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New Maserati Ghibli revealed

New Maserati Ghibli revealed

First official pictures and details of Maserati’s Shanghai motor show star, a rival to the BMW 5-series

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 nameplate last used by Maserati in 1997, is breaking new ground because it marks the first time the Modena-based brand has built a car for the E-segment, where the new four-door executive saloon will rival cars such as the BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-class.

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 its 5-series rival.

No performance figures are available because homologation of the final iteration of the car has not yet been completed, but 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 variants will be available in the UK. 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. This engine will give the company a rival to high-performance diesel versions of the 5-series and Audi A6 and the car is expected to cost below £50k.

Maserati’s petrol turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine will be offered in two states of tune. The range-topping car will boast about 410bhp and the price is expected to be in the low-£60k region. 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 Paolo Martinelli, who was formerly powertrain guru for the Ferrari F1 team during the Michael Schumacher era.

Each 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, the UK 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 their 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. In the UK, about 1000 sales per year are anticipated for 2014, the first full calendar year that the car will be on sale.

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.