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Driven: 2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.

Driven: 2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo
The Ghibli might be getting long in the tooth, but has Maserati managed to keep its M5-rivalling super-saloon feeling fresh?

   



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2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo

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The Maserati Ghibli is not an especially new car, but numerous updates have been applied in an attempt to keep this Mercedes-Benz E-Class rival feeling fresh. There's improved technology and even a mild-hybrid powertrain, but the crowning glory is the V8-powered Trofeo. Does it still have what it takes to challenge the likes of the BMW M5?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Maserati Ghibli Trofeo
Pricing: From £121,505
Engine: 3.8-litre V8 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: four-door, five-seat saloon
CO2 emissions: 286g/km
Combined economy: 22.2mpg
Top speed: 203mph
0-62mph: 4.3 seconds
Power: 580hp
Torque: 730Nm
Boot space: 500 litres

Styling

From the outside, the Ghibli certainly looks the part. The standard Ghibli lines remain, giving the car an elegant but menacing shape that looks fast and powerful, even when it's standing still. It's easily among the best-looking executive saloons on the market, but this Trofeo model comes with a few extras that don't always improve things. Chief among these is the red trim around the Trofeo lettering on the wings and on the trademark vents, as well as in the Maserati logo on the rear roof pillars. It's obvious that Maserati is trying to make its flagship stand out, but it all looks a bit like someone has done it to their own car, and that's quite an off-putting quality.

Interior

Although the Ghibli has supposedly been updated since its launch in 2013, the cabin still feels a little old-school. Yes, it has a new touchscreen, but the overall dashboard design is starting to show its age. Some of those features Ė the fabulous analogue dials and the chunky steering wheel Ė are welcome remnants, but some of the plastics feel a bit cheap by modern standards and the mish-mash of materials gives it a slight lack of cohesion.

All that said, the cabin still feels special, with Maserati offering embossed trident logos in the head restraints and acres of leather trim. But alongside rivals from the big German brands, the Ghibli interior doesnít quite feel as well built or as upmarket.

However, Maserati has tried to lift things with the new touchscreen, which is a massive improvement on what went before. Lifted from the new Grecale SUV, itís a big, sharp display with much-improved graphics and more logical menus. It isnít perfect Ė it lags a bit and it doesnít feel as stable or as smart as the BMW system Ė but itís a huge step forward for a brand that has traditionally suffered when it comes to technology.

Practicality

Although it's quite a big car, the Ghibli isn't especially roomy inside. The rear legroom is no more than adequate and headroom will be a little tight for taller passengers. It's a little bit dark, too, thanks to the dark roof lining.

Fortunately, boot space is somewhat more competitive, and the Ghibli's 500-litre cargo capacity is more or less on a par with the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. Yes, there's around 30 litres' difference, but a five-per-cent discrepancy is really neither here nor there. The Ghibli has more than enough room for your luggage, and that's all that matters.

Performance

The Ghibli Trofeo's engine is central to its appeal, and the vital statistics look very promising indeed. With 580hp, rear-wheel drive and a surprisingly sharp eight-speed automatic gearbox, the Trofeo can get from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds, and it'll do more than 200mph.

And that's only half the story. The engine snaps and snarls its way up the rev counter, yet it does so with more aristocracy than, say, an M5 Competition. It doesn't feel as though it's constantly chasing the horizon like a husky on a leash, but it has this fabulously lazy oomph that takes a moment to get going. For long distances, that's ideal.

Of course, though, economy is an issue. Maserati says it'll do about 22mpg, and that's pretty unimpressive, even for something with almost 600hp. That said, we managed to improve on that figure over longer distances, and the Ghibli didn't prove too ruinous at the pumps. Don't expect much more than 25mpg from one, though, particularly if it spends most of its time in town.

Ride & Handling

Though the Ghibliís engine is fabulous, it falls behind its rivals in terms of handling and comfort. Itís not that the Maserati is especially bad Ė it corners adequately and the motorway ride is perfectly tolerable Ė but it has to compete with such polished rivals that the Italian saloon just canít keep the pace.

It is, in essence, two different cars, depending on the driving mode selected. In Normal mode, itís a little too soft to be a proper sports saloon, with a lack of body control that makes fast cornering feel perilous and gives the car a tendency to feel unsettled over really rough surfaces. Pop it into Sport mode and the car tightens up somewhat, which gives much better body control at the expense of ride comfort.

Not that the Ghibli was especially comfortable anyway. The huge wheels and low-profile tyres mean it thumps into bumps quite a bit, and though it sorts itself out quite quickly, it can feel worryingly slack. That, combined with slightly vague steering, means it never inspires the confidence you get from the Maseratiís German rivals, although it means the motorway ride is far more compliant.

And itís there, on the motorway, where the Ghibli feels at its best. The V8 gives it ample performance and the handling becomes irrelevant, so itís all about long-distance performance. On that basis, the Ghibli scores highly.

Value

You can say whatever you want about Maserati, but the Italian company certainly knows how to write an invoice. Ghibli prices start at £75,800, but the Trofeo tested here rises to £121,505 plus options. A BMW M5 Competition is £10,000 cheaper. That said, you get plenty of standard equipment for your money, including the new touchscreen and a reversing camera, as well as sporty leather-trimmed seats and carbon-fibre dash trim. Yes, it's premium, but you don't half pay for it.

Verdict

The Ghibli is getting on a bit, and it shows. The new touchscreen has improved things and itís certainly fast, but it feels lumpen and old-school alongside more finessed rivals such as the BMW M5. That said, the engine is brilliant and thereís something charming and likeable about the Ghibliís traditional approach. This is a car with character, but itís a car you buy with your head, rather than your heart Ė especially given the massive price tag.



James Fossdyke - 4 Apr 2023



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2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.

2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.2023 Maserati Ghibli Trofeo. Image by Maserati.







 

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