Motoring expert Chris Walsh test drives the new model…
A couple of years ago, Maserati astonished the world’s media by announcing plans to build 50,000 cars a year by 2015. A rather bold statement, it was said at the time, for a company that just two years previously, mustered their best-ever global output of around 6,000. But with the all-new and extremely formidable Ghibli flanking the already established Quattroporte, Maserati is now shifting more like 6,000 a month. And that initial estimation looks set to be quickly overtaken.
But, in achieving these numbers, Maserati has had to make one or two sensitive concessions: the biggest is offering customers the first-ever Maserati with a diesel engine. You may well baulk at such an unthinkable notion, but Maserati realise that if you build it, it will sell – and customers are clearly snapping up the chance to have their very own Maserati that has a fuel consumption of over 47mpg. But those staunch traditionalists still have an outlet, as a new range of petrol engines – which have been manufactured by Ferrari no less – complement the diesel option. And for good measure, these new petrol engines are now more powerful, more exciting and more eco-friendly than ever.
The two versions available in the Ghibli are both twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6s and the most powerful is the rear-wheel driven Ghibli S. This model produces over 400 bhp at 5,500 rpm and can create 550 Nm of torque from 1,750 rpm.
This same car does the 62 mph in an orderly 5.0 seconds dead and has a quoted top speed of 177mph. But if you want something a little less leggy, the standard Ghibli comes with a reduced 325 bhp, 500 Nm of torque and carries an improved fuel consumption of 29.4 mpg. But the lighter option is still capable of doing 62 mph in 5.6 seconds, which is presumably quick enough for most.
But back to the diesel for now, which is not only the first to wear a Maserati badge, but is also the most powerful ‘single-turbo’ 3-litre engine on the market. With an impressive 271 bhp and 600 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm, it is capable of getting to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds. It can even manage 155mph, while just 158 grams of CO2 comes from the rear and an impressive 47.9mpg is possible on a combined cycle.
Resonant and Inspiring
Thankfully, the memorable and engaging engine note that instantly identifies every Maserati remains very much intact, thanks to the new Maserati Active Sound system. Two sound actuators fitted near the exhaust tailpipes accentuate the engine’s most distinctive tones and modulate them precisely to suit the way the car is being driven. When the driver presses the Sport button on the central tunnel, the sound becomes more resonant and inspiring.
AThe outline of the Ghibli’s body reflects a smooth coupe-like philosophy for the four-door saloon, while there are stronger hints around the Ghibli’s grille and headlights. The grille takes its inspiration from the current GranTurismo and shares a direct line back to the amazing A6 GCS classic of the 1950s.
Inside, the Ghibli sets itself apart from the Quattroporte with its own dashboard design that reflects a sportier and more youthful experience without losing any of the luxury expected. Like all Maseratis, the Ghibli’s interior is built around a driver interface that is fairly intuitive and simple to use. The instrument cluster features a large speedometer and a large tachometer that flank a 7in display, which operates many of the car’s operational features. Many of the vehicle’s settings are oriented towards the driver and are controlled with the buttons alongside the gear shifter, while other on-board settings can be set by the driver via the Maserati Touch Control (MTC) at the centre of the dashboard.
The Ghibli S standard equipment includes leather seats, dual-zone climatecontrolled air conditioning and active cruise control, but Maserati also provides an exceptional degree of personalisation with a vast range of materials for the customer to choose from, including wood, carbon fibre, leather, Alcantara ceiling and numerous optional choices.
At a Glance
Model: Maserati Ghibli S
Priced From: £63,400
Powerplant: Twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6
Drivetrain: Rear Wheel Drive
Transmission: Eight-Speed Automatic
Power: 404 bhp
Torque: 550 Nm
Weight: 1810 kg 0-62
mph: 5.0 seconds
Top Speed: 177 mph
Combined MPG: 27.2 mpg
CO2 emission: 242 g/km