Purpose

I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

TMW - Jaguar C-X75, missed opportunity or corporate suicide?

In 2008 Ford had finally given up on it's Jaguar and Land Rover brands, and would eventually sell all of it's European brands under the PAG or Premier Automotive Group, these included Aston Martin and Volvo as well as Lincoln and Mercury, the two later brands remained under Ford ownership and when, in 2010 Volvo was sold to Geely of China, it brought to an end of the PAG part of Ford.

However, when Jaguar and Land Rover along with the other marques of Rover, Daimler and Lanchester, were absorbed into the massive conglomerate known as TATA, there was a sense of dread as to what can TATA do that Ford couldn't, and in the five years that Ratan Tata has been in charge, the two brands have changed completely from American ownership.



For the Jaguar brand, which this piece is about, came the biggest change, there was the X-Type, that failed to live up to expectations due to it being harshly compared with the far less competent Ford Mondeo, this model was the first to go, followed by the introduction of the Jaguar XF which changed Jaguars fortunes completely, this one car revolutionised a defunct range of old cars, driven by elderly people, right into the 21st century, with throbbing red start button, a gear selector that rises from the center console, and the automatic air vents that, when not in use, sit flush with the dashboard, but at the touch of a button turn effortlessly round to fill the car with ice cold gusts of air.

The XK and XJ also followed suit both with new cars, both of which were a vast improvement on the previous generations, with the XJ, like the XF before, defining the sector, and in one swoop of the pen, consigning to history the decades old look of the XJ, I am not saying it was bad, no way, I loved the styling of the last retro XJ, but it had to change, and it was this new XJ that was the complete opposite of the one before, that cemented the new blood at Jaguar.

I remember taking a pre-production one out by kind permission of Jaguar at Castle Bromwich, and was instantly impressed how they had managed to change everything but still maintain the aura of a large Jag. Various models appeared and R and R-S performance cars were launched, an estate XF came with the midlife facelift, Then we were teased with a new sports car in the same vein as the iconic E-Type, and in a nod to history the new car was called F-Type, but the next car that Jaguar was to show the world is the one that has caused all the controversy.
Here is the the Jaguar C-X75, a car that just oozes passion, beauty, speed and class, a car that will take you to the echelons of top speed records but will be as frugal as a small hatchback car, the comfort and cosseting interior, and quietness that the hybrid sectors of the car will offer, but it has a history, it was compared unfavourably to the Jaguar XJ220, whose gestation period made the car that was initially produced completely different from what the buying public eventually purchased, will this car be the same.
Jaguar made the announcement that the C-X75 will be developed in association with Sir Frank Williams' Williams F1 engineering company, who would have provided their engineering expertise in a number of area's including Aerodynamics, Hybrid technology, and carbon composite manufacture, Jaguar also stated that the key to the C-X75's success will be the transfer between ultimate motorsport and general road going production car, and part of this will be the carbon fiber chassis which would have been produced to reduce weight yet give extreme rigidity to the car structure.
**In terms of performance, Jaguar envisioned a goal of their future supercar reaching 330 km/h (205 mph) and accelerating from 0 to 100km h (0 to 62 mph) in 3.4 seconds and 80 to 145 km/h (50 to 90 mph) in 2.3 seconds. It is powered by four 145 kW (194 hp) electric motors – one for each wheel - which produce 780 hp (582 kW) and a total torque output of 1,600 N·m (1,180 lbf·ft). Inherent in the drivetrain is the ability to independently vector torque to each wheel across the full speed range.  Each motor weighs 50 kilograms (110 lb). The micro gas turbines from Bladon jets generate enough electricity to extend the range of the car to 900 km (559 mi) while producing 28 grams of CO2per kilometre on the EU test cycle. While running solely on battery power, the C-X75 has an all electric range of 110 km (68 mi). Among other advantages, the micro turbines used in the C-X75 can be run on a range of fuels including diesel, fossil fuels, compressed natural gas and liquid petroleum gas. The 15kWh lithium ion battery pack weighs 185 kilograms (410 lb). Jaguar estimates an average carbon emission of 28 g/km on European test cycle; however, the carbon emission is around 150g/km if the turbines are running.
Jaguar also focused on the aerodynamics in order to improve performance. For example, the carbon-fibre rear diffuser that guides airflow from under the car creating down-force, and includes an active aerofoil and is lowered automatically as speed increases. Moreover, the C-X75 features an extruded and bonded, aerospace-inspired, aluminium chassis, saving on weight and improving sustainability and performance.** 

The decision to go ahead with it came with the announcement that it will cost £700,000GBP, and the petrol/electric hybrid car will only have a limited production run of just 250 units produced over two years, 2013-2015, they produced five running prototypes to assess its many new and varied technologies, with the one reproduced here, being the only one that was finished to a production standard.
The alcantara, leather and chrome, the carbon fibre and glass perfect paintwork, shows the world what the C-X75 will be like in final trim spec, work continued apace to bring this supercar to market, and to show the world that Jaguar is a maker of premium supercars that can and will be thee cars to beat. Many comments were made by insiders notably, "People expect Jaguar to be innovators, thats when Jaguar is at it's best" Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar Brand Director.
Also Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design stated that "We were always determined that the C-X75 would be as striking on the road as it was in concept form" even Jaguar, Land Rover's CEO was seen to be commenting that "Confirmation of this project today signposts Jaguar Land Rover's continued determination to embrace new technologies" and "A supercar like the C-X75 is the logical choice to showcase cutting edge design, intelligent use of new environmental technologies and motorsport-inspired performance"
With all these comments from the men in suits at JLR headquarters it then came as a massive shock when they just pulled the plug (no pun intended) on the project and left Williams F1 with, not only unwanted technology, but allegedly a financial deficit too, the car that would have been a massive halo vehicle for the brand was no more, the five pre production cars are just that and no matter how many people would have been willing to pay good money for one of these cars the dream has ended, the C-X75, the anniversary present to it's self is dead.
However, Jaguar seem to have forgotten this, as they are touting the cars at all the shows, motoring events and anything else they generally show cars at, even though they will not produce it, I think they are just rubbing our noses in the fact that they can make them but choose not to, the reason of cancellation, well, a feeble one really, they state that under this economic climate to produce a car of this cost is not acceptable, well, Bugatti, Spyker, Ferrari and so on and so on all build cars in the mega money band, and they all sell, so why wouldn't a stunning car from the UK.



I will leave it to you to decide, has the cancellation of the C-X75 saved the company from what it describes as the wrong time to introduce a  supercar, and the possible financial fall out that that may have caused, or have they really missed the boat, and lost out on a massive opportunity to produce an environmentally acceptable supercar, that has the pedigree of Jaguar behind it, and the engineering of a major Formula one team, along with some of the best co2 figures, top speed, 0-60 times, all packaged up in what has to be one of the most beautiful cars that never made it to full production.

Will Jaguar live to regret it's decision, or will it, as it states, use the technologies it produced in this car for future models.

Personally I think they have made the worst mistake of the decade, this car could have given Jaguar creedance in the environmental argument, it would have also given them a reduction in the corporate CO2 levels, which is something that a lot of manufacturers are struggling with, anyway, it is down to you.




** quotes from Wikipedia

J. Mower
The Motoring World

LR4 leads convoy across 10 states of America

Cross Country Off-Road Adventure to show adventurers can still traverse the United States virtually all off pavement


  • Land Rover LR4 convoy led by Land Rover Expedition Expert Kicks Off Today from Land Rover Experience School in Asheville, North Carolina
  • Fans can follow off pavement route across 10 states and 5,000 miles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • The route will be based on the Trans-America Trail, an off-road motorcycle trail created by Sam Correro

Land Rover is pleased to announce Land Rover Expedition America – Tackling the Trans-America Trail, an off-road driving adventure across America starting today in Asheville, N.C. Embarking on this adventure with off-road icon and certified Land Rover Driving Instructor Tom Collins leading the team, three 2013 Land Rover LR4 vehicles will be demonstrating relentless capability in what promises to be a true adventure as no part of this drive has been pre-scouted for this journey. Covering over 5,000 miles in the span of one month, through ten states in various climates and terrain, this crew will travel in the footsteps of American pioneers and linking cultures found along the Trans-America Trail.

Departing from the Land Rover Experience Driving School at the Biltmore Estate today, the route is derived from the Trans-America Trail, the off-road motorcycle trail created by Sam Correro. The team will traverse a mountain route in Colorado, two mountain ranges in Utah, with the most challenging areas in Nevada, and one mountain range in Oregon. The route is composed of mostly dirt and gravel with some short connections that require paved roads. This is most prevalent on the East Coast and there are also some sections in Colorado where pavement will be encountered.

The team will face the wild and uninhabited areas of the rugged frontier while simultaneously exploring rural and urban lifestyle stories - all of which will be documented for enthusiasts alike. As they encounter the limitless boundaries of natural elements, updates will be captured and shared virally to include videos, photography, blog updates, and other social media channels. Those with an appreciation for off-road adventure, breathtaking scenery, historical landmarks, or dynamic machinery taking on the elements, will surely not want to miss this.

Leading this expedition is Tom Collins, a long time off-road enthusiast and trusted Land Rover guide with his contribution to Land Rover’s many automotive programs. Most notably, Collins participated as a member of the 1987 U.S. Camel Trophy team and continued on into the 1990s as U.S. team manager of the famed international competition.

In 1989, Collins’ heavy involvement in new vehicle launches, press events and leading excursions, brought him to propose the Great Divide Expedition along Colorado’s portion of the Continental Divide. Collins put the Tread Lightly Program and Land Rover North America on the map. Tom also tackled the build and creation of the first driving schools as well as adventure programs in North America. With his extensive knowledge and admiration for cross-country travel and off-road expertise, this is sure to be a defining moment for the Land Rover LR4.  

