As we continue in our ‘Head to Head’ series, we next turn our attention to the other Autobahn King – BMW. In many ways this will be a similar matchup between Maserati and Mercedes-Benz. Maserati vs BMW is not a fair fight as one bespoke factory is going up against this other Teutonic Automotive giant.
Taking a look at production output and the gulf between them is crystal clear. What the Maserati factory, in Modena, produces in a year (75,000 units) is run off BMW production lines in just ten days!! Bear in mind that the 2 million plus models they annually produce does not even include their other brands of Mini, Rolls Royce and BMW motorbikes.
Look down any street from USA to Australia and the countries in between, and you will see plenty of vehicles bearing the famous blue and white badge. While, at the same time, you just might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Trident or, more likely, hear its angry snarl of its Ferrari engine.
While both automobile brands can be considered high on quality and luxury, BMW’s growth and success has allowed its “specialness” to become dulled. It has now become so commonplace that some of its luster has been lost. Heinz is best known for its 57 varieties but BMW is not far off that with their 53 varieties on offer. This cannot be said of Maserati as the exclusive nature of its availability, coupled with its limited iterations, ensure the brand maintains an air of panache and “millionaire playboy” cachet.
So, let’s dig a little deeper into the details and strike up some head to head comparisons between these two rivals.
Maserati Ghibli Vs BMW 3 Series
Beginning with Maserati’s “smallest” car, the Ghibli, we pitch it against one of the more popular series that BMW produces, the 3 Series. While Maserati provides five versions of the Ghibli (not including the diesel), after the recent introduction of the new hybrid, BMW have ten options for the 3 Series.
This line of BMWs run mostly with a 2.0 liter turbo engine which create varying degrees of horsepower from 154 up to 255 bhp and levels of torque from 184 to 310 lb – ft. Putting this into comparison, the “base” model of the Ghibli has considerably more power from its 3.0 liter twin turbo V6 with 345 bhp and 369 il – ft of torque. If you include the S Q4 then these numbers climb immeasurably. The all-wheel drive rendition produces 424 bhp and 428 lb – ft.
As you can imagine, their acceleration reflect this mismatch. The BMWs range from a measly 8.3 seconds to 5.5 seconds to hit the accelerating yardstick. But the Maserati Ghibli makes this in only 5.7 seconds to 4.7 seconds.
When we take a look at the high end of both of these models – M3 & Alpina D3S and the Trofeo – the numbers stretch even further. While the “Beemers” still use the 3.0 liter engine, but increase the turbo by two cylinders, the Trofeo runs with a 3.8 liter twin turbocharged V8 engine. This increases the German cars to 382 – 456 bhp and 369 – 516 lb – ft of torque while the Ghibli Trofeo produces 572 bhp and 538 lb – ft of torque.
Acceleration between them is narrower with the BMWs hitting 4.4 seconds and 3.8 respectively while the Trofeo hits the mark in 4.3 seconds. But the gap in top speed is telling with the German cars making 180 mph and 170 mph while the Maserati hits a staggering 203 mph.
All vehicles provide great handling on the road with precise steering but, with that gulf in power, this match up goes to the Maserati.
Maserati Ghibli Vs BMW 5 Series
When we take this Head to Head up a notch, we still see similar numbers though the M model and Alpina are very impressive by comparison. Most production models of the 5 Series run with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder turbo though a couple are fitted with a 3.0 liter 6 cylinder turbo.
These produce horsepower from 168 bhp to 389 bhp and torque from 184 to 443 lb – ft which means only the very best of the 5 Series production gets anywhere nearer to the Ghibli.
BMW acceleration and speed range from 8.7 seconds and 139 mph up to 4.6 seconds and 160 mph. These numbers are still lower than the “base” Ghibli and not in the same league as the S Q4. So far, our Maserati vs BMW comparison is pretty one sided.
Introducing the M5 and Alpina B5 into the debate and we see mixed results. Both cars use a 4.4 liter V8 twin turbo engine and the performance reflects this. Brake horsepower climbs to 456 up to an impressive 599 bhp while the torque produces 479 – 590 lb-ft. This in turn increases acceleration between 3.8 seconds and 3.1 seconds however top speeds are somewhat disappointing. The powerful Alpina does hit 210 mph though the road production M5 can only reach 155-160 mph.
All great handling again but, taken as a whole, this has to be another Ghibli win in the Maserati vs BMW showdown.
Maserati Ghibli Vs BMW 7 Series
As we continue the winning streak for Maserati Ghibli vs BMW, we take it a stage further and look at BMW’s largest sedan. The 7 Series offers seven different iterations (not including diesel) with engine sizes ranging from a tiny 2.0 liter turbo and increase up to 3.0 liter turbo, 4.4 liter V8 twin turbo and a massive 6.6 liter V12 twin turbo.
Again, most performance numbers aren’t anything to shout about. Only when you focus on the two larger engine iterations of the M7 and Alpina B7 do the numbers become equal or surplus the “little” Ghibli. The V8 produces horsepower from 523 bhp to 599 bhp with 553 to 590 lb-ft of torque.
The V8 Alpina makes 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and hits a top speed of 205 mph while the larger 6.6 liter V12 normally manages just 155 mph though hitting 190 mph if fitted out as a M7.
