot is a decent size, but it’s smaller than this car’s key competitors and it’s not the easiest to use. That’s because the high lip and relatively narrow opening make it quite hard to get larger items of luggage in and out.
On the road, too, the Maserati Ghibli is a mixed bag. For example, on every model, the suspension is on the firm side, so you’ll feel a lot of bumps, but it’s not as uncomfortable as you might think a sporty car would be.
On the other hand, the rear-wheel drive Ghibli handles quite well, and you can really enjoy it in the right circumstances. Its steering is swift and direct, the car is well balanced and it has decent grip. It’s a shame it can’t waft along like the best executive cars, but if you prioritise enjoying a winding road, the Ghibli is genuinely good fun.
If this is you, the Ghibli Trofeo is the one to go for – budget allowing, of course. It takes the sporty handling a step further without harming the ride too much, and is an alternative to the BMW M5.
Also playing a major part in giving the Maserati Ghibli a sporty feel are two of the three engines, a 430hp V6 in the Modena and the Trofeo’s 580hp V8, both of which are twin-turbo petrol-powered units built with some help from Ferrari, no less.
Both these engines offer fantastic performance and sound great while propelling you forward. If economy is more your thing, the third choice is a mild-hybrid base model that might be more your thing. It’s not as exciting but it doesn’t use as much fuel as the other two options.
A bigger problem than fuel economy is the fact that the Ghibli is noticeably more expensive to buy than equivalent models from BMW, Audi or Mercedes. That’s despite it offering less technology, space and comfort than those cars. You’re clearly paying for the badge.
Overall, that mixed message very much sums up the Maserati Ghibli. Yes, some things about it are good: it’s decent to drive (on roads that suit it), as well as being wonderful to look at. But, fundamentally, it’s a much less polished product than alternative executive cars, so you’ll have to really want one.
Unable to resist the allure of the badge? Check out our Maserati deals or find a great price on a used Maserati through our network of trusted dealers. We can even help you sell your car when the time comes.
The Maserati Ghibli has a RRP range of £75,945 to £159,625. Monthly payments start at £951.
Although the Maserati Ghibli is an alternative to the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6 in spirit, it’s not in price. While the Audi and BMW start around £40,000 and top out below £65,000, even the priciest, most-optioned-up versions are comfortably below the Maserati’s starting point.
The Mercedes is a bit pricier, but even then, the top-spec E-Class is on a par price-wise with the entry-level Ghibli. And that’s the one with the less exciting mild hybrid engine. If you want the sporty V6 you’re looking at close to £100,000, and about £25,000 more for the Trofeo. You have to really want the stylish Italian looks, Maserati badge and fruity engines, then.
The Maserati Ghibli is more fun to drive than most of its alternatives, but the hybrid loses some of the other engines’ excitement
Although the Ghibli has a sporty focus, it works well when you’re taking it easy around town. There are various drive modes for different scenarios, but if you just keep it in ‘normal’ the gearbox shifts smoothly and the brakes aren’t too grabby, making for effortless progress. You also get good visibility all around with a big back window, helping make it less stressful when you’re driving this expensive saloon around town.
You might expect the Ghibli to be uncomfortable over rough roads, but it’s actually not too bad. In fact, apart from the odd jolt through the cabin on sharp bumps and a general sense of being a touch more stiff than your typical executive saloon, it’s pretty smooth.
Particularly in the Trofeo version, the Ghibli is more comfortable than the BMW M5, Audi RS6 Avant or Mercedes E 63 S. The regular versions of those cars will be more comfortable and refined than the Maserati, though.
On the motorway
This refinement continues on the motorway. The gearbox is again silky smooth and the comfort levels are decent, if not quite up to the levels of its German equivalents. There’s very little wind noise at 70mph, which makes long distance driving more relaxing, but if you get models with big wheels you will notice some roar from the sporty tyres. Regardless, it’s a nice car to cruise around in.
On a twisty road
It’s the twisty stuff where the Ghibli really shines. Its rear-wheel drive layout helps it to feel more agile than most of its competition. There is a tendency for the front to struggle for grip if you push too hard into a corner, but if you can show restraint then throttle hard out of the corner, the Ghibli feels a bit loose and playful in a fun, friendly way.
The hybrid engine is the least sporty of the trio, but if you go for the top-spec model you’re treated to an engine that – while not quite as punchy as a BMW M5 – delivers good performance. The shifts are quick enough too, even though it’s a more old-fashioned torque converter design.
