As high-end executive cars go, the Ghibli has its own flavour, which is very much Maserati’s pitch for the car.
Both of the firm's saloons have clearly benefitted from some years of honing and polishing, meaning they have less to fear from the German establishment.
The V6 diesel engine is now more refined, and even with the bonnet raised it is surprisingly quiet at ticover. Maserati's engineers have also done a fine job of integrating the motor with the eight-speed automatic gearbox.
All in all, this drivetrain is impressively quick, meters out its performance with great civility and is well integrated with the transmission whether climbing Italian mountain roads or overtaking on the motorway.
High-speed refinement is also better. The powertrain settles into a distant thrum and there's very little wind noise around the A-pillars and frameless doors.
You can hardly pick big holes in the Ghibli’s ride and handling balance, either. The steering – operated through a satisfyingly fat wheel rim – has a distinctly Italian feel.
It is nicely weighted and delivers a sense of accuracy that makes skirting quickly around alpine bends easier than it is in most cars of this size.
Even the ride is impressive. On the badly broken B-roads of northern Italy, the Ghibli copes well. Clearly, this car is not designed to be a road-smothering limo, but neither is it an over-firm machine with misplaced ‘sporting’ intent.
The only time it was seriously unsettled was over a sequence of road which was both badly broken and sunken. Compared to the Quattroporte we tried on the same roads, the Ghibli’s shorter wheelbase is occasionally caught out, allowing the body to pitch about.
The Ghibli is firm enough to feel well planted, but the chassis is able to both deliver excellent refinement on good surfaces and allow a sense of the road surface to filter through the cabin. It's an impressive mix.
It may seem an odd proposal, but a car that allows the driver to feel the changing road surface is more impressive than one that either tries to disguise or ignore it.
And the downsides? Mostly of interior quirkiness. No matter what I did with the seat and wheel adjustment, the wheel’s thick rim obscured part of the speedo.
Odd parts – such as the front quarterlight plastic moulding that houses the sound system's tweeters and is right in the driver's eyeline – are cheaply finished. Meanwhile, moving the shift lever between indents was not as positive as it should have been and the boot – though big enough – has a small and cluttered opening.