BBC Autos

Ghibli is Maserati, miniaturised

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This baby Quattroporte is the Italian brand's answer to China. And it’s a diesel.

This is the new Maserati Ghibli. And for the first time ever, it's available as a diesel. Wait, what?

A Maserati that suckles from the oil pump? Yep. And there's one reason for it: sales. Maserati wants to sell 50,000 cars by 2015, a big ask considering the company currently sells 7,000 models every year. This new Ghibli then – set to battle the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes CLS and Jaguar XF – has a lot of responsibility on its svelte shoulders.

Unlike Ghiblis of the past, this isn't a sporty two-door, but a four-door that's running on a shortened version of the Quattroporte's platform. The diesel is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo from the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it's been fettled to sound better and be more powerful (270bhp and 420lb-ft). There are also two petrols available, both twin-turbo V6s made by Ferrari in Maranello. One has 410bhp and the other 430bhp, and all three engines are mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

But while that new Quattroporte grew significantly – to accommodate the gentleman who prefers to be driven – the Ghibli is a car for the keener driver. It's just a bit shorter than the outgoing Quattroporte, so should be a bit more nimble. To make the car smaller, Maserati got the chainsaw out and hacked some chunks from behind the B-pillar and boot, hence why the back looks a bit short.

Prices haven't been confirmed, but expect the diesel to start at around £60k – making it the cheapest way to own a Maser – and the most powerful 430bhp version at around £80k.

This story originally appeared on TopGear.com.