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Comparison of Maserati Ghibli Diesel with BMW 640d Gran Coupe and thoughts about “What is Ghibli?”

Usually Maserati Ghibli is compared with BMW 5 series, Mercedes-Benz E-class or Audi A6. The manufacturer defines Ghibli as a sport sedan, but emphasizes that it has a coupe-like streamlined silhouette and narrow frameless windows. The above allows to fit Ghibli into four-door coupe category. Especially it relates to Ghibli Diesel, which is hardly a sport sedan. It is true four-door coupe like BMW 6 Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7, the majority of which are diesels on the European roads. So, the fact that Maserati decided that it is more beneficial to put Ghibli in sport sedans category than in four-door coupes one, does not discard the fact that Ghibli also fits well in four-door coupe category. Some journalists naturally call it four-door coupe instead of sport sedan as well.

Having such views and being the loyal fan of BMW for more than 12 years it was interesting for me to compare Maserati Ghibli, which I ordered without any doubts, with BMW 6 Gran Coupe. So below is the comparison of Maserati Ghibli Diesel and BMW 640d Gran Coupe made after long enough (around 1500 km) trips on each, including mountain roads, local roads, highways and city traffic.

1) Appearance and style. No comparison in favour to Maserati. The pictures attached.

2) Driver’s seat. Maserati Ghibli offers a range of driver’s seat position from normal to high together with well adjustable steering wheel, while BMW 6 Gran Coupe offers to sit low or very low, as well as low position of steering wheel. Having the height of 187 cm (6’2”) I found the upper position of steering wheel in BMW too low. I had to lower the seat position a lot to fit myself between the steering wheel and the seat. The resulting seat position in BMW’s four-door coupe was much lower than I would prefer. This nuance caused me some back pain in its upper part after 2-3 hours of driving of BMW 6 Gran Coupe, while I’ve never had even minor signs of such problems with Ghibli.

3) Rear seats space. Maserati refers Ghibli as a 5 seats car and it is true. BMW refers 6 Gran Coupe as a 4+1 seats car, but I fully agree only with “+1”, which is definitely almost not possible to use. Two rear passengers of 6 Gran Coupe will fit only if they have average or lower height. A tall man like me has no chance to fit on the rear seat of BMW 6 Gran Coupe at all. Maserati Ghibli has no such problem and the only thing I wished on the rear seat behind driver’s seat adjusted for myself is to have new Quattroporte for more leg space. Both cars should have pretty the same amount of room for the legs of rear passengers if the front seats adjusted similarly. But low driver’s seat position in BMW for a tall man like me leaves much less space for the legs of rear passenger than normal seat position in Maserati.

4) Trunk space. Maserati has lower trunk loading level, better organized trunk space and more width, but lower overall height of the trunk. As a result, it is easier to load suitcases in Maserati than in BMW. Finally, it is possible to put two 29” suitcases and baby stroller both in Maserati and in BMW, however in different layouts. And one more observation. While trunk closing and opening was not so pleasant in 2014 MY Ghiblis, now in 2015 MY Ghibli it is absolutely comfortable for opening and closing the trunk. And the closing of the trunk is even more comfortable than in compared BMW 6 Gran Coupe.
 

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5) Suspension. The suspension of BMW is good and comfortable. It appeared for me that Maserati offers more stiff and sporty suspension even in Soft mode of Skyhook. Hard mode of Skyhook in Maserati provides much bigger difference. It does not affect the comfort too much, but it makes literally no body roll at all. It affects the driving experience dramatically: the car stays stable at the bends and there is only the roll of people inside the car, but no body roll of the car itself. It helps to keep the curves of the mountain roads much more precisely than on normal suspension, which I usually tend to understeer not because of drift, but just to avoid too much of uncomfortable body roll. So, for curvy mountain roads I would highly recommend to have Skyhook, which changes the driving experience completely.

At the same time, Skyhook has some underside. The problem is that the dampers should correspond to the springs, and too soft dampers for too hard springs is a problem, which sometimes happens with Skyhook in Soft mode. It may lead to full expansion of the suspension on rebound and I got it once. So, after that I had to be more careful with speed bumps in Soft mode of Maserati’s Skyhook suspension than on BMW with normal suspension.

6) Engine. BMW’s twin-turbo diesel engine offers 13% more power and 5% more torque than Maserati’s single-turbo diesel engine. In conjunction with xDrive AWD transmission BMW provides 0-100 km/h acceleration time 0.9s better. But in the real road conditions the torque plays much bigger role than the acceleration time. Just 5% difference in torque explains why I have not found any significant difference in the engine behaviour of these cars on the road.

The sound of the engine and exhaust is more easily notable. BMW diesel engine is a piece of motor art, one of the most smooth and silent six-cylinders diesels in the market, but it still feels like a diesel. BMW has noticeable diesel vibrations on the steering wheel both on idle and even on accelerating at low revs. It has diesel sound notes inside of the car, and, of course, outside. It has boring engine sound when accelerating.

