This segment is one of the most fiercely contested in this year’s CotY awards. Maserati’s new kid on the block, Ghibli, faces a baptism of fire as it has to contend with two of the fiercest sports saloons around; the BMW M6 Gran Coupé and the Audi RS 7.
Ingolstadt’s 560-horsepower bruiser is one of the most aggressive four-door cars we’ve driven in recent times. It hits 0-100kph in 3.9 seconds and reaches 305kph — those are supercar stats.
But it’s also got a wonky weight balance, fuzzy steering and provides almost no driver engagement. Three strikes…
The sexy M6 Gran Coupé should be a little bit better. Munich’s finest, with comparable figures of 552bhp and 680Nm churned out by the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, which is mated to a seven-speed M double-clutch transmission.
The M6 is immediately more communicative, with its weighty steering giving you enough confidence to fling it into a corner. But turn the traction control off and you can see this is not a neutral handling car. The tail kicks out far too easily and you can feel the weight slosh from side to side, whereas the Maserati feels supremely more chuckable than either of these.
The baby Maser offers drop-dead gorgeous looks and unparalleled badge appeal. Designed by Scuderia engineer Paolo Martinelli and built by Ferrari at Maranello, the twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 under the Ghibli’s sculpted bonnet snarls to life with a resonant roar that is unmatched even in this august company.
The figures of 410bhp, 550Nm, 285kph top speed and 4.8 seconds from 0-100kph do not do justice to the real sense of exhilaration you get out of driving this car.
Featuring Maserati’s Skyhook adaptive damping system, the Ghibli’s chassis is suspended by double wishbones up front and a five-bar multi-link system at the rear, and helps the car maintain a sort of composure around sharp bends that would make even the big boys envious.
The speed-sensitive, servo-powered hydraulic steering set-up is much better than the electrically assisted ones seen on the M6. There’s a transparent neutrality to its dynamics; it’s amazing how it refuses to understeer or oversteer — unless you’re driving like a complete lunatic.
The Ghibli has perfect weight balance, a fantastic chassis, a splendid exhaust note, and yet it’s comfortable and spacious inside. But best of all, it’s very competitively priced, with a base price of Dh280K for the S. That’s half what you pay for the M6 Gran Coupé. Less is indeed more sometimes.