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Shanghai show: Maserati Ghibli sedan set free

Changes: The Ghibli will become not only the cheapest Maserati available in Australia, but also the first diesel.

Honey, we shrunk the Quattroporte: Maserati reveals the Ghibli sedan


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10 Apr 2013

THE long-awaited Maserati Ghibli sedan has broken cover ahead of its global premiere in Shanghai later this month.

Smaller than its Quattroporte sibling, the Ghibli will inject some Italian zest into a German-dominated segment, with key rivals to include the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Styling is reminiscent of its big brother Quattroporte, albeit with more dynamic body creases running across the doors, and an aggressive nose treatment closer to the Gran Turismo coupe.

The company clearly sees outsider charm as a key to muscling in on the premium executive segment. In a statement, it said it would target the “growing number of premium executive car buyers looking to make an individual statement through a car that is distinctive”.

The decision to use China to debut a new model is a sign of Maserati’s increasing outward focus beyond economically ravaged Europe.

As reported, Maserati hopes to increase its global sales from the tick over 6000 units last year to 50,000 by 2015, with the bulk of this growth to come from the car you see here, as well as the forthcoming Levante SUV.

Australia – a heavy hitter as Maserati’s seventh-largest global market – has a significant role to play in this ambitious plan, with ten-fold growth planned over the next four years.

The Ghibli will hit local showrooms around February next year, and while high-end versions will tackle the likes of the Mercedes E500 and BMW 550i (both circa-$180k), entry versions are almost certain to lob well beneath $150k – a new low for the company Down Under.

Maserati’s Australian importer, European Automotive Imports, has already told us it has mid-range rivals such as the Benz E350, BMW 535i and even the Jaguar XF 3.0 firmly in its sights.

Full mechanical details are being held back until the reveal at the Shanghai motor show on April 21, but Maserati has confirmed a pair of force-fed 3.0-litre V6 engines will be offered, paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

One of these engines will be a version of the Quattroporte’s direct-injected six-pot. In that car, it produces 301kW of power at 5500rpm and 550Nm of torque between 1500 and 5000rpm.

But arguably the bigger news is confirmation that the Ghibli will be the first Maserati fitted with a diesel engine. The new V6 oil-burner will eventually roll-out into models including the Levante from 2014, and almost certainly the Quattroporte.

Both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations will be offered, but we expect only the former to be available in Australia.

As reported the Ghibli will be built in the former Bertone factory in Turin – recently the recipient of a $A647 million upgrade courtesy of parent company Fiat Chrysler.

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