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2013-07-26 14:52

MANY FIRSTS FOR MASERATI: The Italian automaker will unveil its new Ghibli range at the 2013 Shanghai auto show later this year. It will include two twin-turbo V6 engines and the brand’s first diesel engine. Image: Newspress

 

Maserati’s first E-segment sedans have two twin-turbo V6 engines and the automaker’s first diesel. Good news is the cars  are coming to SA... for those who can afford them!

The range will include two twin-turbo V6 engines and the Italian automaker’s first diesel in its almost 100-year history - namely the Ghibli, Ghibli S and Ghibli Diesel.

It will have its world debut at the 2013 Shanghai auto show, soon after the new Quattroporte. The Ghibli will bring the automaker two four-door sedanss for the first time in its history.

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According to Maserati, the Ghibli is smaller, shorter, lighter, more dynamic, less expensive and more economical than the flagship Quattroporte. The automaker plans to build 50 000 a year by 2015 in the Ferrari plant in Maranello, Italy.

The Ghibli is also the first Maserati to be powered by a diesel engine, this one will house a three-litre V6 turbo-diesel unit with a claimed fuel consumption of less than six litres/100km. It will also feature stop/start technology - another first for the brand. All three models will have the same ZF AT8 - HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission.

Maserati says the Ghibli shares much of its core architecture, including its crash safety, chassis, suspension architecture, engines and LED headlight technology, with the larger Quattroporte, though it is 50kg lighter, is 173mm shorter in wheelbase and 291mm shorter overall.

SA-BOUND

Maserati SA says the Ghibli will start to arrive in South Africa in January 2014. Model choice and pricing will be announced closer to the launch date.

In terms of looks, the car’s silhouette reflects a coupe-like design reminiscent of the four-door sedan while there are elegant hints around the grille and headlights. The grille takes its inspiration from the current GranTurismo and it can draw a line back to the classic 1950s A6 GCS.

The distinctive C-pillar treatment is also carried over with the classical Saetta Maserati logo, carrying on a tradition dating back to 1963. The grille design is emphasised by the flow of the front quarter-panels, highlighting the shape of the bonnet, then runs into the headlights.

Its 50:50 weight distribution delivers traditional handling thanks to a double-wishbone front suspension and a five-link rear suspension - and all-wheel drive.

Luxury features include the Maserati Touch Control screen, reversing camera, leather interior and the 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, as well being a wi-fi hotspot.

POWER FIGURES

The Ghibli will make 243kW, the more powerful Ghibli S 301kW and reach 100km/h in five seconds. Top speed 285km/h.

The Ghibli has targeted a five-star NCAP crash protection rating and has seven air bags to complement its high-strength chassis.

The 3.0 V6 turbo diesel makes 205kW/600Nm from 2000rpm.  It goes from zero to 100 in 6.3sec and on to a top speed of 250. It emits only 158g/km of CO2 and has a claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.9 litres/100km.

Another first for the automaker is an active speed limiter function as standard equipment in all three models. This system, which works like cruise control, can be flipped on or off by a button next to the steering wheel.

TRADITIONAL ROAR

The Ghibli’s exhaust system is controlled by pneumatic valves in the pipes emerging from each bank and passes through a unique Maserati Sound Tank to keep that rich aural tradition.

In the default Normal mode, the bypass valves are closed to give a comfortable and discreet engine sound, which emerges through four sport exhaust tips. Sport mode lets the car adjust a variety of handling parameters and the exhaust valves are opened, giving the shortest possible route for the exhaust gases, giving the car its most throaty engine sound.

The Ghibli is the only car in its class to use a standard mechanical limited-slip differential on all versions to deliver the best traction in all driving situations.

The car rides on 18” standard rims but is also available with 19”-21” rims shod by Pirelli, Dunlop or Continental.

Niceties in the ‘base’ model include rear split/folding seats, large door pockets and a six-way electronic driver's seat, while Maserati also has two higher levels of leather trim as options.

The Ghibli S standard equipment includes leather seats, timber trim, eight-way electrically adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate controlled air conditioning and active cruise control, with bi-xenon adaptive front headlights system and fixed braking callipers.

A Bowers & Wilkins premium surround sound system with 15 speakers and a 1280W amplifier is optional.


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