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Maserati Ghibli 2013 Review

The Ghibli will put the wind up Maserati’s luxury large car rivals when it lands in Australia late this year. Most Carsguide readers will only dream of owning a $200,000 car but as the entry model for the range the Ghibli is expected to account for annual global sales of 25,000 by 2015- four times the entire number of cars the company now sells.

It has the luxury and performance to satisfy owners, even if it isn’t (yet) fitted with a V8. Just as importantly, it looks different to the crop of German cars that dominate the segment.

VALUE

The numbers game puts the Ghibli up against the Mercedes CLS and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe. It will be more expensive than its German opposition but will add badge exclusivity its rivals can’t match. 

Standard equipment includes bi-xenon headlamps, an eight-speaker sound system, eight-speed automatic transmission, a reversing camera and powered leather seats with inbuilt heaters and fans. A 3.0-litre turbodiesel will be the starter engine, with a pair of twin-turbo V6 petrols turning up the wick on price and performance.

DESIGN

A smaller, tauter version of the Quattrporte can’t be a bad thing. It looks more aggressive, too, with the curved bonnet and pronounced wheel arches giving it a predatory stance. Boot space and rear leg room is down on the QP but will still accommodate enough luggage to carry four adults, providing they aren’t all basketballers. Scalloping the back of the front seats would help here without.

Despite sharing the Quattroporte’s chassis and drivetrain, the Ghibli’s track is wider and the reduced length - it is almost 30cm shorter - makes it more engaging to look at and drive. The 8.4-inch touchscreen effectively divides the dash into driver and passenger zones and the smell of Italian leather pervades the cabin.

SAFETY

Seven airbags and enough structural alloys to build an office block should ensure the Ghibli stands if it is involved in a collision. The car is also built without any electronic aids. Only when Maserati is satisfied with the inherent stability of the vehicle does it move to install the electronic aids. Toss in a 50/50 weight balance and there are few reasons why the Ghibli will venture off the bitumen.

DRIVING

The base twin-turbo V6 petrol is a convincing car, despite having “only” 243kW and 500Nm. It hits 100km/h in a claimed 5.6 seconds and stops from that speed in 36m. A ZF eight-speed automatic works well and the engine barks and fizzles on over-run up and down the cogs.

Gearchanges in manual mode have to be performed using the alloy paddle shifters and they’re fixed to the steering column rather than moving with the wheel. Ferrari uses the same system based on the principle it saves drivers having to remember which shifter is which when the wheel is cranked over mid-corner. 

The absence of cabin noise - at least on the Italian roads chosen for the international launch - makes it a genuinely serene environment. The balance superb and the adaptive suspension markedly stiffens up the ride, though it comes at the expense of occupant comfort. It is far more supple in normal mode but can then be caught out by unanticipated ripples or potholes at high speed.

The higher-spec V6 wasn’t available at launch in rear-wheel drive guise and Australia won’t get the AWD system. For those who prefer to lubricate their social conscience by buying an economical luxury car, the diesel will arrive early next year.

VERDICT

The Ghibli is a great car at a good price and will give luxury car buyers a more exclusive option without a major price premium. It still needs a V8 to satiate our preference for hi-po luxury cars and give the range a halo car.


Maserati Ghibli
Price: from $195,000 (estimate)
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Capped servicing:  No
Service interval: 2 years/20,000km
Safety: not rated; seven airbags
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, 243kW/500Nm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, RWD
Thirst: 9.6L/100km, 233g/km CO2
Dimensions: 4.97m (L), 1.95m (W), 1.46m (H)
Weight: 1810kg
Spare: Space-saver
 

Pricing Guides

$74,800
Based on 13 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$61,888
Highest Price
$88,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $61,888 – 74,990 2014 Maserati Ghibli 2014 (base) Pricing and Specs
D 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $62,040 – 71,280 2014 Maserati Ghibli 2014 D Pricing and Specs
S 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $64,990 – 88,990 2014 Maserati Ghibli 2014 S Pricing and Specs