The 'Ghibli' as a name actually dates back over 40 years, only to be used twice in past when Maserati were creating compact saloons. So when word was out that they were releasing the 'difficult' '3rd album', many of the world's automotive media did wonder whether this car could possibly be as good as Maserati's signature models such as the Quattroporte or the iconic Grancabrio and Granturismo models from the past 15 years or so.
Given that Maseratis are fairly expensive to buy and maintain, the Ghibi was launched as a more 'affordable' car for those who, lets say couldn't afford the likes of an Aston Martin or a Ferrari California, or even the likes of the bigger Quattroporte or Granturismo - Having said that, the Ghibli's no cheapskate - it is still intended to rival and outshine the likes of the Mercedes E-Class, BMW M5 and the Jaguar XKR/RS.
On first glance, the car looks phenomenally beautiful, keeping in touch and tradition with the Italian passion for design and with dimensions easily comparable if not identical to its German rivals, it will easily win any beauty contest if it stands next to its Bavarian and Stuttgart-based competitors.
With a throaty exhaust note (again trademark for Maseratis) and devilish styling, this car certainly packs a punch for the money it demands.
Models and Packages
The Ghibli's available either as a standard car mated to a 3 liter twin turbo V6 or the top of the range 'Ghibli-S' which comes mated with a very specific (and somewhat un-Italian) 2,979 cc twin-turbo V6 which generates a stratospheric 400+ KW of power.
Both petrol variants come in a variety of beautiful colors including white, black, blue and red and the Ghibli-S also comes with addional air-vents, Brembo Brakes, 20-21 inch forged and flared alloy wheels and the 'S' model also coming equipped with a 'Skyhook' system which unleashes and spools the exhaust notes and makes the transmission shifts more brutal and aggressive (This also seems somewhat un-Italian to me considering the 'Skyhook' system was originally planted by Volvo in their S60 sedan during the 2000's).
Inside the two cars, no detail to luxury has been spared with typical Ferrari/Maserati style two-tone leather being available on the Ghibli-S and the center console coming equipped with a very state of the art 8.5 inch display which shows exceptional detail from a multimedia interfaces to driving dynamics (similar to what I'd say Mercedes applied in their recent C63-Black Edition).
The biggest surprise of them all's probably the Ghibli being also available as a diesel! Though I personally see Maserati doing is as a bull literally undergoing a sex-change and turning into a cow, it probably indeed is a sign of the times that the once super-luxury saloon maker really wants to enter the mass-market by competing against the diesel variants in its class (such as the CRDI E Class and the BMW 5 Series Diesel).
Maserati's claiming that the 3 liter V6 diesel is as impressive as its petrol counterpart on the standard Ghibli and that they've painstakingly ensured the car doesn't sound like a diesel (thanks to fitting it with the traditional quad-exhaust the trident-badged cars carry) however, when you fit a diesel into a performance marquee like this, its like going to an all-vegetarian restaurant and ordering fake wine just because it looks like one.
Overall, the Ghibli's iconic in small packages and will offer a very healthy doze of competition to the premium luxury saloon market dominated by the Germans (I still don't approve of a diesel Maserati though!)
Reliability was always the Achilles's heel with Maserati as they were known to break down - despite a very promising styling and state of the art interior luxury and technology on board the cabins of the Ghibli, I'd be interested in seeing how well they fare in reliability indices.
Prices for the Ghibli-Diesel are comparable with those of a BMW 5 Series-Diesel while the range-topping Ghibli-S will cost roughly $300,000.00 in Australia (in line with a fully optioned BMW M5 or a Jaguar XKR-S).
My overall verdict on this car's positive and I do believe it will land a punch in this world dominated by the more boring looking (and sounding) German saloons.