The Land Rover LR4 is a luxurious all-purpose, high-capability all-terrain SUV, available with three-row seating for seven adults. Distinguishing the Land Rover LR4 from competitive luxury SUVs is a blend of on-road comfort and off-road capability, bolstered by a permanent four-wheel drive system with a lockable center differential, an available locking rear differential, a two-speed transfer case with a low-range, height adjustable air suspension, and an array of traction-aiding technologies*. The LR4 uses integrated body-frame construction, featuring a steel unibody mounted on a rigid boxed steel full frame.

The 2013 LR4 is powered by a 5-liter V8 engine that develops 375 hp and 375 lb.-ft. torque. Engineered for a balance of performance and efficiency, the all-aluminum alloy V8 delivers responsive power throughout the rev range, making it ideal for on-road and off-road performance and towing.

The Land Rover LR4 provides significant legroom and cargo space, an essential feature for this type of off-road adventure driving. The LR4 is equipped with 37.6-inches of legroom in the second row seats and with the third row seats folded, offers a generous 42.1 cu. ft. of carrying space. This space more than doubles to 90.3 cu. ft. with the middle row folded forward.

Land Rover Expedition America will be authentic, not made for TV, but well documented with short features, a mini-documentary film to cover the entire journey, as well as the social journey involving social media interaction, photos, videos and blog updates as they make their way from East to West.

*These systems are not a substitute for driving safely with due care and attention and will not function under all circumstances, speeds, weather and road conditions, etc. Driver should not assume that these systems will correct errors of judgment in driving.  Please consult the owner’s manual or your local authorized Land Rover Retailer for more details.

MOPAR offers over 100 options for 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

From $15 chrome valve-stem caps to $1,775 leather seats, Mopar will offer a full menu of accessories for the 2014 Jeep® Grand Cherokee, the most-awarded sport utility vehicle (SUV) ever.



“For Jeep Grand Cherokee owners who want to further enhance their vehicle, we have a catalog full of proven, quality-tested accessories,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Unlike any other aftermarket company, our accessories are designed and tested by the same designers and engineers who created our premium SUV.”
The following are select Mopar accessories available on the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. A complete list of Mopar performance parts and accessories is available at www.mopar.com/jeep/grand-cherokee/2014/

Racks and carriers: Mopar offers a full line of roof racks and bike, ski, canoe and luggage carriers, and with a hitch-mounted bike carrier

Wheels: Five options including a 20-inch chrome wheel, 18-inch steel winter wheel, 18-inch rugged look and two colors (Silver and Dark Silver) available on a 10-spoke wheel

Electrical accessories: Remote start, electric trailer braking, Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS), back-up camera and battery/engine heaters

Off-Road accessories: Tow hooks and heavy-duty rocker guards to enhance off-road protection

Exterior accessories: Chrome mirrors, exhaust tip, grille and hood blackout decal

Side steps: In chrome or black, tubular side steps provide a lower step-in for entry and exit

Trailer hitch: With trailer wiring and towing balls engineered and quality-tested specifically for the Jeep Grand Cherokee

Pet-friendly partition: This feature keeps pets secure in the cargo compartment

Cargo-area tray: Matches all-weather floor mats and provides wall-to-wall coverage in the cargo area

Door-sill guards: In bright stainless steel with Jeep Grand Cherokee name, door-sill guards enhance the appearance of four-door thresholds and provide protection to the paint

Molded splash guards: Fits the contour of the vehicle and protect from mud and stone chips

All-weather floor mats: In a rugged pattern and featuring the Jeep logo, the mats provide complete carpet protection and full coverage. Premium carpet floor mats feature the Jeep name in luxurious 28-oz. sewn-edge carpeting

Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Grand Cherokee, the most awarded SUV ever, completely redefines the premium SUV, delivering an unprecedented combination of best-in-class fuel economy and driving range, available clean-diesel technology, legendary benchmark capability, world-class craftsmanship, and a host of advanced user-friendly technology and safety features.

For 2014, Grand Cherokee offers a new EcoDiesel engine with best-in-class 30 miles per gallon (mpg) highway and an unmatched driving range of more than 730 miles. A new eight-speed transmission drives all Grand Cherokee engines, including the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 – achieving up to 25 mpg and more than 600 miles driving range – and the 5.7-liter V-8, now achieving up to 22 mpg.

Legendary Jeep capability comes courtesy of three 4x4 systems, Jeep’s Quadra-Lift air suspension, Selec-Terrain traction management and an improved crawl ratio of 44.1:1.

A refined exterior design – complete with signature LED running lamps –provides a premium appearance. Premium interior amenities include Natura leather, exotic open-pore wood and new color offerings. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in four trim levels, including the new top-of-the-line Summit, with pricing starting at $29,790.

Jeep Brand
Built on more than 70 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV brand with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.

The Jeep vehicle lineup includes Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited – with the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuting later this year. To meet consumer demand around the world, all Jeep models are sold outside of North America – and all are available in right-hand-drive versions and with gasoline and diesel powertrain options.

Mopar Brand
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes 280,000 parts and accessories. With the creation of the industrial alliance between Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A., Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar’s global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories that are distributed in more than 130 markets. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group brands as well as Fiat brands.

Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.

Mopar-first Features
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:


  • Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with customers
  • Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format. First to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
  • Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
  • Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
  • Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
  • wiAdvisor: first to provide factory-connected tablet technology in the service lane for instant vehicle diagnosis
  • wiTech: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
  • 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car

More Than 75 Years of Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked for antifreeze product in 1937. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s – the muscle-car era. The former Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth “package cars” equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of “special parts” for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use. The brand has expanded to include technical service and customer support.

Nissan 370Z benefits from price cuts for the 2014 models


  • 370Z Coupe starting M.S.R.P.* reduced by $3,130 USD
  • 370Z NISMO and 370Z Roadster pricing unchanged
  • 370Z NISMO features new NISMO design theme with unique exterior and interior accents

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today announced U.S. pricing for 370Z Coupe, 370Z NISMO and 370Z Roadster, which are on sale now at Nissan dealers nationwide. The starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (M.S.R.P.) for the 370Z Coupe has been reduced $3,130 USD and $2,550 USD for the 370Z Coupe Touring grade.

The M.S.R.P. reductions on 370Z Coupe increase its competitiveness in the growing sports car marketplace. This spring, Nissan repositioned the price on seven core models with an aim to broaden the reach of customer consideration during online shopping and research. Prices for the revised 2014 370Z NISMO and 2014 370Z Roadster remain at 2013 model year levels.

The Nissan 370Z Coupe continues to offer extraordinary performance, design and an unmatched heritage as one of the most iconic sports cars in automotive history. There are no significant product enhancements for 2014. The 2014 370Z NISMO has been revised to follow the new NISMO design theme with distinctive new exterior and interior accents.

Enhancements include new dark gray coloring for the front and rear fascias, lower side sills, side mirrors and NISMO rear spoiler, with each element (except side sills) featuring NISMO-style red pinstripe accents. Interior enhancements include the addition of a new steering wheel with Alcantara® appointments and red accents and a red NISMO tachometer. The 370Z NISMO continues to offer 350-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, sport-tuned suspension and brakes and 19-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels.

Like the 370 Coupe, the 2014 370Z Roadster offers unique design, performance and value – with the added exhilarating sensory experience of an advanced fully automatic convertible top.


Toyota show confidence in USA with further plant investment.

As consumer demand for Toyota’s Highlander continues to grow, the company’s Princeton, Ind., plant is planning to grow with it.  Toyota announced today it will increase production of the Highlander mid-size SUV in late 2014 with a $30 million investment in Princeton.

The project will create more than 200 new jobs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc. (TMMI), with new team members helping to increase production volume by 15,000 units.  This expansion raises total employment to approximately 4,700 and total plant investment to more than $4.2 billion.

Today’s announcement is Toyota’s 10th production increase announcement in the past 20 months including Toyota plants in Huntsville, Ala., Buffalo, W. Va., Georgetown, Ky., and Ontario, Canada.  Cumulative investment total is approximately $2 billion, adding more than 4,000 jobs.

“This capacity increaseis to meet growing demand for the Highlander and is a part of our strategy to build vehicles where we sell them,” said TMMI President Norm Bafunno. “We appreciate our loyal customers who value the quality products our dedicated team members build in Princeton, and we’re excited to build even more Highlanders.”

Toyota’s Indiana plant builds a gas version of the popular Highlander and will begin producing the hybrid version before year-end.  The new production volume added will be the gas model version.  Soon, Highlanders born in Indiana will find new homes with drivers in Russia and Australia as TMMI is set to begin exporting to those countries later this year.

TMMI currently employs 4,500 team members and builds the Highlander, Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna minivan.  Current production capacity is 300,000 vehicles and will increase to 350,000 later this year as announced in February 2012.  Today’s news raises TMMI’s annual capacity to 365,000 vehicles by late 2014.

AUDI DTM arrives in Russia for next race.


  • Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller leads DTM standings
  • Moscow Raceway is new territory for drivers and teams
  • DMSB has scheduled appeal court session in Ekström case


Audi drivers visited Moscow on several occasions in the past few months to promote the DTM visit, which gave them the opportunity to intensively experience the enthusiasm of the fans on location. Now the race is just around the corner: From August 2 to August 4, the Audi RS 5 DTM and leader of the standings Mike Rockenfeller are making their race debut in Russia.



The DTM’s premiere in Russia is a calculation with many unknown quantities. None of the drivers has ever competed in a race at Moscow Raceway and the track layout with a length of only 2.555 kilometres has never been used by any racing series at all. Consequently, there is no experience available with respect to set-up or strategy on the third-shortest circuit featured on the 2013 DTM calendar. How fast the Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg and their drivers will be able to adjust to the new challenge will be a key success factor.



An Audi driver – Mike Rockenfeller – is travelling to Russia as the leader of the standings. The German has scored points in each race so far, claimed victory at one round and, at the beginning of the second half of the season, has a two-point advantage over the reigning Champion Bruno Spengler. The DTM has not experienced a season as thrilling and hard to predict as 2013 in a long time, with five different winners in the first five races – a tally like this at the season’s midpoint was last seen six years ago.



