Spied: Maserati Ghibli Inches Closer To Production

Our spy photographers caught a glimpse of the new, smaller Maserati sedan testing in Europe. Called the Ghibli, the new model will allow Maserati to extend its appeal as it works toward a self-imposed goal of selling 50,000 cars per year.

We previously spotted the car winter testing, but this time our spy shooters caught the luxury sedan in fairer weather. The Ghibli will probably be based on a shorter version of the chassis used for the new 2014 Quattroporte -- and that car was itself a derivative of the Chrysler 300. The test mule seen here clearly mimics its older brother's graceful lines, effectively shrinking the design of the Quattroporte. The Ghibli prototype has relatively short rear doors and a stubby trunk, in comparison to the Quattroporte. Maserati's signature gaping chrome grille will adorn the nose, while four discrete round exhaust tips peek out from beneath the rear bumper.

The Maserati Ghibli will be about a foot shorter than the Quattroporte, and it is mechanically paired with the new Alfa Romeo 169 to help amortize development costs. Expect the Ghibli to debut this year with a price tag just below $100,000. It is positioned to steal sales from the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6. Eventually, Maserati might build a coupe and convertible off the bones of the new Ghibli.

The Ghibli will be powered by a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, either a variant of Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar or a detuned version of the.0-liter in the new Maserati Quattroporte. There are inklings the bigger car's twin-turbo V-8 will also make an appearance on the Ghibli order sheet, but that seems like a long shot because Maserati will probably try to keep the two sedans distinct.

Reports suggest the Maserati Ghibli is likely to debut publicly at the Shanghai Motor Show in April.

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