What does a big package of updates add up to?
In its four years of production the Ghibli has already had some revisions, but the latest round adds up to the most comprehensive yet. Upgrades to steering, power, trim levels and bodywork are just part of the package although the changes to nose, grille and tail have been cautious, so as not to overly change the overall lines of this big four-seater.
The range has been extended in a slightly interesting way, with a base model below either GranLusso trim, which majors on comfort, or GranSport which does what it says. Both these trim levels cost the same, with the GranLusso tested here coming with conventional suspension, electric adjustment for the steering wheel, soft-close doors, 12-way adjustable front seats and a rather eye-catching interior trim that includes silk inserts by the fashion designer Ermenegildo Zegna.
The cabin features swathes of leather and luxury upholstery and overall has that unmistakable air of Italian opulence and style. It’s elegant to look at even if some of the competitors’ digital displays including head-up displays do put this Maserati slightly behind the front row of technology. That might not bother some. What might bother them a touch more is the less than generous space in the rear, but the seats themselves are hugely comfy front or rear.
Maserati Ghibli S GranLusso
Engine: 3.0-litre, V6, twin turbo petrol
Torque: 428lb ft
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Top speed: 178mph
CO2 emissions: 223g/km
So far the market for engines has been 80 per cent diesel, but in the light of changing sentiment, this is expected to reduce to 50 per cent. The VM diesel hasn’t changed, and still makes 247bhp, but we’re driving the 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine in S form with 424bhp thanks to the twin turbochargers.
That sounds a rather large amount of power but the Ghibli is a big and heavy beast so, while it’s hardly slow, it’s not quite the missile you might expect. Mind you, the sound it makes is delightfully mellifluous as you rachet up the revs, aided by the smooth-changing eight-speed auto transmission. When you really start to stoke the fires you are aware not so much of the performance but of the shortcomings of the chassis.
The original Ghibli wasn’t overly endowed with handling prowess so it’s a surprise to see this hasn’t been addressed in a major way. The GranSport version gets the Skyhook adjustable electronic dampers, and these were fitted to our test GranLusso. Even so, there’s a wallowy feel to the suspension in Comfort mode. If you up it to Sport setting it does tighten up a bit but there’s still quite a lot of body movement through the corners which isn’t something to aid a sense of languor and wellbeing.
The option would be the four-wheel drive system on the S Q4 model, as that really does help to tie it all down but, irritatingly, they can’t engineer that for right-hand drive.
So we’re left with a model which is better than before but which even now, with the latest revisions just launched, lies behind the best of the competition. If you’re after a keen drive then this isn’t it, and really you have a right to expect more of an exciting and rounded journey from a £74,000 Maserati.