Auto blogTue, 16 Jul 2013 11:31:00 EST
Maserati's newest car, Ghibli, is a stunningly well-proportioned luxury sedan mixing the styling of the larger Quattroporte sedan and the GranTurismo coupe. We found it plenty good to in our First Drive review, and now we know how much it will cost (in the UK, at least).
Ghibli pricing announced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is for customers in the UK, but based on current exchange rates and prices of other Maseratis sold here in the US, we can estimate its MSRP for our market. The base Ghibli, with a twin-turbocharged V6 making 325 horsepower, will cost 52,275 pounds for the Bits, making $75,000 a good guess for American buyers. If that number holds true, however, the Ghibli would be in a price category above its main competition from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Take a step up to the Ghibli S, sporting a naturally aspirated V8 producing 404 hp, and you'll have to fork out 63,415 pounds or an estimated $91,000 here.
Just for kicks, the Europe-only Ghibli Diesel, which makes 270 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque with its diesel V6, is the least-expensive Maserati 48,830 pounds. Running an estimated $70k for us, we'd really like to have that one, too. After all, the sparkplug-less engine is the same one found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was unsurprisingly frank when asked by reporters about potential investments in Italian manufacturing for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, giving the Italian government the ultimatum, "Italy should decide if they want [Alfa Romeo's relaunch] to happen here or not as Fiat and Chrysler have several alternatives." Them's fightin' words.
Fiat's issue with the government stems directly from its courtroom clashes with the Fiom labor union. The two are currently embroiled in proceedings over longer shifts and shorter breaks, as Fiom has so far refused to sign a new contract citing revised labor laws that it says are anti-union.
According to Bloomberg, Fiat will be spending over $2.5 billion on development of eight new Alfas and six new Maseratis, in a bid to wrest some of the luxury pie away from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. But that's only going to happen if the government is willing to play ball and make life easier on Fiat.
Italy Passionately Returns To The Sport Sedan Game
In its 99-year history, Maserati has arguably never made a vehicle as important as this all-new Ghibli.
Of course, there have been countless styling breakthroughs, mechanical advances and technical innovations, but no single passenger car has been required to bear the weight of the Italian company like its brand-new sport sedan. If the Ghibli succeeds, Maserati will welcome tens of thousands of new customers and, most importantly, celebrate a rekindled relationship with demanding North American buyers. If the Ghibli fails - well, the truth is, nobody has written an option for failure.
Despite the fact that Maserati has yet to officially mention the next generation of its grand touring lineup, it seems like we know plenty of details about the upcoming range of Maserati coupes and convertibles. First we heard that the GranTurismo line would be growing to include three models, then we heard that new, smaller two-seater (possibly named Gran Sport) could be here by 2016 and, most recently, reports indicated that the GranTurismo's successor will feature more compact dimensions to better take on the Porsche 911.
Now Edmunds is reporting that the 2015 GranTurismo will mark a major evolution in the design language for the Italian automaker, while the Levante SUV will get the current styling cues found on the 2014 Quattroporte and 2014 Ghibli. The article also says that Maserati is planning to offer its models with a wider range of available colors and that it will introduce new limited-edition models as well all in hopes of selling 50,000 units globally by 2015.
The Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type and Porsche 911 all belong to a club that shuns the Maserati GranTurismo as an outsider. You see, those three key sports cars all measure within an inch of one another in length - 176 to 177 inches and change - while the Maserati comes in at over 192 inches. Naturally, there's extra length between its wheels, as well.
While those extra inches would seemingly pay dividends in interior roominess and storage space, those are not exactly the most important attributes in the segment, which values proper proportions and proper driving feel over all else. All of this is why it comes as little surprise that Maserati is working on a smaller version of its two-door sports car platform when the next generation is ready in roughly three years.
According to Motor Trend and echoing rumors we've heard in the past, the smaller model will be known as the Gran Sport while a larger model will still be called GranTurismo in coupe form and GranCabrio in convertible guise. We're told, again, to expect Maserati's new 404-horsepower supercharged V6 engine as standard, while the V8 would still be a possible option.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced Maserati and Alfa Romeo are recalling certain Quattroporte, Granturismo and 8C models over potentially faulty tie rod ends. According to NHTSA, 2005-2008 Quattroporte, 2008 Granturismo and 2008 8C units may have been assembled with tie rod ends that have insufficient corrosion protection. As such, the components may rust, weaken and potentially fail. If that happens, the driver could lose control of the vehicle and cause an accident.
