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by Jez Spinks

The Maserati Ghibli has been caught winter testing by CarAdvice’s spies.

Italy’s new answer to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class is being prepped for its expected mid 2013 launch.

Maserati confirmed the Ghibli name for its new, smaller sedan at the 2012 Paris motor show, which will mark the third iteration of the ‘Ghibli’ nameplate.

The original Maserati Ghibli debuted at the 1966 Turin Motor Show and proved to be the most popular GT of its day, outselling two of its biggest rivals, the Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini Miura.

Maserati resurrected the Ghibli name in 1992 with the launch of the Ghibli II with updated Biturbo V6 engines, but the name was buried again with the final year of production in 1997. The quickest Ghibli ever built was the 1970 SS version (coupe and spider) with a 4.9-litre V8 good enough for a top speed of 282km/h.

The company’s engineers have tried to make the latest Ghibli mule look like a prototype of the bigger Quattroporte – which has already been revealed ahead of its 2013 Detroit motor show debut. However, our spy photographer’s comparison of prototypes (bottom) shows how much shorter the rear doors are on the Ghibli.

The Maserati Ghibli is believed to sit on a shortened version of the Quattroporte’s platform.

It is part of Maserati’s plan to boost annual sales to 50,000. After the sedan duo releases in 2013 of the next-generation Quattroporte and all-new Ghibli, an SUV to be called the Levante is due in late 2014 or 2015.

  • The Real Wile E

    The hatchback hindquarters puts me off.
    Is it trying to emulate the Interceptor?

  • 451

    ghibli??? lol

    • The Real Wile E

      Maserati sure has a “wind” fetish with this and the Mistral.

      At least Mistral sounds exotic but this sounds like chook guts.

      • Hank

        Mistral makes me think of kitchen appliances.

  • nugsdad

    Pricing here will be the interesting part, really a Maserati at 5 series / E class pricing ?

    • Mike

      I’m guessing more A7/CLS/6 series Gran Coupé.

    • Mask

      Agreed, I definitely always thought of Maserati as being on a higher (even if only slightly) tier than BMW or Mercedes.

      • Farrt_face

        Maserati always seemed promising but ultimately fail to deliver.
        Poor build quality, temperamental & unreliable.
        They try to ride on the back of the Italian exotic thing created by Ferrari & Lambo.

        • Johnno

          Farrt_face – I have been lucky enough to know a dozen or so maserati owners through the maserati club. Whilst it is a small cohort, its a reasonable way to assess their reliability. I think you would be surprised by what they would say to you. They are no longer unreliable, indeed some are used as daily drivers. The build quality is a vast improvement from the pre 1980’s era. The technology deployed is also first rate. With $1.2 billion allready spent upgrading the maserati factory, I think you will find the new maseratis will be a tour de force. They are a serious brand now……..

  • Zuk

    Hardly a rival, they’ll be so happy if they sell 50 per year.

  • Jacques

    Looks a little like an armadillo with all that camo’ on.

  • B.Mused

    They intend to sell a lot in the US … there’s 15-20 million people there of Italian descent, that’s where the 50,000 are mostly expected to come from. Also the Ferrari-engined petrol engine will be good there …. the big question for them isn’t styling – it will be stunning, it won’t be the Ferrari- built petrol engines (who wouldn’t want that … have you heard a Maserati Granturismo V8 drive past? …. drool) … it won’t be reliability that’s not hard to fix …. the big challenge will be the diesel engine version for EU …. (they won’t be able to use the “engine built by Ferrari line …) they are going to find that really tough against the Germans … just ask the French they’ve been making diesels for decades and they get smashed in EU. Hope they do well good luck to them …

  • Michael 1963

    FROM PORDENONE; ITALY                                                                                                 .
    Certamente la Maserati GHIBLI sarà una valida alternativa nell’ambito del segmento E alle solite tedesche con l’aggiunta della Jaguar XF e Volvo S80! Anzi, per certi versi è ancora più esclusiva!  Andrò a vederla e se possibile provarla, quando la presenteranno alle concessionarie. Acquistarla? Attualmente guido una vettura di questo segmento, ma con la crisi attuale, con Monti e il redditometro, credo che non avrà vita facile in Italia!