Before heading for Moscow, the Audi squad has another date on its agenda. The German Motorsport Federation (DMSB) has scheduled the court session to hear the appeal of Mattias Ekström’s exclusion from the fifth round of the season at the Norisring for July 30. The Swede had initially won the city street race in Nuremberg but was subsequently excluded due to an alleged breach of parc fermé rules. Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline immediately appealed this decision.



Tickets for all DTM races of the 2013 season are available at www.audi-motorsport.com/dtm. Fans in many countries of the world can watch qualifying and the race live on the DTM’s new YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/dtmint live. A total of 39 TV channels air live DTM coverage in 141 countries.

In Germany, as usual, ARD will broadcast live on “Das Erste:” Qualifying on Saturday (August 3) starting at 14:30, the race on Sunday (August 4) starting at 13:15.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Renault group announces weaker results on continued European downturn.

With the launch of successful models and controlled costs, Renault posted an operating margin of €583 million in the first half of 2013 despite the uncertain economic environment.


  • Group revenues of €20,441 million, down 0.9% on first-half 2012.
  • Group operating margin of €583 million (2.9% of revenues), compared with €508 million[1] (2.5% of revenues) in the first half of 2012.
  • Group operating income at a negative €249 million in the first half of 2013 (compared with a positive €545 million in the first half of 2012), after recognising other operating income and expense items, amounting to a negative €832 million. In particular, the Group recorded a provision of €512 million which covers its entire exposure in Iran.
  • Net income of €97 million, compared with €774 million in the first half of 2012.
  • Automotive operational free cash flow slightly negative at €31 million.
  • Automotive net cash position of €732 million at end-June 2013.
  • Group registrations of 1.3 million units (down 1.9% on first-half 2012). International[2] growth was not sufficient to offset the continued weakness of sales in Europe, and France in particular.

Commenting on the results, Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Renault, said: “In a difficult environment, the success of new models, cost controls and the commitment of all the teams enabled the Renault group to post a positive operating margin for Automotive in the first half year. We are on track to achieve the objectives we announced for 2013.”



Group revenues came to €20,441 million in the first half of 2013, down 0.9%. Continued international growth was not sufficient to offset the weakness of the European market.

The Automotive division contributed €19,383 million to revenues, down 0.9% on first-half 2012, mainly due to a negative currency effect and a decrease in registrations. The drop in registrations was lessened by the increase in independent dealer inventories.

The Group saw a positive product-mix effect, stemming notably from the launch of new vehicles, and a positive price effect. The Group is pursuing with it strict pricing policy in order to improve the value of the Renault brand and offset the weakness of certain currencies.

Group operating margin came to €583 million in the first half of 2013, compared with €508 million1 in the first half of 2012, and accounted for 2.9% of revenues, compared with 2.5% in the first half of 2012.

The Automotive division posted a positive operating margin of €211 million (1.1% of revenues), up €95 million compared to the first half of 2012. Despite negative volume and currency effects, the Group benefited from its pricing policy and cost controls.

Sales Financing contributed €372 million to Group operating margin, compared with €392 million1 in the first half of 2012. The €20 million decrease was due to an unfavourable currency effect in Brazil and a slight rise in distribution costs while the cost of risk improved to 0.40% of average performing loans (versus 0.44% in the first half of 2012).

Other operating income and expense items came to -€832 million, mainly due to a provision of €512 million which covers the Group’s entire exposure to Iran; to €227 million in impairment charges for certain vehicle programs, and €173 million in restructuring costs related to the competitiveness agreement signed in France. Operating income came to -€249 million, compared with €545 million in the first half of 2012.

The contribution of associated companies, mainly Nissan, came to €749 million in the first half of 2013.

Net income came to €97 million while net income, Group share, came to €39 million (€0.14 per share compared with €2.703 in the first half of 2012).

Automotive operational free cash flow was slightly negative at €31 million, including €138 million increase in the working capital requirement since December 31, 2012. Total inventory represented 67 days of sales compared with 65 at end-December 2012.

The Automotive division’s net cash position came to €732 million on June 30, 2013, down €800 million since December 31, 2012.

RCI Banque continued to diversify its refinancing through its retail savings account business, with net collected savings totaling €2.6 billion in France and Germany at the end of June 2013.

2013 OUTLOOK

The environment is more challenging than expected, especially in France. However, thanks to the success of its new models and cost controls, the Group remains on track to achieve its full year guidance (provided that there is no further deterioration of the market conditions):

higher Group registrations worldwide,
positive Automotive operating margin,
positive Automotive operational free cash flow.


Subaru WRX concept vehicle makes European debut


  • Subaru WRX concept vehicle makes European debut
  • Next-generation WRX under evaluation for UK market
  • Subaru VIVIZ concept vehicle also on show

The Subaru WRX concept vehicle – first shown earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show – will make its European debut at the 65th Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday 10 September.

The WRX concept hints at the final look of the next-generation WRX, a bold and muscular design giving it a strong on-street presence.  Lower, wider and sleeker than previous models, the WRX Concept places an even greater focus on sharp handling, with a low centre of gravity and Subaru’s famous All-Wheel Drive system.



Subaru trademark design cues including a pronounced bulge on the bonnet – accompanied by the classic WRX bonnet scoop – which provides clearance for a turbocharged engine and intercooler, while also aiding engine cooling.

The old model is now sold out and the decision was taken earlier this year not to import further volumes. The new-for-2014 Subaru WRX production car, while not confirmed for the UK market, is under consideration.  Changing market conditions has allowed Subaru UK to re-examine the feasibility of bringing the new car into Britain.

The WRX concept will be joined on the stand at Frankfurt by the Subaru VIZIV concept, representing Subaru’s future design direction and vision for technological innovation.

Honda North America Inc. has released an image of a prototype NSX supercar

Honda North America Inc. has released an image of a prototype NSX supercar that will take to the racetrack at the Honda Indy 200 IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, United States. The NSX prototype, complete with custom graphics, will lap the road course in advance of the race on August 4, 2013.
Global development of the NSX, due to be launched in 2015, is being led by engineers at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in Raymond, Ohio. Additionally, it was announced in May that the next-generation NSX supercar will be produced at the newly established Performance Manufacturing Centre in nearby Marysville.

The prototype model maintains the styling and proportions of the NSX Concept that debuted at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, while packaging the production vehicle’s mid-mounted V6 engine mated to Honda’s innovative new three-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) system.


New Reaction hatch and Monte Carlo TECH Estate join best-selling Fabia range


  • New Reaction hatch and Monte Carlo TECH Estate join best-selling Fabia range
  • Fabia Reaction comes with £3,715 discount while stocks last
  • Fabia Monte Carlo TECH Estate added after sell-out success of hatch version
  • Fabia Reaction from £9,690; Fabia Monte Carlo TECH Estate from £12,575

ŠKODA is celebrating the great British summertime with the arrival of two new additions to the best-selling Fabia range. The Fabia Reaction and Fabia Monte Carlo TECH Estate hit showrooms this month, both delivering high equipment levels and incredible value for money.

New Fabia Reaction from £9,690

The new Fabia Reaction is equipped with all the essential features needed to look and stay cool this summer and joins the range with an introductory price of just £9,690 – a £3,715 less than the normal price of £13,405. Despite its highly affordable price-tag, the Fabia Reaction features an extensive equipment list. Air-conditioning and a three-spoke leather steering wheel are fitted as standard, while the exterior benefits from a unique combination of 16-inch black Comet alloys, rear spoiler, black detailing on the roof, mirrors and grille, and Sunset glass. Combined with the Meteor Grey paintwork, the Fabia Reaction has serious head-turning ability.



The Fabia Reaction model is fitted with a 1.2 12V 69PS engine and is only available in hatch form.

New Fabia Monte Carlo TECH Estate from £12,575

The new Fabia Monte Carlo TECH Estate follows on from the popular hatch version launched earlier this year. Available with a choice of two advanced engines: 1.2 TSI 105PS or 1.6 TDI CR 105PS, the TECH is based on the Monte Carlo model, but adds Amundsen sat-nav and Bluetooth connectivity as standard. Thanks to a striking design that includes gloss black wheelarches and grille, the Fabia Monte Carlo TECH Estate combines sporty looks with exceptional practicality.

Available with three colour options: red, white and black, the 1.2 TSI 105PS petrol model is priced from £12,575, while the 1.6 TDI CR 105PS starts from £13,545.



Commenting on the arrival of the new models, Alasdair Stewart, ŠKODA  UK Brand Director of said: “We’re always looking at ways of delivering better value to our customers, and these two new additions to the Fabia range do just that. We’re confident that buyers will appreciate the high equipment levels and stylish design that both the Reaction and Monte Carlo TECH offer.”

The Fabia Reaction and Monte Carlo TECH Estate are available for customer order now. With limited stocks available at ŠKODA retailers across the UK, buyers will need fast reactions to secure one.

Honda takes reliability award for eighth consecutive years

Embargo 00.01 Friday 26th July 2013


  • Japanese brands still top reliability list, filling 7 out of top 10 places
  • Luxury and premium cars break down most often
  • Honda is the most reliable used car manufacturer in the UK for the eighth consecutive year, according to research by What Car? and Warranty Direct.


The Japanese brand topped the survey of 38 manufacturers and 50,000 live Warranty Direct policies on three to eight-year old vehicles.

Once again, Asian manufacturers dominated the study of the most reliable brands, with Suzuki and Hyundai second and third behind Honda. Only Chevrolet and Ford break the Far Eastern stranglehold of the top 10.

At the other end of the scale, luxury and prestige marques Bentley, Land Rover and Porsche are the most likely to break down – 86% of Bentleys suffer a problem each year, making it Britain’s least dependable car maker.

What Car? editor-in-chief Chas Hallett said: “Honda’s success in the reliability stakes is down to low failure rates, and when cars do go wrong they’re easy and cheap to fix.

