The Maserati Ghibli, the model that will become the Italian car maker's most affordable model, has been officially revealed.
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Maserati will head further into German luxury brand territory with the Ghibli that will sit below the larger Quattroporte to challenge cars such as the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The Maserati Ghibli will debut at the 2013 Shanghai motor show this April before going on sale later this year - early 2014 for Australia. Local pricing is anticipated to start at about $175,000, making it a more exclusive offering than the German models that start just below $80,000.

Ghibli will also be the first Maserati to utilise diesel power, with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel one of three engines initially available and expected to sit under the bonnet of the entry-level model.

Other engines will include a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol in two states of tune that will offer power in the vicinity of 240kW and 300kW. All will be offered in Australia.

A V8 engine is tipped to join the line-up at a later point. All engines will be mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The Maserati Ghibli is understood to be just under five metres in length and sit on a shortened version of the platform of the Quattroporte, which translates literally as ‘four door’ and is the company’s rival to the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class.

The design of the newest Maserati shares plenty in common with the Quattroporte while looking more compact in size.

The Ghibli will be offered in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, though the latter ‘Q4’ system will be available for left-hand-drive markets only.

The Maserati Ghibli is set to account for about half of the company’s planned 50,000 sales by 2015.

It will be followed in 2014 by the Levante SUV, while Maserati is also believed to be developing a new sports car to rival the Porsche 911.