The 7 Series is a much larger luxury sedan than the Ghibli and will provide a smoother ride in comfort. But being smaller, the Maserati will be more responsive in its handling. The M7 and Alpina are almost twice the price of the US$78,000 Maserati Ghibli with the M& costing over 158K and the Alpina at 143K. So, is this another win for the Ghibli?
Maserati Quattroporte vs BMW 7 Series
So as the Ghibli retires undefeated in this matchup, let’s see how its bigger brother does against the big BMW sedan. The Maserati QP comes in five renditions (not including the diesels) with turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 or 3.8 liter V8 engine. This gives the Quattroporte horsepower from 345 bhp to 572 bhp and 369 to 568 lb-ft of torque.
Acceleration climbs from 5.5 seconds in the ‘Base’ up to 4.5 seconds in the Trofeo and top speeds of 168 mph and 203 mph to match. All are large sedans with impeccable handling and both provide a smooth and comfortable ride. But pricing overall for the BMW is more expensive than the QP. Even the Trofeo is a shade less than the Alpina and 16K cheaper than the M7.
This might come down to personal preference but it does seem that this is another Italian victory here.
Maserati Levante Vs BMW X6
Now we turn our attention to the ‘Clash of the SUVs’. The Maserati Levante and BMW X6 are two of the most exciting SUVs on the market right now and both make impressive reading in their power and performance.
The X6 is powered by either a 3.0 liter straight six turbo or a 4.4 liter V8 twin turbo which provides 335 bhp and 332 lb-ft of torque for the 3.0 liter and 523 – 591 bhp & 553 lb-ft of torque for the 4.4 liter engine. Excellent acceleration as the “base’ model makes 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds while the X6 M shaves that down to 3.8 seconds. Top speeds round off at 177 mph. Impressive handling though the M model was found to be a little stiff and unyielding at times. As a positive, the interior features were plentiful while the exterior body shape is one of the more aggressive looking SUVs out there.
Despite the SUV bulk, the Maserati Levante still manages rounded curves and grace not seen in other vehicles in its class. Twin turbo engines come in two formats – 3.0 liter V6 or 3.8 liter V8 – which pump out 345 bhp to 590 bhp and 369 to 568 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration begins at 6.0 seconds and whittles down to just 3.9 seconds for the 0-60 mph dash. Top speeds begin at 156 mph and climb to 189 mph for the Trofeo which is the fastest road production SUV on the market.
Bar the, markedly, faster Maserati, both SUVs are quite similar though the X6 M is around 40K cheaper than the Trofeo. This battle might come down to personal taste so honors are even here.
Maserati Levante Vs BMW X5
Let’s take a quick look at the Maserati SUV vs BMW X5 matchup. The engine specifications are the same as the X6 though the size and design are different. Still a matter of personal choice however, I think, this goes to the Levante.
Maserati Granturismo Vs BMW M4
Time for a grand tourer Head to Head as we take these two high performance roadsters for comparison. The lighter weight of the BMW gives it a great advantage over the GT. With almost 500 lbs. less, it manages to achieve stronger performance numbers than the GranTurismo though overall speed is down.
The M4 has a 3.0 liter straight six twin turbo and produces 473 bhp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration reaches 3.7 seconds over the 0-60 mph dash while hitting a top speed of 180 mph.
The Maserati GranTurismo, with several iterations, uses either a 4.2 liter or 4.7 liter V8 Ferrari engine and generates up to 343 bhp and 384 lb-ft of torque. Accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 188 mph.
With the sensual bodylines flowing from front to back and a naturally aspirated V8 erupting from the rear of the car, there can really be only one winner here….and it is not German.
Maserati Vs BMW i8
Though Maserati have recently added hybrid renditions to the Ghibli and Levante roster, they have only limited performance numbers. While the Modena factory has just come into this market, BMW have made this their benchmark.
They brought out their i8 back in 2014 and it continued to be sold for the following six years. Widely regarded as the best hybrid sports car and this being reflected in its dominance in the market with over 20,000 units sold.
Using only a 1.5 liter straight three turbocharged engine, it can create up to 357 bhp and 420 lb-ft of torque. With fast acceleration it has a controlled top speed of 155 mph while having a fuel economy of 134 mpg.
Its eye catching looks outside and in make this an easy winner.
Maserati vs BMW Reliability
Similar to the issues faced against Mercedes, Maserati are unable to compete against the overwhelming dominance and strength of the BMW brand. With production in the millions every year and spare parts aplenty available in dealerships spread the length and breadth of the planet, Maserati’s bespoke take on their business model leaves them wanting.
Maserati vs BMW Maintenance is also a clear winner for the Germans as the cost for BMW is undercut by the ease of its availability and usage. When trying to locate rare parts from somewhere in Italy, this can become costly in time and money.
Overall, the retail cost of buying new models is stacked heavily in favor of BMW however their overall performance matches their lower value.
In conclusion, this comes down to a matter of taste. Whether you prefer the discreet refinement of BMW (one way to describe their dull interiors and their homogenized body styling) or you long for some panache and excitement that only an Italian brand can provide. I know what I prefer.