The Ghibli and Ghibli Diesel are stylish Italian executive saloons, but with vastly different personalities.
WHEN Maserati launched the Ghibli, it took the fight to the German luxury carmakers, particularly BMW and its 5 Series, which is acknowledged as the executive segment’s sportiest saloon. As a 5 Series rival, the Ghibli does not disappoint. Although it off ers less passenger space than its Teutonic competitor, it delivers a sparkling drive with nimble handling that belies its size and a rorty soundtrack to boot. A far more interesting contest takes place, however, when the Ghibli faces off against the Ghibli Diesel, its oil-burning sibling. Both models have swanky looks and identical equipment levels, but that’s where their similarities end.
The Ghibli is equipped with a turbocharged 3-litre V6 capable of 330bhp and 500Nm. The automobile is relatively quick, too, as it can go from rest to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds. What makes the Ghibli so pleasurable to drive isn’t just its acceleration. Its exhaust will make you smile, too – for the burble will leave keen drivers grinning from ear to ear.
Show it a series of corners and it dives into them with gusto, eagerly obeying the driver’s every input. The vehicle’s handling really does belie its size (it is 4.97m long) and heft (its kerb weight is 1810kg). The Ghibli thrives when driven hard. Now, if only Singapore had some twisty mountain roads…
The Ghibli Diesel, on the other hand, has a more relaxed character. Despite having “only” 275bhp (55bhp less than the Ghibli), the 600Nm produced by its turbodiesel 3-litre V6 still makes it feel eff ortless. Besides, the car’s century sprint time of 6.3 seconds isn’t exactly slow. Plus, the wonderful thing about turbo-diesel motors such as this is that you hardly have to push them. Overtaking slower traffi c is even easier in the Ghibli Diesel, since its midrange feels punchier than the Ghibli’s.
However, in terms of responsiveness, the Ghibli has the edge. This is what makes it the more suitable car for attacking corners, since the acceleration is more immediate. The Ghibli Diesel, on the other hand, does better as a mile muncher. For keen drivers who enjoy “bruising” and attacking corners, the Ghibli is undoubtedly the variant to own. But for sheer cruising ability, the Ghibli Diesel simply can’t be beat.
The Ghibli Diesel’s turbo-diesel unit (below, left) sounds less enticing than the Ghibli’s motor.
The Ghibli Diesel’s more attractive price ($20k less than the Ghibli) and neutral CEVS banding are its other trump cards. The Ghibli’s higher performance comes at a cost – its CO2 emission of 223g/km makes it liable for a $15k CEVS surcharge.
You can tell these siblings apart by their gauges: The Ghibli (right) has a 6500rpm redline, while the Ghibli Diesel (bottom right) redlines at 4500rpm.