Maserati and Alfa Romeo will contact owners and replace the tie rod end assemblies once the recall gets underway in June. All told, 7,438 vehicles are impacted by the recall. You can read the full NHTSA notice below for more information.
As a following act to the redesigned Quattroporte and the recently unveiled 2014 Maserati Ghibli, Maserati will be releasing a slew of new products in the coming years, including the next-generation GranTurismo, the all-new Levante SUV and a new 911-fighting coupe - possibly called Gran Sport. While all of this information was detailed last year in a leaked product plan document, there were no dates associated with any of the new products. Auto Express is now reporting that the new GranTurismo will be out in 2015 and the new smaller coupe is expected out in 2016.
According to the report, the new coupe will be smaller and sportier than the GranTurismo, and it will feature a mid-engine layout with a platform that isn't shared with the Alfa Romeo 4C. This product onslaught is a part of Maserati's plan to increase sales to 50,000 units globally by 2015.
Italy is the wound that continues to drain blood from the body financial of Italian supercar and sports car makers. The wound was opened by the country's various financial police who decided to get serious about superyacht-owning and supercar-driving tax cheats a few years ago, by noting their registrations and checking their incomes. When it was found that a rather high percentage of exotic toy owners had claimed a rather low annual income - certain business owners were found to be declaring less income than their employees - the owners began dumping their cars and prospective buyers declined to buy.
Car and Driver has a piece on how the initiative is hitting the home market the hardest. Lamborghini sold 1,302 cars worldwide in 2010, 1,602 cars in 2011 and 2,083 cars in 2012 - an excellent surge in just two years. In Italy, however, it's all about the ebb: in 2010, the year that Italian police began scouring harbors, Lamborghini sold 96 cars in Italy, the next year it sold 72, last year it sold just 60. The declines for Maserati and Ferrari are even more pronounced.
Head over to CD for the full story and the numbers. What might be most incredible isn't the cause and effect, but where the blame is being placed. A year ago the chairman of Italy's Federauto accused the government of "terrorizing potential clients," this year Luca di Montezemolo says what's happening has created "a hostile environment for luxury goods." Life at the top, it ain't easy.
High-zoot supercar tour organizer Gran Turismo Events held its annual Nürburgring track day last month, and in addition to the amateur punters the gates were opened to two tuned supercars from Edo Competition: A Maserati MC12 Corsa and a Ferrari Enzo ZXX. The ZXX, in case you've forgotten, is the same love child of Edo Competition and Zahir Rana's ZR Exotics that belly flopped into the Atlantic during the 2011 Targa Newfoundland.
We get a trip around the Nordschleife with both cars during a no-doubt quick but not insane lap, on board with driver Patrick Simon in the 755-horsepower MC12 and 'Ring queen Sabine Schmitz following in the 840-hp ZXX.
That should be all the build-up you need when the action's in the video below.
Big things are happening at Maserati, where the automaker is looking to increase its sales to 50,000 units annually. In addition to the revised Quattroporte that we saw at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, Maserati has launched the all-new Ghibli here in Shanghai - a smaller, more driver-focused model that will take on the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
At launch, the Ghibli will be offered with three six-cylinder engines, two gas and one diesel. The base engine is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 330 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque, good for a 0-62 time of 5.6 seconds. The more powerful Ghibli S, however, comes with a twin-turbocharged version of this engine, good for 410 hp and 406 lb-ft, reducing that 0-62 time to just five seconds flat. On the diesel end, the Ghibli will offer a 3.0-liter diesel V6 with 275 hp and 443 lb-ft of twist, able to do that same 62-mile-per-hour run in a still impressive 6.3 seconds. The more powerful Ghibli S will also be available with Maserati's new Q4 all-wheel-drive system, though we're told that this feature cannot be had on right-hand-drive versions.
As for what we can see here in Shanghai, the Ghibli looks pretty darn good, though that front fascia reminds us an awful lot of the BMW 3 Series. (Seriously, just picture the Bimmer with a more gaping grille opening.) Maserati will offer the Ghibli with standard 18-inch wheels, though 19s, 20s, and even 21s will be available as optional extras.