First official photos of the new Maserati Ghibli (w/Sound File)

Images of Maserati’s all-new Ghibli have leaked onto the web, showing the undisguised form of the company’s new 5 Series and E-Class challenger.

Based on a shortened version of the Quattroporte’s underpinnings, the Ghibli is expected to measure less than 5 metres in length and be priced significantly less than its £81,000 sibling.

Maserati-Ghibli_G3

The company describe the Ghibli as “A new page in Maserati history”, which reflects both the segment it enters and its expectation of customer demand.

Last year Maserati announced it will raise production from 6,000-7,000 units today to around 50,000 units by 2015. The Ghibli will play a significant part in that ambition, as will opening two new factories located on different continents serving the growing Asian and American markets.

The Ghibli will have a sportier character compared to the larger Quattroporte, launched at the beginning of this year, and will be available from Autumn 2013. It will make its world debut at the Auto Shanghai motor show on 20th April.

The Ghibli will be available with two turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engines, an eight-speed automatic transmission and both rear-wheel drive and Maserati’s new “Q4” all-wheel drive system. The engines are based on Chrylser’s ‘Pentastar’ range, but heavily fettled by Ferrari and Maserati technicians.

Joining the bi-turbo petrol V6s will be a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel, making Ghibli the first Maserati production car in history to be powered by a diesel engine.

The diesel version will be priced below £50,000, offer around 300bhp/620Nm and compete against BMW’s 535d and Merc’s E 350 BlueTEC, while while we expect bi-turbo petrol engine versions will start from closer to £60,000.

Although Maserati will produce both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive versions, it is rumoured that the UK will receive just rear-wheel drive due to the effort of engineering Maserati’s Q4 all-wheel drive system for right-hand drive production. We’ll have further information following the Ghibli’s official launch tomorrow, together with a more comprehensive set of pictures.

Maserati’s new SUV will join the Ghibli in 2014, for the car maker’s centenary year.

* * *

Maserati are currently running this teaser video on their Facebook page and you can register for further information at the dedicated Ghibli microsite.