“Reliability is one of the key attributes that buyers look for when looking to make a used purchase, so manufacturers that can demonstrate that quality will always fare well.

“The manufacturers at the bottom end of the table could learn a thing or two from their Japanese counterparts.”

Reliability rating of all manufacturers


Warranty Direct managing director Duncan McClure Fisher said: “Household budgets are already strained, so the last thing you want is a vehicle that costs you yet more unwanted bills.

“That is why it pays to research cars before you buy – make the wrong choice and you could land yourself with a car that causes you nothing but hassle and money.”

Overall, the most reliable models are the Mitsubishi Lancer and Vauxhall Agila, both of which also star as the cheapest to repair. The least reliable model is the Audi RS6 but the iconic Porsche 911 is the most expensive to fix, with an eye-watering average repair bill of £1157.04.

Electrical faults are the most common across all cars, with almost a quarter (23.5%) needing a visit to the garage in an average year. Axle and suspension faults are also common, affecting 22% of cars.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Is this the MK3 MINI, it looks far better than the MK2

At today’s MINI Design@Home event Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design, previews a sampling of visionary design and innovative ideas. The MINI Vision, for example, showcases various elements of future MINI design. Here, MINI has developed a vehicle design laced with new creative impulses that advance the cause of premium quality in the compact class.

In customary MINI fashion, the MINI Vision seizes the limelight with creativity, individuality and a generous helping of versatility. Interactive gadgets such as the Driving Experience Control switch offer a glimpse of the future. This particular feature allows the whole of the car’s interior to be transformed into a variety of different colour and experience worlds in the blink of an eye.
video

The presentation of the MINI Vision is based around a virtual 3D hologram. This form of expression provides a window into how the MINI designers go about their business. Complementing their familiar toolset of sketches and 1:1 clay models, virtual reality allows them to test and fine-tune creative ideas quickly and under realistic conditions.

The exterior: a perfect balance between old and new.

The design of the MINI Vision reaches pointedly into the brand’s past and combines the underlying features and values of MINI with future-focused aesthetic and technical innovations. The hexagonal radiator grille is inspired by the classic Mini, for example, and the MINI Vision integrates both the bumper and auxiliary lights into the grille.

The traditional and unmistakable rounded MINI forms are reflected in the exterior through elements such as the elliptical full-LED headlights. Their outer ring emits a consistent light and fulfils a daytime driving light function.

Among the standout signature features of the MINI brand are the clear separation of the roof, glasshouse and body. The chrome strip wrapped around the top of the body, the distinctive side indicator element and the black band framing the lower edge of the car are all hallmark MINI styling elements.

The MINI Vision presents these three defining design elements as a flowing, interconnected unit – conjured from innovative and lightweight “organo metal”. This extremely mouldable but also very strong material is produced by pressing various fibres into a composite. Organo sheets have a unique texture comparable to that of fabrics.

Alongside lightweight construction techniques, aerodynamics also play a frontline role in the conceptual ideas behind the MINI Vision. The car’s body includes an aerodynamic air intake and outlet around each front wheel arch, airflow-optimised wheel rims and exterior mirrors, and an integral, air-channelling roof spoiler.

At the rear, muscular shoulders lend the MINI Vision extremely sporty and compact proportions.The finely drawn and clearly defined edging in the car’s bodywork is central to the exterior design language of the MINI Vision and underlines the concept’s precision and sporting intent.

The interior: originality and creativity packed into a very small space .

The interior of the MINI Vision stands out with its individual style, variability, functionality and aesthetic appeal. The fundamental idea behind the MINI brand – of providing maximum comfort within minimal exterior dimensions – filters through every detail of the interior.

A transparent and open cockpit, sweeping doors and a “floating” centre console allow the driver and passengers to experience the sensation of a wide open space coupled with the benefits of a space-saving small car. Lounge seats featuring dynamic piping add the finishing touch to the unique interior ambience.

The creative design solutions have been brought together with established pillars of MINI design. For example, the elastic fabric straps on the insides of the doors – arranged like the stripes of the Union Jack flag – are a nod to the brand’s British heritage. However, the stretchable straps have a functional as well as stylistic role: these flexible retaining devices are designed to hold a magazine, mobile phone or drinks bottle within easy reach.

The fresh layer of variability added by the MINI click system offers additional scope for customising the interior. Smartphone holders, a storage box, cup holder or small safe can be attached and removed in a single movement as and when required.

The interior of the MINI Vision as a whole can also be adapted to a variety of interaction requirements with similar flexibility and immediacy.

The Driving Experience Control switch allows the driver to choose between a pure and focused or fully-interconnected mode. The two modes are expressed in different colours using calm, clear light and dynamic, energy-charged shades. Another highlight of the fully-interconnected mode is the “MINI Disco” floor. Here, an expressive interplay of colours, light and forms transforms the footwells as the MINI Vision appears to come vibrantly to life. As well as turning the ambient colour scheme of the interior on its head, the Driving Experience Control switch also changes the face of the familiar MINI circular central display. Depending on their selection, drivers will be met by either a classic, analogue-style view or an impressive 3D look, which gives the full suite of display elements an unaccustomed depth.

Colours and materials: structures form characters.

The Glamorous Gold paint finish – a shimmering gold-tinged orange tone – has never been seen before in the history of MINI design. And the use of organo metal creates an intriguing contrast to this gleaming metallic shade. The organo metal adds highlights not only to the outside of the car, but also to the interior, its unique structure lending the MINI Vision a cutting-edge character.

A tough, dark-blue fabric recalling the properties of a high-quality suit is employed for the seats and sections of interior trim. The seamless transitions of the various materials between the interior and exterior bring consistency to the MINI Vision despite the use of different materials and textures.

Its unbeatable scope for personalisation and an extremely sporty and precise design make the MINI Vision the perfect partner for the road, tailored to the needs and preferences of the individual driver. This design vision demonstrates that MINI will continue to use intelligent variability, imagination-capturing technology and a compact sporting presence to deliver unrivalled driving fun over the years to come.

Dacia residuals prove to be far better than competition


  • Sandero Access, “UK’s most affordable new car” forecast to lose only £3,615 over three years/60,000 miles
  • Low depreciation on top-of-the-range Sandero Laureate over three years/60,000 miles means owners could be nearly £4,000 better off than running pricier rivals like Skoda Fabia and Suzuki Swift
  • New figures shatter any illusion that the UK’s “most affordable” new supermini range might not stack up financially in the future


But, a “shockingly affordable” price tag is one thing, the question on many people's’ lips recently has been how much one’ll be worth in a few years time. Well, now we have the answer.

In yet another blow to its rivals, but a boost to those who've already taken the Dacia supermini ownership plunge, leading residual value provider, CAP, has confirmed that over a three year period and 60,000 miles the Access 1.2 16V will only lose £3,615 of its smart-buy retail price of £5,995. Even the top-sec Laureate with the same engine only loses a further £1,400, making it thousands of pounds less than its rivals to boot.

The new figures make the idea of owning one even more appealing than it was already. And they shatter any illusion that one of the newest superminis on the block might not stack up financially after the shine of its alluring showroom price tag has faded.

Smart-buy choice over rivals

Sandero prides itself on big car features and technology, with small car prices. Its attractive design does not detract from its practical personality, with ample space for five adults and plenty of boot space. It’s also the UK’s most affordable new diesel car.

The 1.2 Laureate, is forecast to be worth an impressive 36% after three years - a stonking 6% more than Skoda’s Fabia 1.2 12V SE , and a whopping 8% more than a Suzuki Swift SZ3 1.2.

Put it another way, the Swift has a P11D value of £12,444, but is forecast to lose £8,919 over three years/60,000 miles. If you bought the Dacia Sandero 1.2 Laureate instead, you'd be better off to the tune of almost £4,000 after three years. That’s easily enough cash left over to treat the loved ones to a sun-drenched fortnight in Spain. Including Dacia car hire while you're out there. Or, a healthy chunk of cash to put towards a new Sandero. Who knows, owners might be so impressed with their Dacia supermini that they'll want to add another model from the range to their household.

Glass’s Guide is even more bullish. They believe it'll hold onto a jaw-dropping 57% of its value over the same period. In real money, it'll still be worth £4,470. A drop of only £2,370, less than plenty of all-inclusive family holidays to the Med.

The latest good news for Europe’s fastest-growing car brand comes only weeks after it launched its latest two models, Sandero Stepway and the five-seat estate, Logan MCV across the UK. Duster has already received a glowing endorsement from CAP and, with over 4,000 orders already this year, is taking the nation by storm too. The rest of the range now looks set to follow.

Commenting on the latest “good news”, Dacia UK Marketing Director, Phil York, said: “It’s only a few months since the Dacia Duster SUV got a glowing endorsement from the people who forecast future used car values, yet already we’re celebrating the same for the second car in the range.

“We always knew that a cracking entry price of only £5,995 would get Brits through the showroom door in their droves. This latest news now makes the deal for arguably one of the best value superminis even sweeter. If we carry on like this, we might have to call the factory to up the production for the UK.”

Testament to the quality

British popularity of Dacia, a subsidiary of the French carmaker Renault, is continuing to grow impressively, with the brand recently hitting 11,000 orders overall. It’s made an enemy of the unnecessary and makes a simple range of cleverly designed, high quality vehicles which unashamedly favour function over frivolity. Its jaw-dropping prices are clear and straightforward, whether you buy online at the Dacia Store on www.dacia.co.uk or through its nationwide retailer network.

Dacia only launched officially in the UK in January 2013, but has already cleaned up nine major awards, including a hat-trick of trophies at the carbuyer.co.uk 2013 awards, including Car of Year and 4x4 of the Year, plus Scottish Car of the Year for Duster, and Best Supermini under £12,000 for Sandero with What Car?.

New Ghibli: Maserati’s first saloon in the Premium E Segment

SORRY THIS IS A VERY LONG RELEASE.....

New Ghibli: Maserati’s first saloon in the Premium E Segment features two twin-turbo V6 petrol engines, a brand new efficient diesel engine and undiminished luxury.

