2017 Maserati Ghibli Review Test Drive
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Maserati Ghibli Review

Car Tested: 2017 Maserati Ghibli; Road Test No. 772

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1.49 crores

The Maserati Ghibli is an attention magnet, the trident logo grabs a lot of eye balls in India

The Maserati brand is targeted towards the well heeled audience and comes with an immense snob value of a luxurious Italian brand. They entered the Indian market officially last year and a while back we drove the flagship Maserati Quattroporte GTS with a roaring V8 petrol engine. This time around we drive the baby Maserati, the Ghibli and that too with a diesel engine, which is the preferred fuel choice in India. We examine how does it fare on Indian roads.

Motor Quest: The Maserati Ghibli made its public debut at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show. It is considered as the volume spinner of Maserati lineup. The production of the Ghibli takes place alongside the Quattroporte in the new Giovanni Agnelli Plant in Grugliasco near Turin.

The coupe-like roofline towards the rear makes the Ghibli look attractive

Exteriors – The Maserati Ghibli looks quite aggressive, especially from the front profile. The angry projector headlights point towards the huge grille having a shiny Maserati trident sitting in the middle. The bonnet section is long when you see it from the side profile while the roofline is raked and merges smoothly into the boot. The Ghibli comes with a shiny set of multi-spoke alloys. The shoulder line gets prominent towards the rear which leads to a rather understated rear profile. The Ghibli looks elegant from the rear but the quad pipes hint about something special under the hood. There is some uniqueness in its design which grabs a lot of attention on the road.

Materials feel premium & the colours match the personality of the Ghibli

Interiors – The interior layout is fantastic, it’s nice and taut along with rich colour tones of orangish brown with contrasting black and wood inserts. The soft touch dashboard and the other materials used immediately give away the attention to detail of the interior. The feel and smell of the leather materials will make you realise that you’re sitting in a super premium car. The 3-spoke steering wheel looks classy and feels good to hold. The instrument cluster has got a huge and colourful MID display with sizeable analogue dials alongside. The centre console houses a neatly integrated touchscreen infotainment system with minimal buttons. There is an analogue clock on top of the dash that adds a touch of class to the interior.

There are some missing features which you expect from this segment

The well crafted interiors are more focussed towards self driven car buyers

The touchscreen unit is responsive and easy to use with plethora of connectivity options. The music system offers rich audio experience, you get an option to choose Harman Kardon or Bowers & Wilkins audio system. Some of the features include 8-way power adjustable seats, keyless entry with push button start, tyre pressure monitoring system, bi-xenon adaptive headlamps, surround view camera, etc. A few things we missed in the Ghibli include sunroof, auto park assist, ventilated seats, etc.

The rear seats are best suited for two adults, limited legroom

The front seats in the Ghibli are very supportive and comfortable. The steering to the seat angle is a bit raked and the driving position is more performance oriented. You get decent amount of storage spaces such as cupholders in the middle and bottle holders on each door. The rear seat space is a bit disappointing as there’s limited legroom and headroom at the back. The back seat is meant for only 2 adults as there is a huge transmission hump in the middle. The boot space is quite accommodating though. You can easily fit your golf bag in there.

The Ghibli gets a V6 3.0-litre diesel engine offering practicality

Performance – Unlike the Quattroporte GTS which we drove earlier having a stonker of an engine, the Maserati Ghibli comes with a far more sensible and practical engine option. The powerplant on offer is a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, known to produce 275 PS of power and a massive 600 Nm of torque. The engine comes matched to an 8-speed ZF transmission. Power is sent to the rear wheels and according to our VBOX tests, we managed to hit 100 km/hr from standstill in 6.95 seconds which puts the Ghibli in the territory of the BMW 530d and Mercedes E350 CDI. The engine doesn’t have much of that typical diesel clatter and it feels pretty smooth and refined.

The mid-range is very strong and the car pulls cleanly to 4500 RPM

The engine has enough punch and the gearbox has been nicely matched

Slot the gearknob into D and start driving, that’s when you realise that the power delivery feels very linear and once the slight turbo lag is crossed, the mid-range becomes punchy and the car accelerates quickly off the line. Triple digit speeds come up very quickly and the engine doesn’t really feet out of grunt. The gearbox is very smooth and quick in its operations and is really matched nicely to the oil-burner. The Ghibli, however, doesn’t provide you with the rush that you would normally expect with a 3.0-litre engine. The Ghibli is a nice cruiser, doing 100 km/hr at 1500 RPM in top gear. You get a Sport mode on offer, which basically holds on to higher revs for quick acceleration. On the fuel efficiency front, one can expect around 10-12 km/l under regular driving conditions.

Stiff suspension is sports-car like; handling is fun

Driving Dynamics – The Ghibli has a pretty stiff suspension set-up which is typical of performance cars. The front gets a double wishbone with stabiliser bar while the rear gets a multi-link set-up. The suspension can tackle most bad patches of roads but hit a large pothole and the car will thud, what with its 3-metre wheelbase and those 19-inch wheels. Ground clearance is a bit low so you need to be extra careful on speedbreakers. Talking about the steering, it is a hydraulic unit offering rich feedback. However, the one on our test car seemed to be vibrating a bit too much. It feels very precise though. Handling is predictable and once you switch to Sport mode, the chassis, suspension and steering feel a bit tighter, giving the car an agile feel. The fun-to-drive factor is decent but there isn’t anything really extraordinary here. The brakes also do a splendid job.

The badge says it all, Maserati is known for its snob value

Safety and After Sales Service – When it comes to safety, the Maserati Ghibli offers 7 airbags, ABS, EBD, Maserati Stability Program, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot alert and more such advanced tech. After sales in India is very limited to a couple of metro cities and since the Ghibli is a pure CBU you might have to shell out a lot for the spare parts and service costs in India.

It might not be a fun car to drive but a huge attention magnet

Verdict – The Maserati Ghibli isn’t meant for a large chunk of elite audience, it is for those who like to keep rare cars in their garage. At that price point you get full size luxury saloons such as the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-Series and the likes. However, the Ghibli should be technically compared with the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5-Series, etc. Hence it is a rare Italian for the self driven who like to arrive in style. The diesel engine makes it a little more practical if you want to use it on a daily basis. You miss the aural delight of the petrol engine with the Ghibli but it’s all about the style and the fancy badge on the grille.

The ground clearance should have been raised a bit for the Indian market

What’s Cool

* Signature Maserati styling makes it very attractive on Indian roads
* The interiors look and feel rich with high quality materials
* The diesel engine makes it a practical luxury car with decent performance
* There are a tonne of safety features on offer in the Ghibli

What’s Not So Cool

* It is a bit overpriced considering the class it belongs to
* Some features are missing even at this price point
* Low ground clearance might get bothersome on speedbrakers

Alternatives: Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-Series, Audi A8, Jaguar XF

The diesel powered Ghibli makes it a sensible luxury car for daily usage

Testers’ Note:

“The Maserati Ghibli is the only car in its segment which comes via the CBU route, that and the exotic Italian badge results in a very high price tag. What you get is a car which turns heads and drives brilliantly with that punchy oil burner. But if you want cornering fun, practicality and value for money, then the Ghibli simply doesn’t match its German rivals. If you want a Maserati, the Quattroporte is the one to have.” – Faisal Khan, Chief Editor, MotorBeam.
“Maserati is one brand that I always wanted to drive because it’s rare and after driving the Ghibli I felt its actually popular for its rarity and the premium brand value. The Italian car feels rich to drive but is not really engaging and eager to corner hard. You just sit, drive in swag and let the people around stare at you when you arrive in style, it’s more suitable for the Delhi market. ” – Aariz Rizvi, Assistant Editor, MotorBeam.
“I really loved the Maserati Quattroporte GTS when I drove it earlier this year and hence I was looking forward to the Ghibli too. Not saying that it’s a bad car, but honestly the Ghibli didn’t feel half as exciting. Sure, it does have a lot of snob value and people ogle at it all the time. But, for the performance that it offers for Rs. 1.5 crores would make someone think twice and I would probably pick a BMW 530d, equal levels of fun for half the price.” – Parth Gohil, Senior Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Further Reading

Maserati Quattroporte GTS Review