Maserati has priced its new rear-drive Ghibli sedan range from between $129,990 and $149,990 to go head-to-head for the first time ever with premium four-door rivals like Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, and Lexus GS.
The price range brings the Fiat-owned Italian stallion into a more competitive place in the luxury segment, at nearly $65,000 below the previous Maserati entry point. The Ghibli line-up arrives in New Zealand soon and offers for the first time in Maserati’s 100-year history the option of a diesel engine, another attempt to eat into sales here of the rival German oil-burners.
Ghibli is smaller and lighter overall than the flagship Quattroporte but gives Maserati two four-door sedans, another first. “It takes Maserati into a new market sector with significantly more sales potential,” says New Zealand and Australia Maserati general manager Glen Sealey.
“Clients in this sector will, for the first time, have access to Maserati exclusivity, style and performance – in short, everything that has made Maserati an automotive legend.” “In short, the Ghibli is everything expected of a Maserati, yet at a price that opens Maserati ownership to an entirely new group of clients,” says Sealey.
Sealey says the Ghibli will help Maserati towards its target of 50,000 sales worldwide by 2015. Last year it sold 13,000 units worldwide, double that of 2012. Buoyant sales for the rest of this year will see further growth. Sales in New Zealand and Australia in the first three months of 2014 were up 57 per cent, says Sealey.
The most visible sign of growth in New Zealand has been the launch of Maserati Auckland, a stand-alone outlet owned by expat businessman Neville Crichton. The Christchurch, dealership, Euromarque Maserati, is the next to be made ready for the new range.
Ghibli gets the choice of three turbocharged V6 engines, two petrol and one diesel, each of 3.0-litre capacity and mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The standard petrol unit delivers 243kW/500Nm; the more powerful Ghibli S generates 301kW/ 550Nm; and the diesel 202kW/600Nm. Maserati claims town- and-around fuel use for the diesel of 5.9 litres/100km, or 48mpg.
Meantime, Maserati has confirmed that the Alfieri concept unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March will go into production as a coupe and convertible.
The coupe will appear in 2016 and the soft-top a year later. The new model was named after one of the Maserati brothers who founded the company.
The entry-level example will likely be rear-drive and powered by the 301kW twin-turbocharged Ghibli S V6 engine. Premium versions are expected to get all-wheel-drive and a choice of boosted 335kW or 387kW V6 engines.