The all-new Ghibli marks a turning point in Maserati’s history. Unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show and arriving just months after the new Quattroporte, the Ghibli will give Maserati two four-door saloon models for the first time in its history.

The Ghibli is smaller, shorter, lighter, more dynamic, less expensive and more economical than the flagship Quattroporte and provides a cornerstone in Maserati’s plans to build 50,000 cars a year by 2015.

Its petrol range provides high performance from both of the power outputs from the Twin Turbo-charged, 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines.

The Ghibli has a more-focused, sportier philosophy than the larger Quattroporte and its most powerful model, the Ghibli S, has 301 kW (410 hp) of power, races to 62mph in 5.0  seconds and stretches out to a top speed of 177mph (285km/h).

The Ghibli is also the first Maserati in history to be powered by a diesel engine, with a turbo-diesel V6 producing all the sound, refinement and driving pleasure typical of Maserati while delivering fuel consumption over 47mpg (below 6 l/100km) on the NEDC combined cycle . The Ghibli diesel will also become the first Maserati with Start-Stop technology.

It shares much of its core architecture, including its crash safety, chassis, suspension architecture, engines and LED headlight technology, with the larger Quattroporte, though it is 50 kg lighter, 173 mm shorter in the wheel base and 291 mm shorter overall.

The Ghibli’s design team was challenged to produce a saloon that emphasised its more dynamic driving characteristics through a more aggressive visual personality, yet still maintained discernible visual links with the Quattroporte.

The outline of the body reflects a coupe-like philosophy for the four-door saloon, while there are strong feline hints around the Ghibli’s grille and headlights. The grille takes its inspiration from the current GranTurismo and it can draw a line back to the classic 1950s A6 GCS.

It also maintains Maserati’s distinctive C-pillar treatment, which delivers much of the coupe-like stance and carries the classical Saetta Maserati logo, carrying on a tradition dating back to 1963.

The side profile is dominated by a swage line that runs from the traditional Maserati grille vents behind the front wheels and finishes in the rear lights themselves.
Inside, the Ghibli sets itself apart from the Quattroporte with a unique dashboard design that perfectly matches its sportier and more youthful character without losing any of the luxury expected from Maserati. The Ghibli also delivers a sporty design combined with all the spaciousness expected in an executive saloon from Maserati.

The Ghibli, Ghibli S and Ghibli Diesel all utilise an eight-speed automatic transmission to deliver their performance, providing seamless comfort with fast gear shifting for hard acceleration.

All Ghibli models deliver exquisite handling thanks to their perfectly balanced weight distribution, a double-wishbone front suspension and a state-of-the-art five-link rear suspension. It can now deliver the added security and all-weather assurance of all-wheel drive as well.

It also delivers new standards in quality in every area from design, development, fabrication and process controls. It is produced in a new plant that combines Maserati’s traditions of craftsmanship with cutting-edge technologies that are able to guarantee outstanding quality by controlling even the tiniest of details.

The Ghibli has entered the E-segment sports premium market with a marked advantage in cabin craftsmanship and detailing, offering luxury features like the Maserati Touch Control screen,  reversing camera, Poltrona Frau leather interior and the 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, as well as WLAN-based WiFi and compatibility with most modern mobile phone systems.

The original 1963 Quattroporte invented the concept of the luxury sports saloon, the new Quattroporte continues to be the genre’s benchmark and now the Ghibli offers all of the Quattroporte’s qualities in a more dynamic, and more affordable package.

EDITOR’S GLANCE


  • The Ghibli will have two petrol engines, the 243 kW (330 hp) V6 Twin Turbo in the Ghibli and the more powerful 301 kW (410 hp) Ghibli S
  • The Ghibli will also deliver a state-of-the-art V6 turbo diesel, the first in Maserati’s history, which has been designed with the European market primarily in mind
  • The Ghibli S reaches 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds and has a top speed of 285 km/h (177mph)
  • Traditional handling excellence is assured through 50 : 50 weight distribution, a double wishbone front suspension and a five-link rear suspension
  • Cabin features include WiFi WLAN hotspot, up to 15 speakers of Bowers and Wilkins audio quality, 8.4 ” Maserati Touch Control screen
  • The Ghibli has been designed and engineered by Maserati and is the second model (after the Quattroporte) to be manufactured to new benchmark quality standards in Maserati’s refurbished facility in Grugliasco (near Turin)
  • The Ghibli has targeted a five-star NCAP crash safety rating by including a third force load path and seven airbags to complement its high-strength chassis design

ENGINES

A new range of completely innovative petrol engines,designed entirely by Maserati and manufactured by Ferrari, form the beating heart of the Ghibli. New proprietary Maserati V6 engines - all of which Twin Turbo, latest GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) technology developed in strict cooperation between the Maserati powertrain development team and the Ferrari powertrain development team – are built in Maranello for exclusive use of Maserati.

They are being produced in the Ferrari plant in Maranello that is famous for its 60 years of passion and cutting-edge technology.

This new generation of Maserati engines is more powerful, more exciting to drive and more eco-friendly than ever.

The Ghibli will be available with two versions of its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine.

The most powerful of the V6 petrol engines will be fitted to the rear-wheel drive Ghibli S. This engine produces 301 kW (410hp) of power at 5500 rpm and 550 Nm of torque from just 1750 rpm.

The Ghibli S will reach 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds. It has a quoted top speed of 285 km/h (177mph).

The more affordable V6 petrol engine variant not only has an impressive 243 kW (330 hp) of power and 500 Nm of torque, but also delivers a combined fuel economy figure of just 9.6 litres/100km (29.4mpg). It is much more than a fuel saving car, though, and is capable of accelerating to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds.

The Ghibli Diesel becomes the first car in Maserati’s near-100 year history to use a diesel power unit. In keeping with Maserati traditions, it is the most powerful single-turbo 3-litre engine on the market with its 275 Hp and 600 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm.

It is capable of sprinting to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds and hitting a top speed of 250 km/h (155mph), even though it emits just 158 grams of CO2/km and uses just 5.9 litres/100 km (47.8mpg) on the NEDC combined cycle.

In another first for the Maserati brand, all Ghibli models will have an Active Speed Limiter function as standard equipment. Activated (and deactivated) via a button on the steering wheel, the Active Speed Limiter function lets the driver set a maximum speed for the car, which can be over-ridden by pushing the accelerator pedal through the “kick down”.

GHIBLI S V6 ENGINE

The most powerful version of the Ghibli’s 2987 cc V6 shares much of its technology with the Quattroporte’s flagship 3.8-litre V8 engine.

With 301 kW (410hp) of power at 5500 rpm, the downsized V6 TwinTurbo delivers big V8 performance with 550 Nm of torque between 4500 rpm and 5000 rpm.

The V6’s maximum engine speed of 6500 rpm, yet it delivers 90 percent of its 550 Nm of torque from 1600 rpm and its specific torque is actually higher than the V8’s, at 183 Nm per litre. It also has an overboost function that is capable of providing the engine’s maximum boost between 1750 rpm and 5000 rpm.

It uses the V8’s petrol direct injection technology, cylinder architecture and combustion technology along with two low-inertia parallel turbochargers and four continuous camshaft phasers. It uses high-pressure fuel injection to deliver its fuel at around 200 bars of pressure.

The Ghibli S accelerates to 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds, a tenth of a second faster to 100 km/h than the corresponding Quattroporte S.

It has a top speed of 285 km/h (177mph) top speed almost matching the Quattroporte S.

The engine is also efficient, given its powerful performance numbers. The Ghibli S posts 10.4 (27.2mpg) on the NEDCcombined cycle.

The Ghibli S emits 242 grams of CO2/km.

The V6 engine’s parallel turbochargers are slightly different to the twin-scroll units on the V8, but it retains the V8’s core dimensions with its bore measurement unchanged at 86.5 mm.

It uses high-tumble cylinder heads and two continuous cam phasers for each cylinder head; it can advance or retard the inlet and exhaust valve timing independently in real time four-phase variators for optimal combustion control for high performance and low consumption.

Another characteristic feature of the new Maserati engine family is the 200 bar direct fuel-injection system. This very high pressure helps atomise the fuel, thus improving the fuel-air mixture and optimising combustion at higher engine speeds.

The Ghibli S has two intercoolers – one to feed each of the turbo chargers –mounted low on either side of the main radiator to catch a constant supply of fresh, cool air.

The engine also uses a state-of-the-art ECU, with integral high-speed processors, which handle an array of shifting functions in real time.

Maserati Powertrain has also switched to on-demand ancillaries, with a variable displacement oil pump that works under electrical control for improved consumption and performance.

It also uses an innovative, computer control of the alternator, which monitors the vehicle’s electricity consumption and manages the alternator’s workload to suit.

The engine also operates in both Normal and Sport modes, along with Manual versions of either mode, operated by elongated shift paddles fixed to the steering column.

The new Ghibli also makes available the I.C.E. (Increased Control and Efficiency) strategy, a function aimed at reducing consumption, emissions and noise. This is a user-select strategy that delivers a softer throttle pedal response for smooth driving, cancels the turbocharger’s over-boost function and keeps the exhaust’s Sport flaps closed until 5000 rpm. It also adjusts the gear changes to make them softer and slower and reduces torque at each gear’s take-up point.

Like the Quattroporte’s engine family, the Ghibli V6 engines were developed by Maserati Powertrain, in partnership with Ferrari Powertrain, and will be built by Ferrari in its world-leading engine construction facility in Maranello.

GHIBLI V6 ENGINE

The second turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine available on the Ghibli has 243kW (330hp) of power at 5.000rpm, This engine has been designed to offer an outstanding driving experience and versatile utilisation with low fuel consumption.  Not only has it got an impressive power of 243kW and a torque of 500Nm, but it delivers a combined fuel economy of just 9.6 litres/100km (29.4mpg) with 223 grams of CO2 emissions/km, and is capable of accelerating to 100km/h in just 5.6  seconds.

