PRICE £63,568 (as tested)
ENGINE CAPACITY 3 litre V6 diesel
POWER OUTPUT (kW @ RPM) 275@5,500
TOP SPEED (MPH) 177
0-60 MPH (SECONDS) 6.3
FUEL ECONOMY (MPG) 47.8
CO2 EMISSIONS (g/KM) 158
I was trying to work out how to express my disappointment with the Maserati Ghibli without sounding sort of ungrateful. The nearest I could get was this: imagine that you’re on a date with an incredibly attractive suitor (and yes, I am doing this from memory). Suppose, too, that at the end of the evening they are no less pleasing to gaze upon than they were at the start, and, in many ways, they remain intensely desirable. But, on acquaintance, you just didn’t like them that much. You feel a bit guilty about it, but there we are. They may still, in reality, remain unattainable so far as you are concerned, but that’s beside the point.
Well, that was me and the Maserati, a vehicle way above my class. It is a stunning looking vehicle. This is just as well, because Maserati has the most consistent record in producing sublime-looking road cars; probably only Jaguar comes close to that long historic achievement.
Like some other great beauties the visual achievement of the Ghibli is, so to speak, greater than the sum of the parts. Its “face” is a bit too generically Germanic, as is the rear light treatment; and the swages along its flanks are a bit random, somewhat reminiscent of an Infiniti. Still, it certainly grabs attention.
But does that make up for the fact that it was, for me, impossible to get comfy in? I couldn’t find anywhere to put my left foot in this eight-speed automatic, and I have extremely short legs (for your reference, only just long enough to be able to buy my keks at Marks & Spencer). The gigantic “paddles” to change gear manually, a completely pointless and dated gimmick in any case, made it impossible to get at the single wiper/indicator stalk. The Ghibli also lacked for some of the high-tech goodies you get in a Lexus, say – all-round cameras rather than just at the back, for example. (Sorry, do I sound spoilt?) All of which, for many, misses the point. If the thing that matters is sex appeal, then the Maserati will satisfy your lust mightily. It is thrillingly accelerative, clings to the road no matter what, and possesses awesome stamina. The fact that it is a diesel is irrelevant; 35mpg something of a plus.
Snog, marry, avoid? A diesel Mercedes CLS or a BMW 535d M Sport would be easier to live with, and the Jaguar XF Diesel S would make for a passionate affair. In that sense, the Ghibli is a very entertaining one-night stand. As in life, so with cars; the perfect partner (male or female) can elude one for a long time.