By: Jason Woosey

Maserati tantalised us with the first pictures of its new Ghibli earlier this month, along with a few scraps of information, but its performance figures and other technical details remained a state secret until the saloon's official unveiling at the Shanghai Motor Show this past weekend.

Stacking up against sedans like the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF, the Ghibli offers three turbocharged V6 engine options, one of which is Maserati's first-ever diesel offering.

YES, THERE’S A DIESEL

The latter has a 3-litre common-rail direct injection V6 turbodiesel motor that pushes 202kW and 600Nm - enough to get it from 0-100km/h in just 6.3 seconds, according to Maserati's test figures. In the opposite driving scenario, the oil burner should return combined consumption figures of around six litres per 100km.

But diesel clatter in a Maser? Well, the company aims to get the sound equation right with what it calls the Active Sound system, which uses two sound actuators near the tail pipes to accentuate the engine's "most distinctive tones."

TWIN-TURBO V6

Yet if petrol is your poison, there are two Ferrari-built twin-turbocharged V6 engines to choose from, both with a three-litre cubic capacity but with differing outputs.

The top engine is good for 301kW at 5500rpm and 550Nm from 1750rpm, and is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive formats; in the latter guise it'll allegedly dart to 100 in just 4.8 seconds and reach 285km/h.

The 'entry-level' engine is credited with 243kW and 500Nm and will get to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds. Maserati's info pack mentions an eight-speed automatic gearbox, although it's not clear whether this is fitted to all models.

SKYHOOK, LSD

Hit the twisties in any of the versions and you'll appreciate its double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, which is available with Maserati's Skyhook system. The Ghibli is also the first car in its class to offer a mechanical limited slip differential as standard across the range.

Our contact at Maserati's local agent, Viglietti Motors, says that the Ghibli is definitely coming to South Africa. No word on the timing as yet, but it is likely to reach our shores by the end of this year.