If you find the new Quattroporte too big, too Grande, and too expensive, but still want to drive something with the Trident logo, which for many buyers, has a higher cache than Germany's BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi brands, then Maserati is preparing just what the doctor ordered.
It's name is Ghibli, and unlike other pompous plans from the Fiat Group (see Alfa Romeo), this one is for real and it will make its world premiere either at the Geneva Motor Show in March or at the Shanghai auto show in April.
A heavily dressed prototype of the Ghibli sports sedan was nabbed undergoing winter testing in Europe. The camouflage hides the design details of the car, but it is clear that the Ghibli will be more compact than the 5,263mm (207.2 inches) long Quattroporte featuring shorter front and rear overhangs and wheelbase.
Despite the difference in size, with the Ghibli measuring just under 5 meters (~196 inches) in length, it will ride on a modified version of the Quattroprote's platform, which itself, is loosely based on the Chrysler 300 chassis having received a number of updates.
The same is expected to apply under the hood with the Ghibli to borrow the Quattroporte's 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine rated for 404hp (410PS) and a peak torque of 550Nm (406 lb-ft).
We still don't know if Maserati will also offer the new 523hp (530PS) a bi-turbocharged V8, but Autonews recently reported that a high-performance version of VM Motori’s 3.0-liter V6 diesel is on the cards for the Ghibli, which makes sense if Maserati wants to compete in Europe.
With the Ghibli, the Fiat Group plans to target a variety of executive and sports sedans from Germany, including the BMW 5-Series and 6-Series Gran Coupe in both regular and M guises, the Audi A6 and A7 in standard and S trims, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and CLS, again in normal and AMG forms.
As such, the Ghibli, together with the upcoming Levante SUV, are the most important new models for Maserati and will account for the bulk of the brand's sales in the coming years. The Italian group's CEO Sergio Marchionne has forecasted that the Modena-based luxury carmaker will sell around 50,000 vehicles annually by 2015.
Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoop