Sophisticated, extravagant and guaranteed to grab eyeballs – that’s the Maserati Ghibli. But can the 3-litre V6 diesel engine keep the enthusiasts happy? We drive one to find out.
Fine dining, the beautiful bouquet of wine, Renaissance art, impeccable taste in fashion, and, of course, powerful and desirable cars – these are some of the best exports of Italian culture. Now, we may not be able to live the high life in Milan, but we can enjoy a slice of that life thanks to the Maserati Ghibli.
This luxury carmaker is back in India, and, honestly, I had butterflies in my stomach when I got into the Ghibli – since it was my first time in a car with a Trident on the bonnet. You can’t really blame me, as the brand’s reputation does precede itself. Imagine, with a tagline line like “Luxury, sports and style, cast in exclusive cars,” it’s but natural to be overwhelmed. Before I could even take a good look at the Ghibli, there was a small crowd surrounding it, drooling over it, and I’m sure if the car was a living being they would have been asking for an autograph – the selfie was, of course, a given. Calling it a crowd-puller is a gross understatement. After making my way through all these newfound Maserati fans, I finally got my 15 seconds of fame as I casually unlocked the door and coolly sat in the cabin, pushed the start-stop button and drove as far as possible from the maddening crowd so that I could spend some time alone with this gorgeous Italian beauty. As I was making my getaway, a traffic police officer was kind enough to make way for me, rather for the car, and said, “Sir, this way, you will be able to avoid all the slow traffic.” I just smiled and thought, “Eat your heart out Bollywood stars and politicians, I’m the King – at least for today.”
On finally finding some open roads, it was time to floor the pedal – at which point the mild engine clatter disappeared and it switched to super-silent mode. To be honest that was a little disappointing, as I was hoping for some serious acoustics from the 3-litre V6 motor. I know many will think its sacrilege for an Italian super luxury sedan to not have a fire-breathing all-conquering petrol heart, but in the words of Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a-changing.” All was not lost, as the V6 came to life after 1,800rpm – from when on it absolutely roared. The engine, however, couldn’t quite match the brilliant surround sound system for acoustics. So I decided to roll down the windows to hear what tune the engine was singing. The notes were slightly muffled, but very respectable.
My palms were comfortably placed on the beautifully crafted steering wheel. The steering effort was slightly on the heavier side – which is how we like it – and its feedback was just phenomenal. And for a sporty sedan, the ride quality was nothing if not plush – you almost have to try to feel a bone jarring thump. But the 8-speed automatic transmission in normal drive mode was a little lethargic. And for a 272bhp V6 engine, it’s get up and go too was a tad laid back. But switch to manual mode, and the Ghibli becomes a possessed beast. We loved the big Ferrari-like forged aluminium gear-shift paddles. In manual, this machine now suddenly began to hint towards its Italian sports car heritage. This is when the car begged me to challenge sweeping corners so that it could show off its precision & balance, and showcase its legendary DNA.
As expected, this ultra-luxury sedan takes the style quotient to another level. The Ghibli has dollops of flair, but it’s Neptune’s trident badge smack on the centre of the nose gives it an air of superiority. The typical trademark vertically slatted front grille, and a sleek curvy rear, plus the frameless doors, all create a beautiful combination of style and attitude. The interiors are no less breathtaking, with gorgeous bucket seats, a lavish dual-tone leather dashboard, and a massive 8.4-inch touch screen. The on-board navigation device was easy to use, and a special mention must go to the 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system. The buttons are disappointing though, as they’re made of hard plastic and don’t really blend in with such an expensive cabin. And it’s the small details such as these where the Maserati falls short of its German competition.
All said and done, the Maserati Ghibli is a car that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. No doubt, it looks and feels luxurious, but you expect a bit more from the engine and gearbox. And while it’s quite a bit more expensive than the BMW 530d and Mercedes-Benz 350CDI, it’s not as spacious as the Mercedes and not as punchy as the BMW. What it does do, however, is make a statement like no other. It takes the panache and style factor to another level frankly – and that’s what your Rs. 1.10 crores gets you!
- Maserati Ghibli
Engine: 2,987cc / V6 / 24 valves / Turbocharged
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic / Rear Wheel Drive
Power: 272bhp @ 4,000rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 2,000-2,600rpm
Acceleration: 0-100km/h – 6.3 seconds
Price: Rs. 1.10 crores (Ex-showroom, Delhi)