GHIBLI V6 DIESEL ENGINE

The Ghibli’s highly advanced V6 diesel engine will be the first of its kind in Maserati’s history.

The 2987 cc V6 turbo-diesel develops 202 kW (275 hp) of power and a crushing 600 Nm of torque, both of which help it from rest to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds. Critically, its NEDC combined fuel economy figure is 5.9 litres per 100 km (47.8mpg) and it emits just 158 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

It uses highly advanced Common-Rail direct fuel injection with 2000 bar of injection pressure and it also features reduced-dwell-time injectors. This helps it to deliver sequential multiple injections for highly responsive performance and cleaner emissions.

It uses a single, variable-geometry turbo charger and the fabricated exhaust manifold includes air-gap.

It is also the first Maserati to use Start-Stop technology, which can lower the fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions by up to six percent, depending on the route and the traffic density. The system turns the engine off when the car comes to a stop and turns it on again almost instantly whenever the accelerator pedal is depressed.

Every Maserati can be identified instantly by its engine note and, thanks to its new Maserati Active Sound system, the Ghibli Diesel is no different.
Two sound actuators, fitted near the exhaust tailpipes, accentuate the engine’s most distinctive tones and modulate them precisely to suit the way the car is being driven. When the driver presses the Sport button on the central tunnel, the sound becomes even more resonant and utterly inspiring.

EXHAUST SYSTEM

In the best Maserati tradition, the sound and performance of the Ghibli’s exhaust system is controlled by pneumatic valves in the pipes emerging from each bank and passes through the unique Maserati Sound Tank to maintain the rich aural tradition of the brand.

In the default Normal mode, the bypass valves are closed to give a comfortable and discreet engine sound, which emerges through four sport exhaust tips.

In Sport mode, not only does the car adjust a variety of handling parameters, but also the exhaust valves are opened, giving the shortest possible, high-energy route for the exhaust gases, which gives the Ghibli its maximum engine performance and the unique Maserati engine sound.

DRIVETRAIN

TRANSMISSION

All versions of the Ghibli are fitted with the same ZF AT8 - HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission that has already proven itself in the new Quattroporte.

The transmission delivers in every parameter, from comfort to fast gear shifting, and from minimised fuel consumption to low NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness).

As befitting Maserati tradition, it is capable of being in five dedicated shift modes: Auto Normal, Auto Sport, Manual Normal, Manual Sport and the extreme weather I.C.E mode.

Auto Normal is the Ghibli ’s default setting and performs its gear changes with fluid shifts at low engine speeds to emphasise the car’s comfort and to minimise fuel consumption.

The Auto Sport mode sees the transmission switch character to change gears with greater alacrity at higher engine speeds and deliver a distinct gear engagement to enhance the powertrain’s sporting feel.

In both of these modes, the car recognises a variety of conditions, such as whether the car is travelling up or down hill, is braking hard or is driving through a corner, and selects the best gear and the best gear-shift style accordingly.

The transmission can also be controlled manually by selecting the M button on the transmission tunnel.

In Manual Normal mode, the driver can change gear with either the elongated gearshift paddles attached to the steering column or by using the transmission lever. The driver is in charge of the gear selection, though the system will intervene and change to a lower gear if the engine revs drop too low, or change to a higher gear if the engine revs climb too high.

In Manual Sport mode, however, the gearshifts are at their fastest and crispest, giving the driver full control of the powertrain. The system will not intervene, even if the driver strikes the engine’s rev limiter. It will only intervene if the engine’s revs drop too low to be effective in a given gear.

The I.C.E (Increased Control Efficiency) mode is designed for remarkable fuel economy, relaxed driving and extremely low grip conditions. The transmission changes gear as softly as possible, both going up through the gears and returning back down.

All gearshift modes can be selected via buttons on the left of the gear knob.

LIMITED-SLIP DIFFERENTIAL

As has become expected of Maserati, the Ghibli also utilises a mechanical limited-slip rear differential as well, in both its rear- and all-wheel drive versions.
The Ghibli is the only car in its class to use a standard mechanical limited slip differential in all versions in order to deliver the best inherent traction in all driving situations.

The bevel-drive, asymmetric unit offers 35 percent lock-up under power and 45 percent under release.

The rear differential is driven via a two-piece, 80 mm-thick light-weight steel prop shaft with two constant velocity joints & a head rubber coupling, which runs through a cross member-mounted rubber bearing for lower NVH levels without compromising rigidity.

EXTERIOR DESIGN

The Ghibli’s design ethos emphasises its more dynamic driving characteristics while maintaining visible links with the larger Quattroporte and delivering a more aggressive visual personality.

The outline of the body reflects a coupe-like philosophy for the four-door saloon, while there are strong feline hints around the Ghibli’s grille and headlights. The dominating grille takes its inspiration from the current GranTurismo and it can draw a line back to the classic A6 GCS of the 1950s.

It also maintains Maserati’s distinctive C-pillar treatment, which delivers much of the stunning coupe-like stance and carries the classical Saetta Maserati logo, carrying on a tradition dating back to 1963. It is gloss black in colour and its variable cross section contrasts with both the satin chrome surrounding it and the Trident symbol at its centre.

The grille design is accentuated by the flow of the front quarter panels, which emphasise the shape of the engine compartment lid, then run into the headlights at the front. The shape of the headlights converges onto the Trident symbol, with every angle designed to attract the eye to Maserati’s legendary badge.

The side profile is dominated by a swage line that runs from the traditional Maserati grille vents behind the front wheels and finishes in the rear lights themselves.

With its long wheelbase, total length and wide tracks, the Ghibli comes together as one of the sportiest and most elegant looking cars in the E-segment.

The Ghibli’s body and underbody design fulfils the sporty promise of its looks, with a low drag coefficient of 0.31 to keep fuel consumption low and increase stability at the high speeds that, of the E-segment category, only the Ghibli is capable of.

CHASSIS

It may be closely related to the Quattroporte, but the Ghibli has a character all its own thanks to its combination of double-wishbone front suspension and a state-of-the-art, multi-link rear suspension with the option of the active Skyhook system, part-time all-wheel drive, firm suspension damping and powerful braking system.

Like the Quattroporte, its chassis design is based around a rigid and extremely secure steel safety cell that employs an array of different steel and aluminium alloys to deliver precise strengths and minimal weight.

The front of its chassis is based around an aluminium casting with a reinforced cross-strut which helps deliver outstanding rigidity in all directions, while the rear of the chassis is made from rolled steel.



BODY

The chassis of the new Ghibli shares its core architecture with the Quattroporte and has been precisely designed to meet the performance and comfort demands of Maserati buyers, and meets all foreseeable safety regulations.
Based around a rigid and extremely secure steel safety cell, it uses an array of different steel and aluminium alloys, each designated a precise task to maximise strength, minimise weight and retains the sports saloon’s perfect 50 : 50 weight distribution in its rear-drive models.

The front of the chassis is based around an aluminium casting, with a reinforced cross-strut which helps deliver outstanding rigidity in all directions, while the rear of the chassis is made from rolled steel.

The choice of aluminium for the bulk of the Ghibli’s body panels was based around the delivery of the maximum possible occupant safety for the lowest possible weight. Accordingly, all four doors and the bonnet hood are all made from aluminium.

Along with the freedom it allowed Maserati’s designers, the choice of aluminium has also had a positive impact on reducing weight, reducing its fuel consumption and lowering its emission.

Other exotic materials are also used in the Ghibli’s body, including ultra-light weight magnesium, which is used in the dashboard’s cross strut.

SUSPENSION

Double wishbone suspension layouts are a race-bred tradition at Maserati and the Ghibli continues with this heritage but also incorporates some new technologies for greater accuracy.

Utilising a suspension layout and software system that has already proven a hit in the Quattroporte, the Ghibli has high-mounted all-aluminium double wishbones at the front to guarantee light and precise handling characteristics.

Aluminium is the dominant metal of the front suspension system, with the dome nuts, the hub carrier bars and uprights all made from forged aluminium, while the springs are steel. This matches up to constantly adaptive Skyhook dampers and an anti-roll bar.

The geometry of the system has delivered a quadrilateral architecture, which has enabled Maserati’s handling team to deliver steering that is precise, communicative and comfortable.

The rear suspension employs a firmer version of the Quattroporte’s five-bar multi-link system, with four aluminium suspension arms, and has achieved the conflicting targets of executive ride comfort and extreme sports performance.

The Ghibli’s suspension package is based around a fixed rate damping system to control the movement of its steel springs and anti-roll bars.

All Ghiblis are available with the option of the Skyhook adaptive damping system, where all four Skyhook dampers can now be electronically controlled independent of each other. This is a variation of the Quattroporte’s standard system, though its performance and tuning has been heavily modified to cater for the Ghibli’s more dynamic ethos.

The default mode for the optional Skyhook system prioritises comfort, and then becomes more athletic if the driver presses the suspension button. This extra damping stiffness pushes the Ghibli’s handling to even higher levels and its tune was developed in both extreme test scenarios and on the racetrack. Essentially, it drastically reduces both longitudinal and lateral load transfers and minimises body roll to bring out the sportiest side of the car’s character.

The computer system in control of the Skyhook dampers monitors an enormous array of parameters, including speed and lateral and longitudinal acceleration, individual wheel movements, body movement and damper dynamics.

Adjusting also to suit the suspension mode chosen by the driver, the system delivers the perfect damping mode for each wheel almost instantly.

Late this year, the Ghibli Diesel will be available with the option of a Sports suspension setup, which will be based around the fixed damping system rather than the optional Skyhook system.

While the architecture of the Sport suspension is unchanged, it lowers the ride height by 10 mm and uses stiffer springs and firmer, dual-rate Koni dampers that adjust to varying conditions. This is available only on these two models to counteract their slightly heavier front weight distribution (51 : 49).

