For the first time in their 99-year history, Maserati are offering a diesel engine. Purist may sneer at this, but the Italians firmly believe this oil-burner, together with the new Ghibli, will deliver the winning combination for a greater global presence.
There’s an obvious similarity between the styling of the new Ghibli and the Quattroporte, it’s larger and more expensive stable mate. The Ghibli though, is shorter by 291mm, lighter by 50kgs, and is a lot more purposeful in appearance, with a slightly aggressive stance, softened only by the deliciously sculptured shunt-lines which run along the entire length of the body.
A steeply raked windscreen, long bonnet and short overhangs further highlight an architecture which errs more towards a coupe than a four-door saloon, resulting in possibly the best looking premium, mid-sized, executive car currently on the market.
The cabin succinctly mirrors the exterior too; it’s been beautifully crafted with an individual feel that takes the very best of Italian design and styling and wraps it all up in a sumptuous leather package that can match, if not better, any of its rivals.
And, unlike the Ghibli’s immediate competition, backseat passengers benefit from a descent amount of headroom, although leg space is a little bit more limited, as is the luggage area in the boot.
Maserati may be one the last car makers to join the diesel bandwagon, but at least they’ve done it in style by making their first effort a whopping great 271bhp 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo. It will come, as standard, with an eight-speed paddle-shift ZF automatic transmission, too.
Even more surprising than finding an oil-burner under the bonnet is the deep burble expelled from its quad tailpipes. This can be attributed to the Maserati’s Active Sound system which uses a pair of noise actuators to sieve out the any unwanted diesel clatter, leaving just a melodic and intoxicating thrum.
There’s just one trim level for the Ghibli diesel, and Maserati say it’s been priced to sell. However, at £48,830 it’s still no bargain, but nonetheless, it has been generously equipped with such niceties as a leather lined interior, powered adjustable leather seats, air conditioning, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system and a SatNav with touch screen monitor, leaving little needed to be chosen from the options list.
Model tested: Maserati Ghibli Diesel
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel
Transmission: eight-speed ZF automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: four-door coupe
Rivals: Mercedes CLS, BMW 6-series GT, Audi A7
CO2 emissions: 158g/km
Combined economy: 47.9mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 6.3 seconds
Power: 271bhp at 4,00rpm
Torque: 443lb.ft at 2,000-2,600rpm