The entry price to a trident-badged car will be lowered by more than $100,000 mid this year when a trio of Maserati Ghibli models arrive locally priced from $138,900.
That price is for a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 variant of the full-size luxury sedan range, which delivers 202kW of power and 600Nm of torque to claim a 6.3-second 0-100km/h acceleration time and 5.9L/100km combined cycle economy.
For just $1000 more, at $139,990, the Maserati Ghibli comes with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine producing 243kW and 500Nm to claim a 5.6-second 0-100km/h and 9.6L/100km economy.
A higher-tune version of that V6, borrowed from the Quattroporte S limo, is found in the flagship Ghibli S that costs $169,900. Here the engine develops 301kW and 550Nm, helping reduce the 0-100km/h sprint to 5.0 seconds flat, with official consumption yet to be detailed.
The pricing is a bit lower than expected and primes the Maserati Ghibli to do battle with cars from brands typically seen as less premium than Maserati, namely the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
A BMW 535d costs $121,900 – or $17K less than the Ghibli Diesel – and also gets a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel six-cylinder with 230kW and 620Nm. The equivalent BMW 535i petrol costs $116,900, even less but with only 225kW and 400Nm. Choose the $159,900 BMW 550i, which narrows the gap to the Ghibli S, and its 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 petrol engine makes 330kW and 650Nm, or 29kW and 100Nm more.
“Given that the new Ghibli maintains all the style, performance and luxury, albeit with a new, more aggressive approach, the clearest indication [is] that the Ghibli takes Maserati into an entirely new area of the market is the pricing,” said Glen Sealey, general manager of Maserati Australia and New Zealand.
Any questions that the Ghibli might step on the toes of the 50kg-heavier, 291mm-longer Quattroporte are put to rest by Sealey, who said “...there is no overlap in pricing between Ghibli and Quattroporte”.
Maserati also claims the Ghibli is built from a “more focused, sportier and more youthful philosophy than the Quattroporte", with which it shares its platform in addition to its engine.
While Maserati sales in 2013 totalled 13,000, more than double the 6200 shifted the year prior, the more staggering figure is the Italian brand taking 3500 orders per month so far in 2014 – which if sustained results in 42,000 units this year, close to a target of 50,000 units in 2015.
Maserati announced overnight it is targeting 75,000 units for 2018 while also confirming production of the Alfieri sports car concept shown at March's 2014 Geneva motor show.
In Australia this year, Maserati sales are up 57 per cent to March, predominently on the back of the new Quattroporte, and importer Ateco Automotive expects the mid-year arrival of the Ghibli “will further intensify the sales increase”.
Maserati Australia and New Zealand hasn’t yet announced standard equipment, though it says luxury features like Maserati Touch control, leather interior, 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio and WLAN-based Wi-Fi will be available on the Ghibli. The Maserati Ghibli is available to order now, with deliveries expected mid-year.