WHEELS AND TYRES

Featuring 18-inch rims as standard equipment, the Ghibli is also available with 19”, 20”  or 21-inch rims as well.

While the 18’’ 19” and 20” alloys are crafted from flow-forming technology that reduces the core thickness of the wheels and prioritises light weight without sacrificing stiffness and strength.

The 21” rim is a forged alloy wheel, which also emphasises light weight and is no heavier than the 20” rim.

All the Ghibli’s rims have been designed and engineered to enhance both the visual design of the body and to lower the unsprung masses to improve grip and handling.

The 18’’ wheel rims, a 12 spoke-design, ensure a dynamic effect.

On the Ghibli and Ghibli Diesel versions they have the same 235/50 size for front and rear.

On Ghibli S they get staggered size with 235/50 at the front and 275/45 at the rear.

The 19” wheel, with its 245/45 front and 275/40 rear tyres, is geared towards reduced fuel consumption combined with low road noise and long, comfortable journeys.

The 20” wheel, with a 245/40 front tyre and a 285/35 rear tyre, is the perfect compromise between sports and comfort, while the 21” wheel, with a 245/35 front and 285/30 rear tyre combination, is focused on sports handling.

All four wheel sizes are available with Pirelli, Dunlop and Continental tyres. All wheels can be fitted with winter tyres.

The Ghibli also continuously monitors its tyre pressure with a sensor mounted inside the rim, as part of the valve. The pressure can be read off the display on the dashboard. If a tyre punctures or its pressure changes, the system notifies the driver with visual and acoustic warnings.

DIMENSIONS

The Ghibli’s three ground-breaking engines will be fitted into a wheelbase that, at 2998 mm, is 173 mm shorter than the Quattroporte’s wheelbase and an overall length that is, at 4.97 metres, 29cm shorter.

It is also 20 mm lower than the Quattroporte but the measurements that cement its visual stance as one of the most aggressive in the E-segment are its front and rear tracks. Its 1635 mm front track is actually a millimetre wider than the Quattroporte’s, while it 1653 mm rear track is six millimetres wider.

It is also 50 kg lighter than its larger sibling, with the Ghibli S weighing 1810 kg.

It carries a 500-litre luggage capacity, as well as class-leading front legroom.

BRAKES

Maserati has continued its long association with Brembo on the new Ghibli and all models feature fixed-caliper braking technology.

The brakes on the Ghibli S models are 360 mm x 32 mm ventilated and cross-drilled Dual Cast brake discs and six-piston fixed alloy Brembo calipers on the front axle. It carries over the Quattroporte’s four-piston, fixed alloy Brembo rear brake caliper.

Its brake discs continue with the Dual Cast technology pioneered by Maserati. This technology allows the weight of the cast-iron braking surface area to be offset with an alloy hat to minimise unsprung mass and the Ghibli S utilises this to stop from 100 km/h in just 36 metres.

These brakes have a large swept area, highly efficient cooling, are designed for consistent performance in sports driving situations and are oversized for the demands created by even the new Quattroporte’s extremely high performance potential.

With slightly less engine power, the Ghibli and the Ghibli diesel employ smaller 345 mm x 28 mm front brake discs with four-piston fixed calipers on the front axle and 320 mm x 22 mm discs with floating calipers at the rear. The smaller brakes don’t compromise its stopping power, though. Like the faster Ghibli S, the Ghibli and Ghibli Diesel both stop from 100 km/h in 36 metres.

But high-performance stopping power is only one measure of overall braking performance and the collaboration with Brembo also concentrated on evolving the acoustic comfort of the Ghibli ’s braking systems. As befitting the rest of the Ghibli story, the braking development reconciled the seemingly opposing goals of pure performance and pure comfort.

The Ghibli also uses an electronic parking brake, which operates on all four wheels. The ergonomically placed button on the gear lever bezel activates the brake when the car is at rest.

However, it can also act as a safety device when driving. In this case the system communicates with the stability control ECU and decelerates the car at 0.5g in full safety until released.

The brakes also operate as part of the Ghibli’s automatic hill starting system. The on-board sensors detect the vehicle's tilt when parked facing uphill, then lock the brakes for a few seconds; this gives the driver’s foot time to move from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal without the vehicle rolling back.

Besides being effectively strong, Maserati brake calipers have also always added a significant stylistic effect.

This continues with the Ghibli, with the front and rear brake calipers available in the standard classic black form, with the Maserati name in white.

These are also available in the aggressively sporting red colour, Maserati blue to lend an air of elegance, luminous silver grey.

STEERING

The Ghibli uses an all-new aluminium steering box, developed specifically for the new front-suspension geometry it shares with the Quattroporte with the goal being to deliver more feedback to the driver, more consistency at high speed and easy manoeuvring at low speed.

This allowed Maserati’s suspension engineers to deliver extreme precision combined with the steering sensitivity needed for turning into corners at high speeds.

It also has a reduced steering ratio, which delivers an agility that is rare for this class of limousine and while it is comfortable in all situations, the steering feel is geared up towards driving enjoyment.

For reasons related to customer demand, Maserati has bypassed the trend to electro-hydraulic steering systems. The Ghibli employs a speed-sensitive, servo-powered hydraulic system that prevents unpleasantly artificial assistance when the driver turns the wheel quickly.

MASERATI STABILITY PROGRAMME

Maserati drivers have long known the benefits of the Maserati Stability Programme (MSP) and the Ghibli’s system has evolved and improved even from the new Quattroporte.

Developed in the most extreme of test circumstances, the MSP uses a wide array of sensors to detect any need to intervene on the driver’s behalf.

MSP adds a layer of security on top of the Ghibli’s inherent chassis stability that helps drivers enjoy anxiety-free handling under all driving conditions.

MSP constantly measures the car’s handling and grip and combines a host of safety and performance systems to maintain the car’s ideal handling stance.

Two of the bigger keys to the MSP’s operation are the engine and the brakes. If skidding is detected, the MSP reduces the engine’s torque output and can actuate the brakes with minute, finely varied inputs to restore the car’s stability within milliseconds.

The other key systems that make up MSP include:


  • ABS, which stops the wheels locking up under brakes, thereby maintaining steering control at all times.
  • EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution), to distribute braking force between the front and rear axles to prevent rear-wheel lock up.
  • ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation) stops the driven wheels from spinning in low-grip situations.
  • MSR prevents the driven wheels from locking up when downshifting on low-grip surfaces. It does this by measuring the speed of the driven wheels against the speed of the free wheels and accelerating the driven wheels slightly if needed.
  • BAS (Brake Apply Sensor) uses a variety of sensors to recognise panic or emergency braking situations and increases the pressure in the braking circuit.
  • Hill Holder. Automatically connects to the braking system to prevent roll back when the car moves away from rest on hills.

SAFETY

The new Ghibli’s passive safety equipment has been designed to achieve both maximum peace of mind for its occupants and to achieve five stars on the Euro NCAP crash test regime, all without compromising its weight or fuel consumption.

Maserati has balanced these conflicting demands by using hot-formed steels in critical areas of the passenger compartment for added occupant safety, while using aluminium in other areas to save weight.

In particular, the front of the passenger compartment (the pillars and under-door mouldings) features hot-moulded steel components, with a magnesium dashboard strut to save weight, while the rear is stiffened with high strength steel.

The crash bars at the front and rear of the car are made of extruded aluminium, while the doors, engine compartment, mudguards and luggage compartment are in aluminium.

Maserati’s engineers added a third crash load path to the front structure of the car to help dissipate load and distribute the forces on the car to guarantee the stability of the body structure in frontal impacts.

The US versions contain a roof reinforcement to account for US NCAP’s particular roof crush and lateral impact tests and the car also has reinforcements added to it rear longitudinal beams to comply with the US rear impact standard.

The New Ghibli is equipped with a seven-airbag system and anti-whiplash front headrest to provide maximum occupant safety.

AIRBAG

At the front, two-stage airbags are concealed from the occupants inside the steering wheel and dashboard to protect the head in frontal accidents while a knee airbag protects the driver’s legs and reduces the femur load in crash situations.

The chest and hips of the front occupants are further protected by the side airbags beneath the seat leather.



The sides of the occupants’ heads are protected by two head “curtain” bags mounted in the roof of the car, next to the B-pillar. The “curtain” bag protects the heads of the front and rear occupants against lateral impact.





SEATBELT FEATURES

The front seats are brimming with safety equipment designed to reduce trauma to the occupant's cervical vertebrae.

If the car is involved in a rear-end accident, its active headrests automatically reduce the distance between their surface and the passenger's head.

The front three-point seatbelts are equipped with load-limiting pyrotechnic pre-tensioners, which trip in a collision to hold the passengers securely and prevent or minimise injury.

The front seatbelts are fitted with height adjusters; properly adjusting the height of the seatbelts to the occupant's height, which is not only more comfortable but also improves the safety function of the device.

REAR VIEW CAMERA

The rear-view parking camera on the new Ghibli makes manoeuvring and reversing safer and more comfortable.

Installed next to the luggage compartment’s release button, it views the area behind the car, and shows the resulting colour image on the 8.4” MTC display. The system works together with the standard parking sensors and sounds an acoustic warning as it approaches obstacles behind the car.

LIGHTING

Part of the reason the Ghibli’s exterior design is so distinctive is, in part, due to its use of Bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights.

The LED tail light assembly is also highly innovative, providing excellent visibility with the style and safety essential to this class of car.

HEADLIGHTS

While the Ghibli and the Ghibli Diesel get standard bi-xenon headlights, the Ghibli S adds an Automatic Front Lighting System (AFS, available as option also on Ghibli and Ghibli Diesel), which actively adjusts the headlight depth to combine an outstanding view of the road with very low glare for oncoming traffic. The bi-xenon headlights combine technology and style, with all of its secondary functions entirely provided by LED.

Each headlight includes LED daytime running lights, with a light shape that provides instant recognisability in both day and night running. Each light also contains direction indicators, LED side position lights and a side reflector.

With a video camera mounted in front of the rear-view mirror, the lighting system offers a beam control specifically for motorway driving which increases the depth of the light beam without the need for manual high beam activation.

Sensors monitor the driving style and speed and if the road is clear, the beam depth offers the greatest depth and width, combined with the directional rotation of the headlights themselves.

In addition, there are four different automatic lighting setups: for city driving, for motorway conditions, for low visibility and for driving on the opposite side of the road in applicable countries. Each of these modes automatically activates a strategy to best illuminate the road surface.

The Town Beam turns on below 45km/h and sets the beam wider and shallower, giving a better view for turning and for peripheral danger zones while causing minimum disturbance for fellow road users.

There is also a Rain Beam, which begins when the windscreen wipers operate. The individual beams are set to different levels to minimise reflections, while the outer beams are set wider and higher to make the Ghibli more visible to other road users.

Note: In the USA and Canada, cars are not equipped with the AFS function. They retain the automatic depth and rotation control functions. The beam rotation function and the four AFS functions may be deactivated via the menu in the European Union, while in the USA, only the beam rotation function may be deactivated in this way.

TAIL LIGHTS

The Ghibli’s taillights have been designed to offer maximum visibility and to have a recognisable style. These LED lights integrate the position light function in an illuminated ring running right around the tail light itself. Inside this ring are the brake lights, the direction indicators, reversing lights and fog lights. The outside reflector and LED side position lights round off the unit.

INTERIOR

Inside, the Ghibli sets itself apart from the Quattroporte with its own dashboard design that perfectly meets the buyer’s need for a sportier and youthful experience without losing any of the luxury expected in a Maserati.

Its layout provides the standard fine Poltrona Frau leather finish that is the envy of the rest of the premium and luxury contenders. Uniquely, it combines this with the ability to choose two leather trims for the dashboard.

The interior of the new Ghibli unites refined, clean styling with high technology and a timeless sporting character.

Even with its aggressive, coupe-like silhouette, the Ghibli manages to deliver typical executive saloon rear head room without the compromises people have to accept in other coupe-like premium saloons.

The clever interior packaging has also allowed Maserati to deliver  split folding rear seatsthat fold at 40% and 500 litres of luggage capacity, along with a spacious centre console compartment, large door pockets and a large and ventilated glovebox.

The standard driver’s seat delivers six-way electronic adjustment and leather trim, while Maserati also offers two higher levels of leather trim as options.

The Ghibli S models use an even more supportive seat with eight-way electric adjustment, while there is an optional electric adjustment system to move the pedal box up and down. The drivers preferred seat, lumbar and mirror settings can all be saved, then recalled at the touch of a single button.

A large central tunnel splits the front seats and contains two cup holders as well as a 12V power socket, while its console houses a compartment for mobile phones as well as USB and Aux-in connections for external devices.

The longitudinally split console lid doubles as the armrest for the front occupants, with each half springing open to reveal two additional cup holders and another 12 Volt power socket. (There are additional 12 Volt power sockets alongside the gear shifter, in the rear armrest and in the luggage area.) The console also has its own air vent to allow the air conditioning to cool its contents.

The Ghibli’s rear seats are similarly plush, with the two outer seats particularly designed for lasting comfort as well as strong lateral support and are equipped with ISOFIX fittings to securely anchor child seats.

The seats have a foldable central armrest, which doubles as a fifth seat when necessary and houses two cup holders and a storage box.

“The interior design achieves elegant simplicity, with clean lines and user-friendly instrumentation,” Mr Ramaciotti said.

“The functional features are camouflaged to allow the attention to focus on the soft curvaceous surfaces of the dashboard and the central tunnel,” he said.

Like all Maseratis, the Ghibli’s interior is built around a driver interface that is intuitive and simple to use. The instrument cluster features a large speedometer and a large tachometer that flank a 7” TFT display for many of the car’s operational features.

Many of the vehicle's settings are oriented towards the driver and are controlled with the buttons alongside the gear shifter, while other on-board settings can be set by the driver via the Maserati Touch Control (MTC) at the centre of the dashboard.

The Ghibli S standard equipment includes leather seats, wood trim,  eight-way electrically adjustable front seats , dual-zone climate controlled air conditioning and active cruise control, with Bi-Xenon Adaptive Front Headlights System, and fixed braking callipers.

Maserati also provides an exceptional degree of personalisation with a vast range of materials for the client to choose from, including wood, carbon fibre, leather, Alcantara ceiling and numerous optional choices.

Some key features include:

MASERATI TOUCH CONTROL (MTC)

By utilising the MTC’s 8.4" Touch Screen display, the user can control almost all of the Ghibli’s on-board equipment simply and intuitively.

The system includes features like the radio, navigator and DVD player. It can also have the Bluetooth connection for telephones to connect to external sources like cell phones and Apple devices.

Using its Aux-in, USB sockets or the SD card reader, the user can play music, watch films or even view images.

Its menus have options to configure the car's main settings and the system's various menus are always available from the icons displayed at the bottom of the screen.

The MTC also controls the front seat heating and ventilation, the steering wheel heating and the operation of the optional rear window shade, as well as providing the screen for the reversing camera.

CRUISE CONTROL AND SPEED LIMITER

An active cruise control system is standard on the new Ghibli. The controls for this system are mounted on the steering wheel and the speed is displayed on the instrument panel display. The cruise control is active: when driving up or downhill, the car accelerates or decelerates on descents to maintain the speed setting.

A new addition to this system is the Active Speed Limiter function, which allows drivers to set a maximum speed to prevent accidental over speeding.

Activated and deactivated via button on the steering wheel, the system is simple to use and can be over-ridden by the driver in urgent situations by pushing the accelerator pedal through its “kick down”.

WI-FI HOTSPOT

The new Ghibli contains optional WLAN technology that effectively turns it into a rolling Wi-Fi HotSpot.

Owners can place a SIM card into its WLAN router to receive Internet signals, which can be resent around the car as a wireless Internet signal.

Up to three devices, such as laptops, cellular phones or tablets, can be connected simultaneously. The system supports HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE and GSM.

AUDIO

The New Ghibli’s standard audio system gives outstanding power and sound quality, based around eight speakers driven by the head unit. Additionally, there is the option of a premium sound system, with 10 speakers and a 600 Watt amplifier.

Above this is the optional Bowers & Wilkins Premium Surround Sound system, with 15 speakers, a 1280 Watt amplifier and a perfect configuration of the QuantumLogic™ Surround Sound required long and very demanding sound engineering studies.

The result is a system that perfectly reproduces every nuance of the sound, with a dynamic purity at the highest level, for total realism and delivers a completely new level of music enjoyment on the road.

As the QuantumLogic™ Surround Sound system processes each track; individual elements of the track, including musical instruments, voices and the interior's reverb, are identified, separated and processed into a surround sound field which is exceptionally realistic and precise and gives a crystalline, perfectly defined audio image.

It features a central 100 mm Kevlar cone for midrange sound and three 25 mm tweeters at the centre and sides of the dashboard. The front doors house a 165 mm woofer and 100 mm Kevlar cone midrange speaker, while the rear doors each carry a 165 mm Kevlar woofer and 25 mm tweeter. The rear shelf has two 100 mm Kevlar midranges and a 350 x 200 mm subwoofer.

CLEVER KEY

Incorporating Keyless Go technology, the body of the new Ghibli’s key is made from polished aluminium and looks and feels heavy, elegant and confidently technical.

When the car is locked, it is enough to keep the key in a pocket or a handbag and simply open the car by pulling on the door handle or luggage compartment button. This way, there is no need to always find the key to push a button to open the car.

WINDOWS

The new Ghibli is intended to be not only safe and technically superb, but also comfortable.

Because of the large door window areas, the Ghibli can be supplied with double laminated acoustic glass on the windows too (the windscreen is already equipped).

All this adds up to reduced external noise and excellent temperature stability, along with more robust windows, all of which increases the occupants' comfort and safety.

In addition, the all three rear windows can be fitted with darkened glass for greater privacy

CLIMATE CONTROL SYSTEM

The automatic climate control operates on a dual-zone system and delivers huge amounts of air through 13 ventilation ports.

Four of its ventilation ports are in the rear of the car and it balances its output through a sunlight sensor to provide outstanding levels of comfort and the seamless maintenance of the chosen temperature.

There are separate temperature adjustment functions for the driver and the passenger, which can be controlled through the MTC or via a physical control panel under the screen.

This power is driven by a variable-displacement compressor that is electronically controlled to ensure that its operation matches perfectly to the exact demands from the car’s occupants.

A wide array of sensors help the system to maintain its internal environment, including a humidity sensor that governs the flow from the defrosting and demisting ports and the sunlight sensor that regulates the temperature of the air from the ports that cancel the effects of the sunlight and outside temperature.

The system has 13 ventilation ports: a demister on the windscreen, four outlets on the dashboard, two on the joint between the front pillars and upper door surround, two at the feet of the front occupants, two central ports on rear unit and two more at the feet of the rear occupants.

QUALITY

The programs for the new Quattroporte and Ghibli ushered in a new era of extreme quality at Maserati.

This push starts from the ground up, with a complete refurbishment of its factory near Torino and continues all the way through to testing every single Ghibli as it emerges from the production line.

It also came to the fore during the development of the Ghibli, with an intensive reliability program that included:


  • More than six million test kilometres with a fleet of more than 90 Ghiblis
  • Hundreds of thousands of additional test kilometres to validate any upgrades
  • Testing in extreme heat in South Africa and Morocco
  • Testing in extreme cold in Sweden and New Zealand
  • Testing every single component for endurance, quality and noise
  • Severe process control, including four in Body-in-White, three in painting, four in the assembly process, plus additional electronics, dynamometer and water testing
  • A total of more than 700 control checks for each car in production
  • Every finished Ghibli has a final, 30-minute quality audit before being delivered to the customer
  • Every finished Ghibli is tested on-road for 60 km before it is delivered to the customer.