Is mid-life Maserati refresh enough to make BMW nervous?
Maserati sits at an interesting crossroads at the moment, trying to sell more cars without undermining its unique premium brand status. Launched in 2013, the Ghibli is a crucial part of that push. Designed to compete with the BMW 5 Series, it hasn't quite hit the mark, with critics noting its unrefined diesel engine and uninspiring cabin. This refresh aims to address those criticisms, with new luxurious trim lines and a fresh infotainment system.
Small refinement was the order of the day when it came to refreshing the Ghibli's exterior. A new slightly redesigned grille is the only change of substance, and even that is a very minor tweak. Only trainspotters would be able to tell the mid-life updated car from the 2013 original, but styling was always a Ghibli strong point, so that's no bad thing.
The real changes have taken place inside, where the center console has been completely redesigned. An 8.4-inch touchscreen now takes pride of place, and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The lower console is also completely new, with less buttons and easier climate controls making for a much simpler, cleaner look than before. Whether it will represent a big step on from the Chrysler-sourced system in its predecessor remains to be seen, but it certainly looks good in pictures.
Like the Quattroporte, all Ghiblis are fitted with an Air Quality Sensor, designed to improve the cabin ambiance by improving air filtering. Although this might not seem particularly necessary in Europe or many American cities, it is an idea likely to resonate in heavily polluted Chinese cities. It's also an idea Tesla has bought into with the HEPA filter available on the Model X.
In an attempt to stay up-to-date with the super-smart 5 Series and E-Class, the refreshed midsize Maserati can now be specced with a suite of semi-autonomous driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, collision alerts and auto-emergency braking. An optional surround-view camera should make parking easier, although this functionality is shared with Nissans and Hyundais, so its inclusion on a high-end Italian saloon isn't exactly groundbreaking.
The tech refresh is accompanied by a healthy boost in power for petrol models. Base cars with the petrol V6 now make 350 hp (261 kW), an improvement of 20 hp (15 kW) over the car it replaces, and enough for a 5.5 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph). Meanwhile, the 275 hp (205 kW) diesel and 410 hp (307 kW) Ghibli S are unchanged under the hood.
Though the refreshed Ghibli certainly looks much smarter than its predecessor, we don't really think that BMW or Mercedes have got anything to worry about. Pricing for the new Maserati Ghibli starts at US$71,600, but adding the optional driver assist packages or extensively customizing the interior will quickly push that price toward six figures.
Take a closer look at the new Ghibli in a video from Maserati below: