Maserati unveils BMW 5-series rivalling Ghibli
The Ghibli – named after the company's popular Gran Turismo car of the early 1970s - will be powered by a 3-litre V6 diesel engine for the first time in the Italian company's history.
Full details surrounding performance figures and economy are yet to be revealed, presumably because Maserati is saving those for the official unveiling at the Shanghai motor show on April 20.
We do know customers will be offered a choice of two turbocharged 3-litre V6 petrol engines (offered in around 410bhp and 330bhp, respectively) and the aforementioned diesel – with both likely to be mated to the new eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox that can be found in the latest Quattroporte.
The Ghibli runs a rear-wheel drive configuration, with Maserati's "Q4" four-wheel drive system offered in selected markets.
Maserati says: "It is our first saloon in this segment and reflects the company's belief that a growing number of premium executive car buyers are looking to make an individual statement through a car that is distinctive, elegant and luxurious."
The Ghibli is said to have a "sportier character" compared to the larger Quattroporte that it shares many of its basic underpinnings with - mainly thanks to a shortening of the chassis and an overall weight reduction – but it is also rumoured to cost around £50,000... by far the cheapest Maserati in the current line-up.
Above all else, its success will play an essential role in Maserati's ambitious growth plan to sell 50,000 cars per year by 2015.