The Maserati Ghibli is a sleek and sporty alternative to more mainstream executive cars from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, but it’s comparatively expensive to run.
The Maserati Ghibli is the cheapest car that the company sells in the UK – a sleek and sporty saloon that is an alternative to the likes of the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF.
And, it doesn’t take much to work out what the Ghibli’s biggest attraction is: the way it looks. Compared to the models that most people who want this sort of car buy – the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class, as well as the 5 Series and XF – the Ghibli looks positively exotic. And, when first impressions count for so much, that’s important.
For the same reason, the Ghibli’s typically Italian, stylish cabin is a great 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 from what you’ll see in those alternatives. Admittedly, it’s not quite as classy as some of those German cars, and the infotainment system isn’t as easy to use as, say, BMW’s iDrive system, but there’s nothing you couldn’t live.
It’s spacious in the front, too, with enough adjustment on the driver’s seat and steering wheel for most drivers to get comfortable. However, things are a little tighter in the back, where the more coupe-like roofline limits the available headroom and the transmission tunnel in the floor means it’s hard to see it as more than a four-seater in everyday use.
Likewise, the boot is a decent size, but 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 of the boot.
On the road, too, it’s a similar story: the Maserati Ghibli is good, but there are some drawbacks. For example, on every model, the suspension is on the firm side, so you’ll feel a lot of bumps – which is quite possibly not what you want in an upmarket saloon car.
On the other hand, the Ghibli handles very 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. So, if you want an executive car with a sporty side, the Ghibli could be just the thing.
Not many cars make your heart and head fight quite so much as the Ghibli. You know that it’s not the best car you can buy, but when it looks this good, you can’t help just wanting one.
Also playing a major part in giving the car a sporty feel are the engines. You can choose from two V6s – one petrol, one diesel – and both are paired with an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox, which shifts smoothly on its own, but also allows manual changes.
Whichever engine you choose, you’ll get strong performance – even the diesel gets the Maserati Ghibli to 62mph in just over six seconds – but the petrol will be much more expensive to run, as it’s far less economical. However, the wonderful noise it makes could well tempt you, especially as the diesel engine can be quite rough and noisy when you work it hard.
The diesel model also looks the best one to choose, because it’s cheaper to buy. And, as an added incentive, that will also help to keep company car tax bills down – if you’re lucky enough to have a Maserati on your company car list.
Trouble is, the diesel is more expensive to run than the more economical alternatives, as well as being expensive to insure and service. To make matters worse, as the Maserati Ghibli comes only with big engines, the starting price for the range is far higher than for the equivalent models from BMW and Audi, which are available with smaller, less powerful engines.
Overall, that mixed message very much sums up the Maserati Ghibli. Yes, some things about it are great: it’s great to drive (on roads that suit it), as well as being the most affordable Maserati and wonderful to look at. But, fundamentally, it’s not as good a car as more humble models from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. If you can accept that, though, it’s worth a look.