Maserati_Ghibli_S_frontA major rethink by the two upmarket Italian sportscar marques has resulted in major policy changes. Changes in diametrically opposite directions.

Both companies are controlled by Fiat, hence the co-operation between them (though I suspect that ‘co-operation’ is possibly too strong a word given the competitive nature of the Italian car guys!).

Ferrari is going to reduce the number of cars it builds to make them more desirable. Maserati is moving in exactly the opposite direction, entering the relatively affordable car market with a smaller model called Ghibli that’s priced from just $138,900 plus on-road costs.

The Ghibli is a four-door sedan, though it has been penned to give it a coupe-like profile. It’s smaller and lighter than the Maserati Quattroporte with which it shares some out-of-sight components.

Maserati is promoting it as being a new model in its own right with, “a more-focused, sportier and youthful philosophy than the Quattroporte.”

Compared with the larger Quattroporte, the Ghibli is 50 kg lighter, 173 mm shorter in the wheel base and 291 mm shorter overall.

The Ghibli’s most powerful model, the $169,900 Ghibli S, has a highly tuned V6 turbo putting out 301 kW (410 bhp) of power. It can reach 100 km/h from a standing start in 5.0 seconds. The V6 petrol engine is in a lower state of tune but still has an impressive 243 kW (330 bhp) and is capable of accelerating to 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds.

New Ghibli is the first Maserati to offer diesel power, with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel delivering 202 kW of power and 600 Nm torque. It’s no slouch off the line, going from zero to 100 km/h time in 6.3 seconds. It has a measured combined fuel consumption fuel figure of 5.9 litres per 100 km.

Maserati’s Australian chief, Glen Sealey assures us that the diesel Ghibli, “will not mean the loss of the characteristic engine sound that is so much part of Maserati ownership, with the ‘Maserati Active Sound’ system endowing the diesel engine with a sound and a character that makes it a clear member of the Maserati family.” We can’t wait to try it for yourselves.

All models transmit their power though an eight-speed sports automatic transmission.

Ghibli has near perfect weight distribution and the use of double-wishbone front suspension and five-link rear suspension should make it a delight to drive.

Maserati Ghibli, can be pre-ordered at Maserati dealers now, and given the amount of attention it’s getting on the internet it might be worth moving quickly if you’re even halfway interested.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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