For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Maserati Ghibli are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW M3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Ghibli S offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The M3 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
To help make backing safer, the Ghibli’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The M3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the Ghibli and the M3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
The Ghibli has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the M3 (21.1 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Ghibli has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The M3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Ghibli has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the M3. The Ghibli’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the M3 Competition Package.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Ghibli’s wheelbase is 7.3 inches longer than on the M3 (118 inches vs. 110.7 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Ghibli is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the M3.
For better maneuverability, the Ghibli’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the M3’s (38.4 feet vs. 40 feet).
The design of the Maserati Ghibli amounts to more than styling. The Ghibli has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .31 Cd. That is lower than the M3 (.34) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Ghibli get better fuel mileage.
As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Ghibli S Q4 is quieter than the M3 (78 vs. 89 dB).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Ghibli is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the M3 is rated a Compact.
The Ghibli has 11.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the M3 (108 vs. 96.2).
The Ghibli has 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the M3.
The Ghibli has a much larger trunk than the M3 (17.6 vs. 13 cubic feet).
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the Ghibli offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The M3 doesn’t offer a power trunk.
The Ghibli offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The M3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The Ghibli’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The M3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Ghibli’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The M3 does not have an oil pressure gauge.
The Ghibli’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The M3’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
Optional air conditioned seats in the Ghibli keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The M3 doesn’t offer air conditioned seats.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Ghibli offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The M3 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.