After a stint with the magnificent GTS, we had the opportunity of sampling yet another marvel from the Maserati stable – the new Ghibli. We spent a day with the Bolognese beauty, here is our take..
True to the Maserati brand, each of its models has a deep-rooted historical tradition. The Ghibli in its current generation still echoes hints and design cues from its ancestral origins – the A6GCS Berlinetta Pininfarina of the 1950s. Incidentally, 6 denoted the number of cylinders and the Ghibli is also powered by a V6.
The current generation is a major leap forward since the new Maserati Ghibli becomes the first ever Maserati car to employ a diesel engine. The Ghibli has always packed in delectable elements in one potent package. In the Ghibli, Maserati delivered a glorious looking high powered grand tourer embedded with motor racing DNA, all in one car.
The word Ghibli literally means hot Saharan desert wind. We completely agree to the hot part of the definition, exactly what the Ghibli`s sculpted lines denote. Despite our test car being a plain jane vanilla-esque “bianco”, the paint shade simply does a bad job at trying to hide the distinctly curvy and sinous lines – this quintessentially Maserati, commands repeated stares wherever it goes.
At the front the Trident bearing Maserati grille receives an evolutionary edgier update to the snout with chrome embellishment. The sculpted bi-xenon headlamps with integrated day time running lights add to the visual aggression. Sharing the platform with its dapper elder sibling, the Quattroporte GTS makes sure the Ghibli remains yet another head tuner.
The long engine hood with the sculpted fenders embodies power and performance from the oil burner underneath. The coupe like C pillar with muscular rear haunches gracefully amalgamate into a rather contemporary rear finishing with quad exhaust tips. And those haunches, oh gawd! Serenading “keep starin` at me, will ya”
The stunning sheetmetal skin warrants some equally tasteful interiors and the Ghibli doesn’t disappoint on this front either. While we are used to interiors crafted from the produce of sought after tanneries, the Ghibli makes its own mark with the choice of colours available for customization.The Ghibli dares to bare its impenitent side, just take look at our review car.
The interiors invite you to travel in luxurious comfort in seats which reflect meticulous Italian hand sewn craftsmanship.The fine grain leather of choice on our test car was Rosso (red) oozing character akin to designer Italian handbags while remaining as desirable as humble red velvet cake, absolutely sumptuous.
The two tone red-black interior theme is carried all around the cabin while Nero (black) Alcantara remains the obvious choice for the roof-lining. The seats themselves offer brilliant support, the front seats more so while the rear passenger comfort is adequate.The cabin is also peppered with Radica veneer wooden inserts on door panels and the centre console.
A customary Maserati blue faced oval analogue clock seems like a permanent fixture perched centrally atop the dashboard. The Ghibli comes with a 8.4” infotainment system with built in Sat Nav which Maserati likes to call Maserati Touch Control plus. While it’s not the most technologically advanced or visually fanciful system we expect at this price point, it does perform its job fairly well.
The touch screen also doubles up as a reversing camera with static guide lines, albeit with a lower res display.The Ghibli goes old school and still employs traditional yet classy analogue meters which remain among the best, if not the best we have seen in the current crop of cars. The well-crafted steering wheel feels chunky to hold and houses some of the telephony controls which take a bit of getting used to, the beautifully crafted paddle shifters fall within easy reach of your finger tips and are a charm to operate.
The central console offers deep storage bin that doubles up as the arm rest, interestingly the infotainment control dial/knob is given a skip unlike most other cars in this category.While the rear passenger comfort is adequate, it’s the front seats where you really want to spend the time in.Another noteworthy observation is the pedal placement in the foot-well, the entire set including the dead pedal seems to be offset with a bias toward the right of the driver.
The Drivetrain and the drive
Maserati Ghibli is the first ever Maserati model to be powered by a diesel engine, and Maserati claim that this 3.0l 60 degree V6 is exactly what a Maserati power mill should be. Maserati has given this engine variable geometry turbocharging and state of the art common rail fuel injection. It also employs their Air Gap technology on the exhaust manifolds to improve the refinement; we are impressed with the refinement of this diesel V6.
With power and torque figures of 275hp and 600Nm, the Ghibli has it more than covered. Mated to the 8speed ZF automatic transmission, strong performance is expected and the Ghibli delivers it in spades. Well, Maserati had spoiled us with its wild throaty sounding V8 in the Quattroporte GTS, so knowing the Ghibli had non dramatic oil burner to lug it around did not invoke much excitement.
Our nonchalant predisposition was quickly dispelled upon firing up the Ghibli to life, thanks Maserati`s Active sound system that underscores the most rousing notes which only become better in Sport mode. The burble from this diesel V6 can easily fool you into thinking of it as a gasoline fed V8, yes it’s that good.
Infact, the Ghibli leaves no traces of the fuel that goes inside it anywhere on the car, except a warning sticker on the fuel filler lid and the other give away being the tachometer which red lines at 4500 rpm. The Ghibli is capable of 0-100 clicks in a shade over 6 seconds which paints half the picture of the performance it is capable of. The 3 litre V6 is efficacious at burbling away to glory and the Ghibli aptly wears 235/50 R18 Pirelli P Zero footwear to do justice for the impressive performance figures.
While the competition has graduated to more efficient electronic power units, the Ghibli`s traditional and weighty hydraulic assisted power steering feeds back the driver with dollops of feel. While we did not get to sample this sultry beauty on equally snaking roads, the suspension setup in the Sport mode certainly begs for some enthusiastic driving, a word of caution though is the ground clearance.
The I.C.E (Increased Control & Efficiency) dampens out all the spirited intent and transforms the car which wafts over the most uneven surfaces. The Ghibli returns around 10-11 km to a litre of diesel and with a 70 litre fuel tank, it equates to a staggering 700 kms of range in between top ups.
Summing it up
The Ghibli is neither about German precision, nor about British engineering, it doesn’t boast of American muscle and doesn’t shout about Japanese efficiency either, it’s all about Italian passion at its charismatic best that adorns the Ghibli. The Ghibli is anything but ordinary, Maserati`s charming aura unmistakably wafts along making it a “speciale”. This Saharan desert wind is indeed a breath of fresh air in sea of German sedans. Retailing at INR 1.36 crore (On road Mumbai), it really does not have any direct competitors. Yes, there are cars with similar or more features at half the price tag, but in Ghibli what you own is a piece of remarkable history, a personality in itself.