When it comes to supercars, ostentatious displays of wealth are plentiful but Maserati's Quattroporte is not one of them.
Compared with other supercars it is a model of restraint, masculinity tempered by a feminine side. But make no mistake the Quattroporte is sleek, stylish and every inch a supercar. It's also now even more economical thanks to new diesel engines.
While Italian purists may choke on their pasta at the first diesel-powered car in the model's long and illustrious history, this oil burner was designed to broaden the appeal of the Quattroporte, particularly in Europe.
Slip behind the wheel and the driving position is supremely comfortable, whatever height you are and the cabin is as well-crafted as an Armani suit. Everything oozes luxury with all the traditional hand crafted detailing for which the Trident brand is known. It is also practical, with a huge boot and room for you plus four.
Zipping from 0-100km/h in only 6.4 seconds with a 250km/h top speed, the Quattroporte is no slouch and no-one would suspect it is a diesel. Despite feeling quite substantial, it handles tight, sticks beautifully to the road and in corners is surprisingly sure-footed. The steering is light but the ride is firm and maybe a little too harsh for some. It consumes a frugal 5.2 litres/100km on a combination of city and motorway driving while emitting a prudent 163 grams of CO2 each kilometre.
Maserati is a company synonymous with big engines and even bigger price tags but this Quattroporte starts at £69,235 (Irish prices are likely to be in excess of €100,000 considering the strength of Sterling).
Also new to the Maserati line-up is the Ghibli. With smouldering Italian good looks, the Ghibli takes design cues from the Quattroporte and is beguiling from any angle. But beneath this stunning exterior is a cabin that blends Italian styling chic with genuine space for four and a generous 500-litre boot. Behind the wheel, feast your eyes on the sculpted dashboard, exquisite detailing and chrome-trimmed instrumentation while glove-soft leather drapes everything else.
Under the bonnet is a Ferrari-sourced 3-litre twin turbo V6 that comes with a roar that is simply intoxicating surpassed only by the 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system. Press the Sport button and as you watch the revs climb, a host of snarls and growls are unleashed. Befitting such a soundtrack, the Ghibli S reaches 100km/h in 5.0 seconds and has a top speed of 285km/h. Combined with the smooth, seamless shifting between eight-gears the Ghibli handles tight and sticks beautifully to the road on 19-inch wheels. On the downside it is firm, bordering on harsh and the steering is a little unnatural, with too much artificial assistance but that said, this is a car that will bring out the girl racer in any business woman.
Fast cars with big engines also use a lot of fuel matched to high emissions and the Ghibli is no exception, according to Maserati it uses about 10.4 litres per 100km or 27.2 mpg on a combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 242 g/km mean motor tax is €2,350. On the flip side the Maserati Ghibli is far more exotic than executive saloons and should be reflected in the price you get when you go to sell it.
It may be the smallest Maserati on the market but there is nothing cheap about it, the V6 Diesel starts at £49,610 so you can expect Irish prices to be double that. You could pay less for a comparably equipped car but you wouldn't cut nearly as dash, it is beauty in its purest and most simple form.