The new Maserati Ghibli has been sprung online ahead of a planned Shanghai show unveiling and suddenly makes those granny pants German saloons look worryingly generic and unsexy. Because, let’s face it, who wants a 5 Series, an A6 or an E-Class when you could have one of these instead? As our earlier spy photos from last year showed (“Take a sneak Peak at the Maserati Ghibli“), the Maserati Ghibli looks like a scaled-down version of the new Quattroporte. A wide grille with vertical slats dominates the car’s nose, the slopes down dramatically into squinty headlights, and the fenders rise dramatically over the front wheels.
“The all-new Ghibli is set to break new ground for Maserati,” the company said in a statement. “The Ghibli will also become the first Maserati production car in history to be powered by a diesel engine.” A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, derived from Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6 family and shared with the Quattroporte, is available in two different output levels (similar to the new F-type Jaguar) offering 330hp or 410 hp. Buyers seeking a little extra fuel economy can also opt for Maserati’s first diesel engine, a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 that isn’t likely to come to North America and will also be an option on future Chrysler products. It also is expected that the Quattroporte’s 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 also migrates to the Ghibli line at a later date as the top level performance engine of choice. No matter which engine the car is equipped with power will flow through a ZF eight speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels with an all-wheel drive option being available shortly after the cars initial launch.
Although our first look at Maseati’s newest sedan is limited to just three images, we can see that the car will have a sportier exterior design than its bigger brother, the Quattroporte, to go with an equally luxurious interior. Highlighted by a large touchscreen on the center stack, topped by an analog clock, as well as red leather dashboard accents, a chunky shifter for the automatic transmission, a three-spoke steering wheel, and a simple two-binnacle instrument cluster with a central LCD display.
As has already been widely reported, Maserati has confirmed ambitious targets of selling over 50,000 cars a year by 2015. Unveiling the car in China reveals where it expects the bulk of that extra volume to come from, the launch earlier in the year of the new Quattroporte on which the Ghibli will be based setting “the high-technology tone for Maserati’s upcoming range of new-models” according to Maserati. The company claims the Ghibli will attract, “premium executive car buyers who are looking to make an individual statement through a car that is distinctive, elegant and luxurious.” More seriously, the car is intended to steal sales from the German luxury brands, which we think it just might if it drives as good as it looks.