Maserati Ghibli saloon - Engines, drive & performance
Get used to its weight and bumpy suspension and the powerful Maserati Ghibli can be satisfying to drive
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: the Maserati Ghibli is less comfortable than the Mercedes E-Class, while the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF have a better-rounded and more consistent driving experience, without any marked deficiencies.
The Ghibli is annoyingly fidgety and unsettled over bumps and while things get better on perfectly tarmacked motorways, most of the car's rivals have more effective suspension setups. The electric steering also feels a little inert, while the brakes require careful application to avoid jerky deceleration, which is disappointing for such an emotionally impactful car.
All of those shortcomings can be forgotten when conditions are perfect, though. Despite weighing the best part of two tonnes, the Ghibli has excellent weight distribution, so it corners very flatly and predictably, while the supportive seats hug you just so and the powerful engines inspire spirited driving.
Maserati Ghibli petrol engine
If you really don’t care about running costs or company-car tax obligations, choose the petrol Ghibli. The 3.0-litre petrol engine sounds great, is incredibly smooth to rev and is built by Ferrari. From 2017 onwards, the petrol received a 20bhp power increase and the six-cylinder now produces 345bhp and means the car can get from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds. Viewed in isolation, the Maserati is hardly slow but compared with the cheaper and significantly more economical BMW 540i with its 4.8-second 0-62mph time, it looks rather less impressive.
Good as the petrol engine may be, its heavy fuel consumption means the vast majority of Ghibli buyers choose the 271bhp 3.0-litre diesel. It’s a decent performer, getting the Ghibli from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds, but we wish it were a little less gruff when being pushed. Sport mode is supposed to make it sound more evocative, but in truth it just makes things louder. At least the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox is smooth, but make sure you tick the option box for the steering wheel-mounted paddles if you spec the base or GranLusso models, as these are only standard on the top of the range GranSport models.