Friday 17 November 2017
The Maserati Biturbo was a family of luxury sports cars, saloons and grand tourers produced by Maserati between 1981 and 1994. The original Biturbo was a two-door, four-seater notchback coupé (of somewhat smaller dimensions than the BMW 3 Series of the time) featuring, as the name implies, a two-litre V6 engine with two turbochargers and a luxurious interior. The car was designed by Pierangelo Andreani, Chief of Centro Stile Maserati up to 1981, somewhat influenced by the design of the recent Quattroporte III (Italdesign Giugiaro).
All Maserati models introduced from the Biturbo's inception in 1981 until 1997 were based on the original Biturbo architecture. Among them the coupés as the 2.24v. and the Racing, saloons as the 420, 425 and 430, the convertible Spyder, the Karif, the 228, the later grand tourers like Shamal and Ghibli II, as well as the Maserati Barchetta which used an ultimate version of the biturbo V6 engine.
When Alejandro de Tomaso acquired Maserati in 1976, he had ambitious plans for the marque. His plan was to combine the prestige of the Maserati brand with a sports car that would be more affordable than the earlier high-priced models that had traditionally made up the Maserati range. In fact, Maserati ceased making supercars like the ones developed under Citroën ownership altogether, like the Bora and Khamsin.
The Biturbo was initially a strong seller and brought Italian prestige to a wide audience, with sales of about 40,000 units. Sales figures fell in subsequent years. De Tomaso also used another of his companies, Innocenti, to produce Biturbo body panels and also to provide final assembly of Biturbos. De Tomaso later sold Maserati to Fiat, who grouped the company with their erstwhile rival Ferrari.
The Biturbo is number 28 in the BBC book Crap Cars and in 2007 was selected as Time's worst car of 1984, although they ranked the Chrysler TC by Maserati as a "greater ignominy".
The Biturbo competed unsuccessfully in the British Touring Car Championship in the late 1980s, the European Touring Car Championship and the World Touring Car Championship (1987).
The first four-door Biturbo introduced was the 425 (1983–86), equipped with the "export" 2.5 litre engine. In 1984 the 425 (along with the two-door models) received a new dashboard. Two years later a two-litre version of the 425, the 420 (1985–86), was added for the domestic market, together with the more powerful 420 S. The 420 S sported improved handling, the twin intercooled engine and the same aesthetic accoutrements of the Biturbo S: dark finish trim, two-tone paint, two-tone wheels and NACA ducts on the bonnet, delivering fresh air to the intercoolers. Like their two-door siblings in 1986 the saloons were updated with the Weber fuel injection, thus spawning the 425 i (1986–89), 420 i (1985–87) and 420 Si (1985–87). The latter featured a somewhat more restrained styling than its predecessor.
- engine: V6
- capacity: 1996 cc
- horsepower: 180 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 215 km/h