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Driven: Maserati Ghibli priced from $138,900

Popular pick: About 70 per cent of early Australian pre sales have been of the flagship Ghibli S, says local Maserati chief Glen Sealey.

Ghibli cuts Maserati price of entry by $100k, but all local demand for flagship S

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8 May 2014

THE price of entry into the Maserati's Australian range will fall by more than $100,000 within months, with the new Ghibli sedan poised to touch down mid-year from a starting point of $138,900 plus on-road costs.

Maserati's Turin-made rival to the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6/A7 and Jaguar XF will also be the first Trident-badged car to be offered with a turbo-diesel engine, albeit one with a 'Maserati Active Sound' actuator that supposedly pipes a more evocative exhaust note into the cabin.

Designed to slot into the local range beneath the Quattroporte with which it shares its architecture, the Ghibli will – alongside the Levante luxury SUV due next year – be instrumental in growing Maserati's Australian and New Zealand sales from 134 last year to about 1500 in 2016.

Globally, these two models, as well as the just-confirmed Alfieri coupe and convertible due in 2016, will also be charged with driving five-fold growth in Maserati sales from 15,400 last year to 75,000 by 2018.

The Ghibli will be available in Australia at three price levels with three different engines. All versions will be in relatively short supply in the early days at least, according to general manager for Australia and New Zealand Glen Sealey. Rampant overseas demand is a major factor.

Kicking off the range at $138,900 is the Ghibli diesel, powered by a 202kW/600Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine that will also see service in the Levante. Maserati claims a fuel consumption figure of 5.9 litres per 100km and a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 6.3 seconds.

This price is a significant reduction over the entry level version of its current most affordable model, the $240,000 Quattroporte S.

In terms of rivals, the 180kW/580Nm Audi A7 costs $136,750, the 230kW/630Nm BMW 535d costs $121,900 and the 202kW/600Nm Jaguar XF 3.0D S Portfolio coming in at $112,900 are the most likely.

The mid-range Ghibli, and the entry-level petrol option, costs $1090 more at $139,990, and is powered by a detuned version of the Quattroporte's 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 pumping out 243kW and 500Nm of torque, with claimed fuel consumption of 9.6L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 5.6s.

At this price and with this power output, the $145,300 220kW/440Nm A7, $116,900 225kW/400Nm 535i, $110,900 250kW/450Nm XF Portfolio and $137,700 245kW/480Nm Mercedes-Benz E400 compare closely.

Sitting at the top of the pile is the Ghibli S, which gets a more potent version of the same 3.0-litre V6, the same as that in the Quattroporte, producing 301kW/550Nm and has a claimed 0-100km/h time of 5.0 seconds.

At $169,900, the S lines up against the 309kW/550Nm Audi S7 priced from $179,900 and the 330kW/650Nm $159,900 550i, rather than the more hardcore RS7 and M5 versions.

Early Australian demand has been overwhelmingly slanted towards the range-topper, according to Mr Sealey.

“Stock is tight, though we hope this will loosen by the end of the year. Demand has been strongest on Ghibli S with pre sales on Ghibli S being more than 70 per cent of the mix,” he said.

Compared to the Quattroporte, the Ghibli is 50kg lighter, 173mm shorter in the wheelbase and 291mm shorter overall. But the chassis, crash safety cell, (double wishbone/five-link) suspension, engines and LED headlights are all shared between the pair.

All Australian versions are rear-drive and feature an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission as standard. Weight distribution is a claimed 50:50.

2014 Maserati Ghibli pricing*
Ghibli D (a)$138,900
Ghibli (a)$139,990
Ghibli S (a)$169,900
*Excludes on-road costs*

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