Maserati Ghibli Diesel
The handsome Ghibli shares clear links with the bigger Quattroporte
- Pretty exterior design is different from key rivals
- Impressive new diesel engine
- Smart new cabin works well
- Good comfort levels
- Rear legroom is restricted
- The Ghibli is still an expensive car and so are the options
- Ride quality suffers on poor roads
- Quattroporte is a bigger and more exclusive car for similar money
It's rare for any manufacturer to enter a brand-new segment but Maserati is doing just that with its Ghibli. Rarer still is a manufacturer to deliver a car in a lower segment rather than a higher one, but the Ghibli sits below the luxury performance Quattroporte and the sporty Gran Coupe models as an entrant in the premium saloon segment.
An iconic sporting brand, Maserati has enjoyed a good deal of success in the UK with its stylish Quattroporte saloon and the twin pleasures of the Gran Coupe and Gran Cabrio. However all these models are relatively expensive and compete in markets where volumes are small, but the Ghibli is aiming to change that.
Although still a costly car relatively speaking, the Ghibli is designed to compete in the premium sports saloon segment alongside key German rivals. It's pricing puts it against the more exclusive models in this sector which offer coupe-like styling and increased performance. Even so, this is still the least expensive Maserati on sale today by some margin.
The Ghibli also marks another significant milestone for the marquee in that it is the first diesel model to be offered by the company. The brand-new V6 unit has been designed by Maserati and manufactured by parent company Ferrari, as have the new petrol units. The introduction of a diesel shows that Maserati is serious about competing with more mainstream machines.
Although the Ghibli's architecture is based on the Quattroporte, much of the car is new including the exterior panels, the diesel engine and also the cabin. A new design incorporates the must-have technology of the moment in the shape of a large touchscreen, but it also moves on from the previous button-heavy design that is still used in the older models.
Our verdict on the Maserati Ghibli Diesel
The Ghibli is a big step for Maserati but a sensible one. It successfully brings the strong image of the brand down to a more accessible level and into competition with rival brands that simply don't have the same impact. Although not best in class in all areas it is stylish, good to drive, comfortable and desirable.
Maserati claim that the Ghibli has substantially reduced costs compared to other models in the range, and with the diesel option selected it will at least be close to its key rivals in this respect. It still however may be relatively costly to insure and to repair.
Space and practicality
The Ghibli is a sizeable car but perhaps because of its heavily stylised approach it is not as space efficient as some of its rivals. In the front the space is good in respect of both head and legroom but in the rear legroom is relatively restricted, although headroom is fine. The boot however offers a more than respectable amount of space for a car of this size.
Controls and display
The new layout debuting in the Ghibli is a big improvement on the one still used on Maserati coupes, with clear and attractive instruments, a new electronic display between them and the big touchscreen in the centre. It represents a big step forward and puts it on a par with many key rivals.
The Ghibli has comfortable seats front and rear, although back seat passengers have a little less room than would be ideal. Noise levels are also well-managed, particularly the refinement of the diesel engine. The suspension is generally well-composed but on rougher roads it can struggle at times and deliver unwanted intrusion into the cabin.
A car wearing this particular badge will inevitably be a target for thieves, but a standard fit alarm and immobiliser system play their part. A worthwhile investment would be a tracking system just in case the worst happens.
The important key safety features are all present and correct on the Ghibli, but the less obvious factors such as the powerful Brembo brakes and sharp handling also contribute to overall safety.
Even though this is a diesel it still has the Maserati genes running through it. The V6 power unit responds sharply, sounds exciting when in Sport mode and has strong power and torque. The steering is responsive too and the suspension well-judged in terms of handling. The various modes which can be enabled help the driver to get the most out of the Ghibli too.
Family car appeal
The Ghibli has sufficient space to accommodate a small family and the rear seats have Isofix anchorage points for child seats. However the fine materials might be easily spoilt by the average toddler.
First car appeal
The Ghibli is too expensive and almost certainly too difficult to insure for a newly-qualified driver.
Quality and image
In previous Maseratis the quality of materials has been excellent but build quality has been somewhat mixed, but the Ghibli shows that it's possible to have both. The Ghibli also has an image which is the envy of its more mainstream rivals, even though it is a relatively cheap model.
As a four-door saloon good accessibility is expected and on most fronts the Ghibli delivers. Front seat occupants will have no trouble climbing aboard, but those sitting in the back have less room in the footwell making life a little more difficult. Access to the boot is straightforward however with a easy to operate bootlid and a well-shaped aperture.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
Governing most of the major functions in the Ghibli is a brand-new touchscreen system including the audio system. Like most manufacturers in this segment there is a high end system available above the standard fit item, but in both cases the sound quality is superb and easy to operate.
Colours and trim
As you might expect in a car like this the Ghibli blends stylish design and fine materials. Perhaps not best suited to bright shades, the Ghibli's clean cut good looks deserve tasteful and discreet shades. On the inside a few more splashes of colour are welcome, but there is plenty of scope for the buyer to make their own decisions.
Visibility from the Ghibli isn't perfect - thank the stylish shape and the small windows for that - but thankfully the fitment of parking sensors and an optional reversing camera take much of the stress out of it. It's important to keep any eye on the costly alloy wheels against kerbs too.
Tyre repair kit fitted as standard, spare wheel optional.
Petrol engine options - 3.0-litre (326bhp, 404bhp). Diesel engine options - 3.0-litre (271bhp). Transmission options: Eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Trim levels: Diesel, Ghibli, Ghibli S.
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