The diesel engine of Maserati delivers the most non-diesel sound and feelings I have ever heard and felt. The vibration on the steering wheel on the idle has higher frequency and lower amplitude, so it doesn’t feel like diesel vibration at all. I have no diesel sound notes both inside and outside of the car. As I understood, such silence is due to the facts of the extensive use of polyurethane soundproofing in the engine cover and an additional thick piece of it over fuel-injection pump, plus Air Gap insulated double wall steel exhaust manifolds.

In Sport mode of the Maserati’s engine, instead of the diesel, I hear and feel intoxicating sound similar to American gasoline V8. The sound is amazing on the acceleration. It impels to accelerate much more often than it is really needed. And I still use Sport mode not only for improved performance, but often just because of the sound. Although even in Normal mode the engine sound on accelerating has the same notes, but is not so loudly expressed. And it is definitely much more interesting than boring engine sound of BMW. On the highway the noise of the engine in Sport mode at 120 km/h at 8th gear has almost no difference with Normal or I.C.E. mode. However, under high load the exhaust of Ghibli Diesel has especially loud drone in any mode at the revs lower than peak torque 2000 rpm. Lowering the gear and increasing the revs removes the drone without affecting the fuel consumption.

7) Other noticeable things. There are some things in BMW, which I really miss in Maserati. I loved BMW’s Head-Up Display for navigation and managing the speed, speed limit and cruise control. Instead of looking in front of the BMW’s bonnet in modern way in Maserati I have to look down to the instrument cluster more conservatively and less safe. Another feature, which I miss even more, is the all-round cameras in BMW, which make passing the narrow driveways in European multi-level parkings much more convenient. And yes, the premium sound system in Ghibli definitely lacks the bass. However, it is not needed either for listening Pavarotti and Bocelli or for enjoying the exciting sound of the exhaust.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So, BMW 640d Gran Coupe is a car with low to very low driver’s seat position, lots of technology inside and not so roomy interior and trunk, which it is not friendly for tall persons either in driver seat or in rear seat. Its suspension and engine are good, but boring. On the opposite side Maserati Ghibli Diesel with Skyhook is a car with normal to high driver’s seat position, less technology inside and some features missing, but with roomier trunk and interior, which provides enough comfort for tall persons on any seat of the car. Its Skyhook suspension and new diesel engine are not only just good, but provide lots of positive emotions, feelings and experience. They are truly absolutely opposite of ordinary as it is advertised by Maserati. I would easily forgive the flat sound system, a bit lower performance in reward for what Ghibli is delivering in comparison to its famous competitor. So, even being the loyal fan of BMW, personally I see no reason to buy BMW 640d Gran Coupe instead of buying Maserati Ghibli Diesel.

I would even state that Maserati did much better car in the category of four-door coupes than BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Four-door coupes are designated for people who want to have elegance, style, emotions and feelings of sport coupe and need to use the rear seat for family members sometimes. If the latter is not a case, there is plenty of choice of nice coupes. Maserati managed to make its four-door coupe elegant and sporty with no comparison better appearance without sacrificing the comfort of rear passengers and tall drivers like its German competitors do. In addition to its prestigious and respectable name, it offered thrilling and exciting engines and suspension. The only benefits, which German competitors offer, are more gadgets inside and sometimes a bit more powerful engines.

BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 are Executive/Mid-size luxury sedans (saloons) with ordinary appearance far from elegance and style of coupes. Lacking the style and elegance, they offer rear seats and driver seat comfortable for any person, including a tall one. The main German manufacturers of Executive cars offer to choose from comfortable sedans (saloons) of ordinary to mediocre appearance, and uncomfortable for tall people four-door coupes, which are more stylish and elegant. Maserati Ghibli offers a unique combination of comfort of the sedan (saloon) and style and elegance of four-door coupe without a need to sacrifice one of them.

Thus now with Maserati Ghibli the choice between Appearance, Comfort and Gadgets has three options among continental European car manufacturers:
1) Comfort & Gadgets – BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6
2) Appearance & Gadgets – BMW 6 Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7
3) Appearance Extra & Comfort – Maserati Ghibli

So, sacrificing just some gadgets, Maserati Ghibli offers its body with a unique combination of appearance and comfort, which is more substantial and fundamental than the set of gadgets, which now becomes obsolete in just around 5 years.
 

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Wow, what a fantastic review - thank you for your effort of putting it together and sharing with us. I definitely agree with your points re: sport coupe appearance with a sport sedan capacity - it was a major selling point for me since I have a 3 little kids and need to take them places from time to time - they fit perfectly in the rear :) - not an option in any other known 4-door sport coupe.

"Maserati Ghibli offers a unique combination of comfort of the sedan (saloon) and style and elegance of four-door coupe without a need to sacrifice one of them." - I agree 100%!
 

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Nice write up and good detailed comparisons.


If you like the diesel Ghibli exhaust note, you should hear the petrol version. Even better, hear a petrol one with the Larini exhaust system.
 

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Agree....

I also preferred Ghibli to look at... whole better class of car.

This video on the 6 did almost sway me.


I do like the interior better in the Ghibli but the Nav needs some work..
 
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