The Maserati Ghibli is the Italian carmaker's riposte to the German executive saloon
Ghibli reinvents itself The cabin may be swathed in fine Italian leather but the tactile feedback of the buttons and switches, along with the clarity of the instruments and 8.4-inch touchscreen, lend an air of robustness and reliability

MAYBE it's a reflection of how dynamic the Ghibli is. Three generations of this Maserati may share the same nameplate but not the same styling. The first Ghibli was a sensuously styled two-door grand tourer launched in 1967, while the second was a boxy bruiser of a coupe that appeared in 1992. Now, for the 21st century, the Ghibli gets four doors and is aimed smartly at the luxury sedan segment.

With its gaping grille and menacing headlamps, the Ghibli looks like a shorter version of the Quattroporte. It is, sort of. But unlike the QP which also has a V8, the Ghibli is available with only a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine that is designed and owned by Maserati but produced by Ferrari. It drives the rear wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and there are two variants - the Ghibli with 330 hp and the Ghibli S with 410 hp.

The latter produces a massive 550 Nm of torque, which is available from just 1,750 rpm in overboost. This means the Ghibli S is wonderfully responsive despite weighing in at 1,810 kg. With 50:50 weight distribution, the Ghibli is balanced. Its neutral handling in corners also benefits from the steel-aluminium-magnesium construction of the body, which endows the Ghibli with a low centre of gravity.

The thick-rimmed leather steering wheel with its precise and well-weighted steering is reassuring at high speed, and the Ghibli S feels remarkably agile for a car that is five metres long.

The fixed rate dampers are a good compromise between ride comfort and sporty handling but pressing the Sport button on the lower centre console can make the Ghibli S more aggressive with a more responsive engine and gearbox. A pair of exhaust flaps also open to amp up the sound to delightful levels.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect about this Maserati sedan is how German it feels, from the reassuringly confident steering, to the smoothness of the ride. The cabin may be swathed in fine Italian leather but the tactile feedback of the buttons and switches, along with the clarity of the instruments and 8.4-inch touchscreen, lend an air of robustness and reliability not obvious in earlier Maseratis. Its 2,998 mm wheelbase also means good rear legroom and that makes it suitable for daily use.

There is much to like about the Ghibli S - the directness of its steering, the perfect seating position even for taller drivers, the smooth silky power and, of course, that delicious exhaust backfire.

It is not a car that you will use for track day; it wasn't designed for it. Rather, it will offer long-distance comfort with its supple ride as it attacks B-roads enthusiastically. As a self-drive option, the Maserati Ghibli S has to be the ideal synthesis of style, performance and luxury.

CAR INFORMATION

Maserati Ghibli S 3.0 V6 (A)

Price

:POA

Engine Type

:

V6 Twin-Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

2,979 cc

Horsepower

:

405 bhp

Torque

:

550 Nm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A)

Acceleration

:

5 sec (0-100 km/h)

Top Speed

:

285 km/h