Maserati Ghibli Diesel, motoring review: Can Maserati turn itself into a mainstream marque?

Price: £48,830
Engine: 2,987CC, V6 CYLINDERS, 24 VALVES, turbodiesel, 275BHP
Transmission: eight-speed auto gearbox, reare-wheel drive
Performance: 155mph, 0-62 in 6.3 seconds, 47.8mpg, CO2 158g/km

This is the third Maserati in history to be called Ghibli. The other two were rare and rapid coupés, admired by aficionados but probably unknown to most of the people likely to buy this new saloon. These buyers will, so Maserati hopes, be people who have a fear of becoming boring; not for them the safe choice of a German brand, nor even a Jaguar.

This is new territory for the Italian brand, part of a plan to manufacture many more Maseratis including, next year, an SUV. Central to this brand explosion is the four-door saloon you see here. There have been several generations of Maserati Quattroporte ("four-door") saloons over the years, and the most recent is about Jaguar XJ-size, slightly larger than its predecessor. That was done to make room for this new Ghibli, which is based on a shortened Quattroporte platform and is intended to lure buyers away from, say, a BMW 5-Series or Audi A6.

Under its downwardly curving bonnet is a choice of three V6 engines, two twin-turbo petrol units, and Maserati's first diesel. The bodywork that clothes them has an unmistakably Maserati look, with its vertically slatted front grille and curvy rear haunches, but like many new cars it comes across as a touch overwrought with its disparate waves and ridges. I suspect it might date quickly, but the frameless door windows give a neat, crisp definition to the side view.

Inside, too, it's all very busy, laden with leather and lavish fittings. The display screens' graphics are already dated-looking, though, and I never did figure out how to set the windscreen wipers to intermittent.

In the Ghibli S, the top model at £63,415, the 3.0-litre V6 makes a mighty 410bhp. This is channelled through an eight-speed automatic transmission - no manuals for this Maserati - via quite a tightly set differential. It sounds angry, with bluster and burbling from its four exhausts, and given the right road, you can launch the S to 62mph in five seconds and on to 177mph.

This violent power delivery is matched to a firm ride. But it's the sort of sporting flavour that frustrates, because when you are obliged to go gently, the Ghibli feels wooden. There is little deftness to its motion - and certainly not enough to help you swallow the bitter tax pill of a 242g/km CO2 figure.

There is also a non-S version, with 330bhp and a sub-gas-guzzler CO2 score, still very rapid with its 5.6-second 0-62mph time. But the Ghibli most likely to attract buyers is the 275bhp diesel. Whereas the petrol V6s are built by Ferrari, the diesel comes from the less glamorous VM Motori company. It packs a good punch, and sounds at times remarkably like a powerful V8 thanks to sound generators feeding pulses into false exhaust pipes next to the real ones. The result is that rare thing, a tuneful diesel, but authenticity is abandoned for skin-deep values.

Here, too, gentle driving emphasises lethargic responses out of keeping with a Maserati badge. Set in Sport mode, the Ghibli diesel can be entertaining, but it worries me that the car's default state is so far from what a Maserati should be.

The result: a confused personality. I love the idea of an alternative to the obvious Germans, but Maserati needs more courage in its convictions.

A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Lift Repairs Sales Account Manager

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting new opportunity has...

    Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Ashdown Group: Assistant Management Accountant - Part Qualified CIMA / ACCA

    £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are recruitment for an Assistan...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea