Tag Archive | "Maserati"

The Ghibli – In A Class Of Its Own

According to some academics and the government (so it must be true!) all of us apparently fit into one of seven new social classes in this, our  classless society. We all have dreams and aspirations and hope to move and improve our lives as we go forward and one thing we can all aspire to without wearing a social label is the buying of a nice new car.

Today, that car is the Maserati Ghibli. That’s it in the picture and isn’t it just about the most desirable thing on four wheels? Let us hope that the negative aspects attached to that name don’t appear on this version. The Ghibli first came to light in 1967 and was a shark-nosed two door coupé with a V8 motor. That run ended in 1973 until the name resurfaced in 1992 on the second Ghibli, a bi-turbo. That lasted for another five years.

Both cars were obviously fantastic, being of Italian manufacture but, being of Italian manufacture, suffered from quality and reliability problems and – it goes without saying – the dreaded rust. Nevertheless, they are very sought after by collectors today.

Clearly Maserati and their masters at FIAT have different plans for the future. This new car, which joins the expensive Quattroporte and Granturismo on the roll-call, is expected to be competitively priced around the £50,000 mark to enable it to compete with the likes of the Jaguar XF and the BMW 5 Series in the prestige sector. The company want to be selling fifty thousand units overall within a couple of years and the Ghibli – coupled with the arrival of the Kubang SUV – is likely to spearhead their campaign.

The Ghibli will be the first Maserati to offer a diesel engine. Both it and the petrol version will be 3.0L V6 power plants. Both will have an eight-speed ZF auto-transmission and in addition to the rear-wheel drive will also be available with the new Q4 four-wheel drive system, although this is unlikely to be available in the UK. At some point in the future a V8 will make an appearance.

From the first glance this car could only be a Maserati. The Italians seem to be able to turn drawing board beauty into reality with every car, unlike some manufacturers; although here in the UK we seem to be turning out some lookers as well. The Ghibli has a luxurious interior and even has – shock, horror – a proper actual switch to operate the lights.

This car is distinctive and elegant in the way that only, for the most part, Italian cars can be. Let’s hope that the reliability issues are a thing of the past. Maserati are launching the Ghibli officially at the Shanghai Motor Show at the end of the month. The question is – will it be able to lure away the fans of the German cars that dominate this sector or will it be in a class of its own?

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Thirteen For 13

Are you superstitious? Would you be entirely happy with the number 13 on your car? Well, unless you can find a way around it – as suggested by Motor Blogger last year – you are just going to have to lump it. Our unwavering government have no intention of ditching this year’s series just to please the likes of you.

Never mind. At least there is going to be a fantastic selection of new cars that you could attach to the back of your new number plate. Honda, for example, are planning a new SUV in line with current trends that will be pitched into the gap between the Civic and the CRV. An interesting point is that it may feature Honda’s next-generation hybrid technology.

If you’re feeling flush with cash you could push the boat out and treat yourself to Jaguar’s forthcoming F Type. This may well be the most anticipated car of the year; full of lovely supercharged goodness. Too tame for your wallet? Fair enough. How about the long-awaited replacement for the Enzo, the F70. Or will it be the F150? We’ll see what Ferrari decide although Ford America won’t be too happy as that’s the designation for their new pick-up!

Back in the real world Fiat are offering the 500L. We’ve mentioned this before. Basically it’s a 500 on steroids. Presumably this is designed to rival the giant Mini and word has it that this could be one of the year’s best sellers. As indeed could the 500 Coupé , a cheeky 2+2 version of the perennial favourite. Meanwhile over the border in France, Citroen’s successful DS3 is taking it’s top off, or at least rolling it up – a feature that really suits this star car.

For hot hatch fans Ford will be selling the long awaited Fiesta ST, sporting at least 180bhp. If a suitable family car is more to your requirements then there’s a new package with the latest Kia Carens SUV (pictured) – the words on the grapevine are ‘surprise’ and ‘delight’. Not content to settle for one new car, the same company will present their first hot hatch in the UK. The Cee’d GT. Boasting a muscular 200bhp it looks like a rival for the ST.

Winner of this year’s daft name award is the mighty Maserati Kubang. Effectively a Ferrari powered Jeep in an Italian designer frock it’s a new departure for a company that is slowly resurrecting its image. The trouble is – is it a car too far for a company noted for beautiful design? The official Kubang website is showing a wonderful old and evocative short film called ‘A story that will overcome time’. Worth a look.

Mazda’s 6 is a good and popular choice, especially if you are not badge conscious but now they’ve produced a coupé version that’s a real looker. Let’s hope it gives a boost to this underrated manufacturer. If you do like a badge then Mercedes are refreshing the E-Class. Not earth-shattering in itself but the company are saying it will be packed with cutting edge technology under the banner ‘intelligent drive’.

In fact, there will be something like sixty new or updated cars being sold or announced in the coming year, but in this brief article there is only one car that can finish of the list. Will we finally be able to get our hands on the Alfa Romeo 4C? Live in hope.

So there you have it – thirteen cars for 2013. So don’t worry your heads about the reputation of the number 13. You know what they say – lucky for some!

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Bucking The Trend

As motoring costs spiral and economies crumble so drivers are turning to more and more frugal ways of getting around. Small cars that run on nothing more than fumes are the order of the day. Although motorists bemoan the fact that personal circumstance rather than personal preference now rule the forecourts of Britain, at least we can all take heart in the fact that, for some manufacturers, nothing ever changes. These are the dream factories; and there are few more dreamy than the one at Modena which bears the legendary name of Maserati.

They make two cars: a GT and the Quattroporte. As you all well know, the latter just means ‘four door’, but it’s in Italian. It’s a well known fact that an ardent suitor could read the Italian version of the Maserati specification catalogue to a beautiful woman and she would swoon into his manly arms convinced of his undying amore.

Maserati is an historic name with a bit of a reputation for being unreliable. Things are changing in the mechanical efficiency department but what hasn’t changed is their exquisite eye for automotive beauty. Somehow, amongst all the glossy futuristic offerings from the supercar brands, Maserati have retained a certain ageless elegance in their designs.

Take a look at the image. That’s the new Quattroporte and the company are going to introduce it at the Detroit Motor Show in January next year. Presumably, they’ve chosen the USA because the brand is mighty popular amongst more wealthy Americans.

Maserati are a bit cagey about the details but it is expected that the car will be considerably lighter thanks to aluminium body panels and a platform built from a steel/ali combination. Power is expected to come from a Ferrari 4.7L V8 punching out a healthy 500+ bhp. There’s a suggestion that there might also be a tamer V6 and even – whisper it quietly – a diesel. There’s been a big advance in fuel efficiency with this power plant, apparently.

With their continued success not only in America but also in the burgeoning Chinese market the company are at long last looking successful. So much so that they hope to be building some 50,000 units by 2015. Following on from this new prestige auto will be the baby brother, the Ghibli and there is also talk of an SUV presently named the Levante.

It is always a pleasure when a great name re-emerges into the light even if the price is out of reach to most buyers. Never mind – who knows what’s around the corner and what Lady Luck has in store for any of us. In the meantime we can just watch from afar like lovelorn teenagers. That’s amore.

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