Driven: Maserati Ghibli S Review

Driven: Maserati Ghibli S Review

Here is the review of the Maserati Ghibli S after Motor Verso were given the car to test for 5 days.

What is the Maserati Ghibli S all about?

The Maserati Ghibli S is the Italian company’s entry-level executive saloon that starts at only £49,160. The Ghibli shares a lot of its components with the hugely successful Quattroporte, but the Ghibli is smaller, lighter, more dynamic and more affordable than its bigger brother.

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The Ghibli is available in 3 variants; the base model, the diesel and lastly the S variant. We had the Ghibli S to test, which is the sportiest of the range. The Ghibli S is available from £63,760, the exact model that we had on test was fitted with lots of additional options pushing the car up to £80,853.  Some of the options included the Skyhook electronically variable suspension system, Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system (1280W), and sport pack with 19-inch wheels and beautiful tri-coat pearlescent paint.

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There is no doubt that the Maserati Ghibli is a good-looking car. I really like the look of the front of the car, the long bonnet, the famous grille and nice upwards turning headlights. All of these touches help create a very subtle yet aggressive looking saloon. And the pearlescent white paintwork really gives the car a more premium look.

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The Maserati Ghibli S is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 petrol twin turbocharged engine that creates 404bhp and 550Nm of torque, this power goes through an 8-speed automatic gearbox to the wheels. The car can get from 0-60mph in 5 seconds and will do a top speed of 177mph. This is one serious executive saloon.

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How does it drive?

From a driving perspective, the Ghibli appears to do everything well. If you want a calm and gentle cruise, the car will do that for you. If you want to travel like a bat out of hell, easy, the Ghibli does that also. It does this with the clever use of technology; in the car on test we had the ability to electronically adjust the suspension damping to optimise it for either road or track, with track being the firmer of the two. We also had the ability to run the car in normal driving mode or switch it over to Sport mode. Sport mode sharpens up the throttle response and adjusts the gearbox electronics to optimise shift times and allow you to freely use all the rev range. As I say, clever technology has meant that the Ghibli S successfully satisfies two different markets.

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With the car in Sport mode and manual gear change selected the sensations that the Maserati can provide are as fun, thrilling and devious as you could ever anticipate. The Maserati V6 engine creates an impressive raspy Italian, almost F1 like, exhaust note. Push the car over 4,000RPM and the Ghibli exhaust note changes and will then scream all the way up to the 6,500RPM limiter and make your toes curl with the sound it creates. However the icing on the cake is between the shifts when the active exhaust system creates very loud pops and bangs to add even more drama into the driving experience. Without even talking about how the car drives yet, the sound creates a huge amount of soul for the car and counteracts any possible flaws you may find in the car. Check out the video below.

Getting down to details, the V6 engine will do 0-60mph in five seconds, which doesn’t sound unusually fast, but how the Maserati Ghibli executes that manoeuvre feels brutally quick. The acceleration slaps you back in your seat and rockets you towards the horizon, not at any point driving this car did I feel there were areas where the engine didn’t have enough power to provide the ultimate thrill. The handling of the car, even in comfort mode, works really well and the Pirelli P Zero tyres stick like glue to the road. Even on the 19 inch alloy wheels the car gives lots of feedback via the heavily weighted steering wheel. In the dry or wet the Maserati Ghibli S gave me a fair bit of confidence, the car allows a reasonable amount of slip before the electronic systems bring you back in line. And despite it feeling like a very exciting car, I still felt safe and wasn’t caught out by the car’s power during my experience testing it out.

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The Ghibli has relatively large Brembo calipers, with six pistons at the front and 4 at the rear, with slotted discs of 360mm x 32mm and 350mm x 28mm respectively. The brakes work exceptionally well and don’t feel the need for a ceramic replacement, which helps keep the cost down.

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Lastly, if you do choose to drive the car slowly it is very comfortable, can be very quiet, and is exceptionally easy to operate because of that eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.

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What is it like inside?

The interior of the Maserati on test was dressed head to toe in black, very soft, leather with contrasting red stitching. This alone gave the car a very premium feel, look and scent. But it doesn’t stop there; there are also plenty of touches of nicely brushed, high-quality, aluminium throughout the interior.

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The infotainment system on the car was exceptionally good, the large touchscreen provides a very feature rich and easy-to-use interface that controls all of your music, phone integration, heating controls, and satnav operations. I would go so far as saying this is one of the easiest systems I have ever used.

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Some other nice touches include the large Maserati emblem that sits in the centre of the steering wheel, just passed this, either side of the wheel are too large brushed aluminium shift panels that feel great at your fingertips and flicking them through the gears provides a great driving touch. Looking further still, past the paddles, you will see the Maserati features blue driver’s instruments including speedometer and rev gauge, with a digital display in the centre of the two providing multiple pieces of information including satnav directions.

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The Experience

The Maserati Ghibli S provides a properly luxurious executive saloon experience similar to its many rivals. However its Italian spirit shines through; inside the car the touch, smell and aesthetics of everything gives you a sense of contentment you don’t get from the others. For me the really brilliant element of this car was that explosive 3.0-litre V6 engine that will steal your heart. It is truly thrilling to drive and creates an exhaust note that you will still remember long after petrol cars have been superseded.

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The Maserati Ghibli S fills a very unique void that you don’t realise is there until you drive the car. Looking at the paperwork and press information the car looks like a fast executive saloon, which fills a gap straight away. And then when you drive it, you really stop caring about those additional seats and large boot space. The soulful, fiery and dramatic sound given by the car really will seal the deal for all buyers. The Maserati doesn’t compare to its German rivals, as it provides elements of sensual pleasure that is many tiers above them.

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Video Highlights


Maserati Ghibli S

  • Price: £80,853
  • Engine: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo
  • Power: 404bhp
  • Torque: 550Nm
  • Transmission: 8-Speed automatic
  • 0-62mph: 5 Seconds
  • Top speed: 177mph
  • Weight: 1,810kg
  • Economy: 27MPG
  • CO2: 242g/km

Full Gallery5 Day Diary

Author: Paul Hadley