While front seat space isn’t too bad, boot space isn’t great and rear seat passengers will be rather cramped
The Maserati Ghibli is pretty spacious for those in front and it’s easy to get a comfortable driving position. However, the steering wheel is offset to the left a little, which means it can block your view of the rev counter. This can be very annoying if you’re shifting manually and want to know when you’re about to hit the red line…
What’s annoying regardless of how enthusiastically you’re driving is the quality of the storage on offer. The slender door bins mean you can’t fit a big bottle inside, while the cup holders are pretty narrow, so a small coffee cup is about all you can fit in there. There are some more cup holders under the centre armrest, but your average 500ml drinks bottle will stick out of the top meaning you can’t close the lid. Someone Google the Italian for ‘frustrating’.
Space in the back seats
It’s a similar story in the rear, where the narrow door bins aren’t good for much more than your keys and wallet, while there’s no load-through option to help carry longer items.
Kneeroom, too, is poor, so taller passengers might feel cramped after a while. On the plus side, headroom is okay and there’s good thigh support, so your passengers shouldn’t get achy legs on long trips.
Those in the middle seat might complain regardless, because the wide transmission tunnel means they’ll have to spread their legs either side. It can get rather cosy with three abreast.
If you’re hoping the poor cabin practicality is offset by a big boot, you might be disappointed. At 500 litres it’s a perfectly usable space, but it’s still smaller than the competition manages. Both the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 have 530 litres of space, while the Mercedes E-Class is the star pupil with 540 litres.
Although the shape is square, which makes it easier to pack items in the back, the saloon boot shape means it can be a little awkward to load long, large items inside, while the lip makes heavier luggage more awkward to take out.
The Maserati Ghibli interior oozes character, but it feels very dated next to more modern options from BMW and Audi
If character is key to you then the Maserati Ghibli makes a strong case for itself, with a more interesting cabin design than most of its alternatives. The Trofeo in particular gets some cool-looking seats (even if the upholstery design is reminiscent of garden furniture), while lashings of carbon-fibre are available at extra cost.
However, while it might be interesting to look at, it also feels rather dated compared to the German options on the table. For some, the almost pre-digital-era design will appeal, but in such a pricey model, it feels like a bit of a let down.
Despite the analogue look, there is an infotainment display on the dashboard. The 8.4-inch display isn’t particularly large, but it feels modern to use thanks to sharp graphics and slick, responsive design, and you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
One neat touch in the cabin is the wireless charging pad, which pops out of the dashboard, though there isn’t anywhere obvious to put your phone if you don’t want to use that.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the 330hp mild-hybrid that has the best economy and the lowest running costs. Official fuel figures suggest up to 34mpg is possible, while CO2 emissions are up to 213g/km, though we found 30mph was more likely in normal driving.
Opt for the 430hp V6 and economy drops to around 26mpg with CO2 emissions of up to 252g/km, while the 580hp V8 gets just 22mpg and sees CO2 emissions of up to 285g/km. Now, 22mpg isn’t great, but at least in our testing with the car we hit exactly this, so there will be no nasty surprises in the real world.
No nasty surprises until you start to make the most of the performance, that is. While filming the Trofeo for our YouTube review, we popped the car into its sporty Corsa drive mode to have some fun and fuel economy dropped to just 9mpg…
That really is a worst-case scenario, though. Still, however careful you drive there’s no getting away from the fact that those emissions figures mean first-year road tax is very high. The V8 falls into the highest bracket and the V6 is one below. Even the hybrid is pretty pricey, dropping just one more tax bracket.
And on top of that, all models are well above the £40,000 purchase price that requires you to pay a premium on your annual tax cost in years two to six. You’ll have to pay a bit more company car tax than your average BMW or Mercedes, too. Particularly as those models are available with a plug-in hybrid that drops the Benefit-in-Kind rate even further.
The Maserati Ghibli was put through Euro NCAP safety testing way back when it first went on sale in 2013. It scored five-out-of-five, but safety standards have moved on and tests are now more stringent. Despite this, its 95% rating for adult occupant protection is worthy of note for being really good, but its 79% score for child occupant protection wasn’t fantastic even at the time.
The driver assistance score of 81% is also impressive, but again shows how far these tests have progressed. Some choice equipment that is not included as standard, and instead requires an optional extra package at some expense, includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, and automatic emergency braking. This is true even of the Trofeo, meaning this £120,000 car is missing some assistance kit you’ll find on cars a fraction of the price.
Being sold in such low volumes means that it’s tricky to build a clear picture of the Maserati Ghibli’s reliability. However, while it might be easy to think that as a luxury Italian car it will be unreliable, that’s not necessarily the case. The non-hybrid engines have been built to Ferrari specifications, so have had more love than your average engine, while Maserati’s position within the Stellantis group means it has access to plenty of tried and tested parts.
Furthermore, Maserati offers a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, with extensions available up to five, seven and 10 years after the first registration.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.