Maserati Ghibli vs Jaguar XJ

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Exploring the luxury performance sedan segment can be most fun when you’re comparing brands with diametrically opposed initiatives. Sure, there’s no lack of enjoyment in comparing BMW, Audi and Mercedes against one another, but there are some redundant similarities to be expected across German-engineered models. Throw in a Maserati, and now you can have some fun with it, because Italian engineers and designers take a different approach than their German counterparts.

Jaguar is another story entirely. If German automakers focus on efficiency and Italians deliver passion, a British automaker might be expected to serve up class, or refinement. While we would never imply that any of these characteristics are exclusive to each automaker, no-one could argue that the attributes are distributed differently among them. This makes each vehicle a truly nuanced offering. With that in mind, we’re going to let the passion of Maserati go head-to-head against the refinement of Jaguar. Let’s take a look at the Maserati Ghibli vs Jaguar XJ.

The Basics

Splitting the difference between coupe and sedan styling, the Maserati Ghibli is a midsize luxury sedan made available in three trim levels (base, S and S Q4). Pricing starts around $71,600 MSRP for the base trim and $79,700 for the S Q4.

The Jaguar XL may be a full-size sedan, but retains its sportiness across the standard and long-wheelbase (XJL) trim configurations. The former serves up three trims in the (base) R-Sport, Supercharged and XJR. The latter also offers three options in the Portfolio, Supercharged and XJR trims. Pricing for the base levels start at $75,400 MSRP for the standard wheelbase and $84,500 for the Long Wheelbase. (Expect final pricing to be heavily influenced by the powertrain configuration, since Jaguar comes with options that could make up to a $40,000 difference).

For the sake of this comparison, we’ll focus on the most accessible base trims: the Maserati Ghibli and the Jaguar XL R-Sport (albeit with some additional fleshing out of the lines to help you choose for yourself).

 

Technology

Technology

At the base level, the Ghibli’s infotainment system is built around an 8.4-inch touchscreen (linked to rearview camera) and eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio. Bluetooth-enabled, the Ghibli is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also offers a built-in navigation system.

Also Bluetooth-enabled, the R-Sport boasts an 8-inch touchscreen (with navigation) and a 14-speaker Meridian audio system, with satellite and HD radio. Additional music sources come in the fort of a CD player and digital music storage. Perhaps the real linchpin comes in the form of the available WiFi hotspot, a feature which I strongly believe should be a standard inclusion by all automakers by this point.

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Steering Wheel

Design

Exterior Design

Appearance is subjective. That said, the Ghibli’s success comes in it’s ability to tiptoe back-and-forth across the line between coupe and sedan styling. Still every bit a Maserati in terms of its major design notes, its melding of the two body styles creates a very unique look. It also serves to lend it an air of prowess.

Even with a 2016 facelift, the Jaguar feels tired in comparison. While it feels insulting to refer to a luxury sedan as ‘slab-like’ its only description that feels apt; and the effect is heightened on the long-wheelbase models. Far from unattractive, it just feels a little bit uninspired.

Interior Design

Once again, appearance is subjective. Then again, these two vehicles aren’t entirely ‘apples-to-apples’ in terms of interior. Whereas the Ghibli’s coupe-influences lead to more modesty in terms of rear-passenger space, the XJ is spacious enough to achieve small-limousine status. That’s important to know up-front, as it could influence your decision.

That said, both interiors are distinctive and compelling in terms of their design, and well-constructed of quality materials. The stylish Ghibli feel plush and welcoming, featuring a cool curvature of the dashboard above an oversized display. The Jaguar’ interior is equally evocative, albeit in a different manner.

We’re going to call this a tie, throw each one a point, and leave it up to you based on preference.

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Performance Icon

Performance

The (base) Maserati Ghibli is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Generating 350 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, it sprints from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed of around 165 mph. Fuel economy averages out around 21 mpg combined.

(Opt for the S or S Q4 trims, and you get a juiced up version of the same powertrain. With 410 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, it jumps from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. A third option rests in the 275 hp V6 Diesel variant).

The R-Sport runs on a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. With 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, and a more modest top speed of 121 mph, it is slightly outclassed but the Ghibli in terms of output. At 5.7 seconds, acceleration is on par with the Ghibli as is its fuel economy.

(Optional engine upgrades include a 5.0-liter V8 rated for 470 hp and 424 lb-ft. The XJR trims get the added option of a higher-output V8. Serving up a staggering 575 hp, it delivers a top speed of 186 mph and a 4.2 second sprint from 0-60 mph).

While the Jaguar offers some compelling options at higher trims, comparison of the base levels put the Ghibli at an advantage.

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