The new Maserati Ghibli, pictured here for the first time ahead of its official unveiling at the Shanghai motor show, is set to be one of the cornerstones of the Italian manufacturer’s target of selling 50,000 cars per year by 2015. It has been revealed in full following a leak online earlier today.
The Ghibli, which revives a name last used by Maserati in 1997. Based on a shortened version of the platform that underpins the new Quattroporte, the Ghibli will be built alongside its sister model in the ex-Bertone plant in Grugliasco, near Turin. The two cars were designed alongside each other under the watch of Lorenzo Ramaciotti, the former head of design at Pininfarina who now has the same role within the Fiat Group, and Maserati’s own design chief, Marco Tencone.
The Ghibli is expected to measure just under five-metres in length, slightly longer than the 5-series.
Although no performance figures are available yet because homologation of the final iteration of the car has not been completed, Maserati says the new car will have a sportier and more aggressive character compared to the larger Quattroporte. The Ghibli will also be offered at a lower price point than any other Maserati on the market.
Three engine options will be available. The entry-level model will be the first Maserati production car in history to be powered by a diesel engine, with a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel.
The petrol turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine will be offered in two states of tune. The range-topping car will boast about 410bhp. The lower-powered petrol car will have about 330bhp and sit halfway between the others in terms of pricing. A V8 petrol is expected to follow at a later date.
The engines were designed and developed by head of powertrain division Paolo Martinelli, who was the powertrain guru for the Ferrari F1 team during the Michael Schumacher era.
The powerplants will be mated to a ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. Although rear- and all-wheel-drive variants will be built for left-hand-drive markets, right-hand drive markets will only receive rear-drive cars due to the constraints of re-engineering the ‘Q4’ all-wheel drive system for right-hand drive, a similar situation as exists with the Quattroporte. The all-wheel-drive versions will be paired only with the more powerful petrol engine option.
Inside the Ghibli, leather will be standard across the range and will be supplied by Italian specialist Poltrona Frau, and a Bowers & Wilkins sound system will be offered as an option.
Deliveries of left-hand-drive cars will start in the summer, with right-hand-drive versions scheduled to reach owners in October. After the Shanghai reveal, the Ghibli will go on a ‘world tour’, initially as a static exhibit. An appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed has also been mooted.
It is estimated that the Ghibli could eventually account for almost half of Maserati’s 50,000 sales target.
After the launch of the Ghibli, Maserati will turn its attentions to its next new model, the Levante SUV, which is due in the manufacturer’s centenary year, 2015.