Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
We expect most Ghibli buyers to look towards the model with a hybrid engine, called the GT. What Maserati means by hybrid is actually a mild-hybrid. The system offers a small boost to the engine when setting off from a stop, but can’t power the car on electricity alone, unlike plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class.
Still, with 325bhp on tap, the part-electric supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine gets the rather hefty Ghibli up to speed in a swift fashion that will please most enthusiastic drivers.
The Ghibli has three driving modes – called ICE (Increased Control and Efficiency), Normal and Sport – but none of them really fits their billing.
Sport primes the gearbox, weights the steering and, on models with the optional Skyhook damping control, stiffens the dampers to the detriment of ride quality (the Ghibli occasionally skips sideways over ruts mid-bend).
Sadly, softening the dampers in Normal mode doesn't help the ride – the extra breathing space means the body shudders more. The wheels pick up on too many scars in the asphalt too, whereas the 5 Series with adaptive suspension and the XF both have better blends of ride comfort and handling agility.
On the plus side, the steering in the Ghibli is pleasantly precise with a reassuring amount of heft as you turn the wheel, although it could do with being quicker to respond to really fulfil the remit of being a sporty luxury car.
Again, the 5 Series and XF are better in that regard. They feel far more eager to change direction, and are more comfortable being pushed through bends.