The design team for the 'M157'-series third generation Ghibli worked under the auspices of Gio Ribotta, Maserati's exterior design manager, who points to styling cues from the brand's legendary Tipo 61 'Birdcage' model, although to be honest, they're lost on me. Think of the Ghibli as a truncated Quattroporte and you're not too far off the mark. It looks anything but a hall of mirrors aping of the elegant QP though and it has its own muscularity that distances itself from the executive car mainstream. It shares much the same drivetrain and suspension with its bigger brother and weight has been cut by building the doors and internal cross members from aluminium, with the dashboard structure constructed in magnesium. It shares the same drivelines and suspension, steel monocoque and production line as Maserati's larger model, but the Ghibli is a foot shorter, with very different coachwork. The suspension is as you'd expect with front double wishbones and a multilink rear, this time using electronically adjustable dampers all round.
Drop inside and the interior feels and looks reassuringly expensive and well screwed together. Rear legroom and headroom isn't at all bad and there's even a big 500-litre boot. In case you were wondering, yes, you do get that iconic Maserati dash-mounted analogue clock. The information systems never feel quite as slick or as technologically dense as German and Japanese rivals, so if you want the latest in toy tech, you might find the Maserati wanting. If you prefer to make a dramatic entrance, however, there's really nothing to touch it.