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How much? £48,830
On sale in the UK: late 2013
Engine: 2987cc 24v 6cyl turbodiesel, 271bhp @ 4000rpm, 443lb ft @ 2000-2600rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 6.3sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 47.9mpg, 158g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1835kg/steel, aluminium
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4971/1945/1461mm
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 3 out of 53

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 5 out of 55

Readers' rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Maserati Ghibli Diesel (2013) CAR review

By Chris Chilton

First Drives

20 June 2013 17:45

The Ghibli is Maserati’s attempt to take on premium German cars like the Mercedes CLS, Audi A7 and BMW Gran Coupe. It’s also the first Maserati to feature a diesel engine. Sacrilege? Let’s find out.

That name. Ghibli – where have I heard it before?

It’s an old Maserati favourite, having been used twice before, first on beautiful front-engined GT in the 1960s, and then on a much less beautiful Bi-turbo spinoff three decades later.

But this one’s a sensible saloon.

Right. Loosely based on the new Quattroporte, but smaller and sportier, it comes with a choice of three 3.0 engines: 330bhp and 404bhp twin-turbo V6 petrols, and, crucially for Europe, a 272bhp turbodiesel V6.

272bhp? Sounds a bit limp for a Maserati.

You’re right, particularly when German rivals offer over 300bhp. The fact is this VM Motori-built V6 is merely a stopgap until a brand new twin turbo diesel arrives in a couple of years. That will come in two forms, one with around 275bhp, and a hotter version with 350bhp.

How does it drive?

Well, but with some room to improve. The 50:50 weight distribution means it changes direction far better than many rivals, and the diesel’s torque is just about strong enough to ask questions of limited-slip equipped rear end out on twisty roads. But the hydraulic steering is overly heavy and not markedly more communicative than electric alternatives.
 
Passive dampers are standard, the damping force being equivalent to sport mode in the cars fitted with the optional Skyhook adaptive setup. Since the body control is so much better in Sport, and the ride occasionally unsettled in Comfort, it might be worth going basic.

The 443lb ft of torque from the single-turbo six makes for reasonably spirited performance (62mph in 6.3sec) but twin-turbo rivals are up to 1sec quicker and several mpg greener, too. And despite some augmented sound effects courtesy of special actuators in the rear silencers, it doesn’t sound as sexy as it could.

What’s the rest of the package like?

Roomy, particularly when it comes to rear headroom compared with the more visually striking Mercedes CLS, and available with various interior colour combinations that deliver that traditonal Maserati feel. The quality of materials is good, if not class-busting, and some of the switchgear, like the lever for the standard eight-speed ZF auto, and the dimly lit buttons on the console behind it, seems needlessly fiddly.

Verdict

The Ghibli has a few rough edges, but it’s a credible rival to established German models and the diesel option gives it far more relevance in Europe. The allure of that badge will count for much, and offset the fact that rivals are better to drive and more efficient – a BMW 5-series rides better, Jag’s XF steers more sweetly. This is a good first effort by Maserati, but you get the feeling that the Ghibli diesel won’t really come into its own until the new engines have come on line. For now, the petrol Ghiblis deliver a far more convincing Maserati experience.

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Maserati Ghibli Diesel (2013) CAR review

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culverwood

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culverwood says

RE: Maserati Ghibli Diesel (2013) CAR review

 I have put in an enquiry with the local dealer.  Good value and I'll wait till I see it in the flesh before commenting on the exterior, interior and how it drives.

26 July 2013 10:58

 

TheAtomium

TheAtomium says

RE: Maserati Ghibli Diesel (2013) CAR review

@carmobster - I think the diesel bullet has been bitten now by most manufacturers, and there probably isn't any going back.
I wonder if you, or anyone else, noticed that until they introduced the new supercharged V6 recently, the entire Jaguar XF range was diesel. Like you say, the very idea of a diesel Jag would've raised eyebrows 10 years ago. Now, Jag are able to withdraw even the option of petrol from their biggest selling car, and hardly anyone notices....

04 July 2013 12:22

 

carmobster

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carmobster says

RE: Maserati Ghibli Diesel (2013) CAR review

Oh what funny we human beings are. 10 years ago a diesel in a Jag or Maserati would have us car enthusiasts gathered in a angry mob ready to burn the factories in Britain and Italy to the ground.

But hey, as fuel prices have risen to the point that anything with a V8 or larger is becoming as rare as a banker with a conscious, we have forgiven these manufacturers almost as quick as the Vatican to their priests with an appetite for choirboys.

 

Am I the only one left having trouble with this? Yes we must make money, we must sell. But a Maser with a diesel?

01 July 2013 18:29

 

davmut

davmut says

RE: Maserati Ghibli Diesel (2013) CAR review

I like the look of this car, but really Maserati and diesel in the same sentance is a no for me.

01 July 2013 12:22

 

Brand0

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Brand0 says

RE: Maserati Ghibli Diesel (2013) CAR review

@BERT - I do think that most people care about what people think about them - but even more at that level.  At 'blue collar' level, there's much more pragmatism IMO. 'It's all I could afford' is a response which would satisfy all but the most hardened critic at the lower level. Doesn't quite stand up at 5-Series level.  The only thing worse than a fool is a rich fool.

@SEANT - It's not about manufactuers being brave but consumer IMO.  You cited the Multipla which is a super example of point. It's not like it was expensive. And we have to remember that people have a right to be too scared to dare - the car is the second most expensive purchase one normally makes (THE most expensive for those who only rent). Take chances on a mobile phone, a piece of jewelry, even a Michael Jacksonesque red and black leather jacket.  But on an annual salary's worth of car? No chance.  Buying an Alfa or Volvo is as brave as it gets nowadays.

I don't include the enthusiasts BTW - they are a different breed, but there aren't enough of them and not all of them can afford to feed their flame.

 

 

 

 

27 June 2013 17:53

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