Maserati takes a gamble with its new Ghibli
Maserati plans to increase its sales by 700% and win over owners of BMW M5s with its new executive coupe
Spot the difference between these numbers: 7,000 and 50,000. The first is roughly how many cars Maserati sells each year. The second figure is how many cars Maserati wants to sell each year. The difference between the two figures is the difference between dancing on the boundary of irrelevance and becoming a solid, profitable luxury carmaker.
The Ghibli is the first big gamble Maserati has taken in its efforts to find 700 percent more customers. It’s the first time in its 90-plus year history that Maserati has had two four-door saloons at the same time (to go with its two-door GranTurismo coupe and GranCabrio convertible), the first time it’s had a competitor for the likes of the E-Class, the 5-Series and the A6 and it’s the first time it’s had a diesel, too.
Admittedly, with prices likely to touch €90,000 when it arrives in Ireland, the Ghibli might not be priced to compete with the 520d SE, but it is planning to take on the likes of the M5, and has the brand kudos to really challenge the upper end of these German rivals.
Clearly, there was plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong with a car designed to sell, by itself, triple the company’s yearly average. But they got it right. What they’ve done instead is design both the Ghibli and the Quattroporte at the same time, sharing about 50 per cent of their parts. The Ghibli is about a foot shorter and 50kg lighter than big brother and doesn’t use (for now) its V8, preferring two versions of its twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6, plus a 3.0-litre turbodiesel.
Maserati is deadly serious about its ambitions, with both the rear-drive and all-wheel drive versions of the Ghibli S capable of hitting 100km/h in 4.8 seconds and stretching out to a 284km/h top speed, thanks to 301kW of power and 550Nm of torque.
Its power peak arrives at a relaxed 5500rpm, while the torque hits hardest from just 1750rpm (surprisingly, lower than the diesel) and stays on station until 5000rpm.
The all-wheel drive Ghibli S Q4 has the same 10.5 litres/100km combined fuel economy figure as the rear-drive Ghibli S, even though the all-wheel drive system adds 60kg to the overall weight up from 1,810kg to 1,870kg. The diesel adds only 20kg to the register 1,830kg, yet all Ghiblis claim 50:50 weight distribution.
The base Ghibli delivers exactly the same engine hardware, detuned for 243 kW (330 CV) of power at 5000 rpm and 500Nm of torque at a peakier 4500rpm. It’s still a fast car, sprinting to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds and delivering an NEDC figure of 9.6 litres/100km.