Way back in 1966, Maserati came to the Turin Auto Show with a new performance GT in hand. Sculpted by design legend Giorgetto Giugiaro the awkwardly named Ghibli, a long of nose GT, was one of Maserati’s great successes in the 60s. After several questionable attempts to bring the name back in various forms, Maserati is set to release a redefined Ghibli – this time in sedan form.
The new Ghibli – which is named after a hot, dust carrying North African wind – is set for an official reveal at the Shanghai Motor Show. Promoted as a downsized Quattroporte, but with a more performance oriented personality, the new sedan will come powered by a selection of two turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 engines. The more powerful of the two is expected to produce in the area of 410 hp and roughly 406 lb.ft. of torque. An 8-speed gearbox, with manual shift capabilities, will be tied to either the traditional rear wheel drive unit, or Maserati’s new Q4 all-wheel drive system. This Ghibli and its new 4x4 system, are set to go head to head with the likes of Jaguar’s XF line, Mercedes E-class and BMW’s 5-series.
New also to the car of windy desert origin will be another first for Maserati; a 3.0 liter V6 turbo-diesel powerplant. The new diesel offering will help the firm more directly compete in aggressive European markets where diesel is becoming a way of life.
Upon initial examination, the Ghibli retains little of its initial 1966 genealogy in its flanks. Gone is the long bonnet, hideaway headlights, extended overhangs and elongated, sloping cockpit. The Ghibli of old more closely resembles Maserati’s new GranTurismo, whereas the new model more closely resembles a downsized Quattroporte, which coincidentally, it shares most of its architectural and powerplant trimmings with.
New aggressively poised headlights, a tighter grille treatment, rising rear flanks, a high waistline, longer bonnet, and signature interior refinements make the Ghibli a tempting new proposition. But is it unique enough in the market, and different enough from the Quattroporte to survive? The 2014 Maserati Ghibli is set to go on sale later this year.
UPDATE (April 20, 2013): The new Ghibli has just made its debut at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show – check our gallery for the latest pics.