Maserati Biturbo

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Maserati Biturbo
Maserati 222E 2.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Maserati
Production 1981–1994
Assembly Modena, Italy
Designer Pierangelo Andreani
Zagato (Spyder)
Body and chassis
Class Sports / Luxury
Body style 2-door coupé
4-door sedan
2-door cabriolet
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 2.0 L twin-turbo V6
2.5 L twin-turbo V6
2.8 L twin-turbo V6
Transmission 5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,514 mm (99.0 in) (Coupé)
2,600 mm (102.4 in) (Sedan, 228)
2,400 mm (94.5 in) (Spyder)
Length 415 cm (163.4 in) (Coupé)
440 cm (173.2 in) (Sedan)
404 cm (159.1 in) (Spyder)
445 cm (175.2 in) (228)
Width 171 cm (67.3 in) (Coupé, Spyder)
173 cm (68.1 in) (Sedan)
186 cm (73.2 in) (228)
Height 131 cm (51.6 in) (Coupé, Spyder, 228)
136 cm (53.5 in) (Sedan)
Chronology
Predecessor Maserati Merak
Successor Ghibli II and Quattroporte IV

The Maserati Biturbo (Tipo 116, 331, 332) is a sports car introduced by Maserati in 1981. The Biturbo is 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, an engineer from the De Tomaso team, somewhat influenced by the design of the newer Quattroporte III (Italdesign Giugiaro), as can be observed on the front fascia.

All Maserati models from the Biturbo's introduction in 1981 until 1997 (except the Quattroporte III) were based on the original Biturbo architecture, among them the four-door 420/425 and 4.24v, the Spyder, the Karif, the 228 and 2.24v, the Maserati Racing and the later Shamal and Ghibli II, as well as Maserati Barchetta which used an ultimate version of the V6 engine.

History[edit]

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.[1] De Tomaso later sold Maserati to Fiat, who grouped the company with their erstwhile rival Ferrari.

Export versions came initially with a 2.5 L V6, after 1989 it was enlarged to 2.8 litres, while for Italy the two-litre version was the biggest seller (to avoid the 38% sales tax imposed at the time on cars displacing more than 2000 cc). The aluminum 90-degree SOHC V6 engine was roughly based on the 2.0 L Merak engine, itself based on earlier V8 Formula One Maserati engines, designed by Giulio Alfieri (1924–2002). The carbureted 2.5L engine produced 185 hp (138 kW) and 208 lb·ft (282 N·m) of torque in North American spec and slightly more elsewhere. Fuel injection was fitted in 1987 raising power to 187 hp (139 kW). In 1989 the 2.8L engine bumped power to 225 hp (168 kW) and 246 lb·ft (334 N·m) of torque for North America and 250 hp (186 kW) for Europe.

The Biturbo is number 28 in the BBC book of "Crap Cars" and in 2007 was selected as Time Magazine's worst car of 1984, although they ranked the Chrysler TC by Maserati as a "greater ignominy".[2]

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).

Biturbo/222[edit]

Maserati Biturbo (North America)
Maserati Biturbo S in Alberobello, Italy.
1994 Maserati 222 SR

The first Biturbo version was introduced in December 1981 as a two-door coupé. In 1987 the carburetted engines were replaced with fuel injected units; power increased across the range, albeit at some loss of throttle response. The tainted Biturbo name disappeared when the car was significantly redesigned in 1988, with a more rounded design. After 1994 the two-door Biturbo was again significantly reworked and became the Ghibli II.

In 1984 the Italian market received the sporting Biturbo S model - thanks to twin intercoolers and increased turbo boost, power was up from 180 to 205 PS (132 to 151 kW) at 6500 rpm. The S also received two NACA ducts in the bonnet, black rims and a lower half painted black.[3] Starting with the Biturbo S and the 425, the Biturbo also received a new instrument cluster in 1984.

Later Biturbo coupés had new name, 222, meaning 2-door, 2-litre engine and 2nd generation.

Versions:

Model Years Engine Displacement Power Fuel system Notes Units
Biturbo 1981–85 V6 ohc 1995 cc 180 hp carburetor, turbo Only Italy 9206
Biturbo E 1983–85 V6 ohc 2491 cc 185 hp carburetor, turbo 4577
Biturbo S 1983–86 V6 ohc 1995 cc 205 hp carburetor, turbo Only Italy 1038
Biturbo ES 1984–85 V6 ohc 2491 cc 205 hp carburetor, turbo 1480
Biturbo II 1985–87 V6 ohc 1995 cc 180 hp carburetor, turbo Only Italy (Biturbo)
Biturbo S 2.5 1984–88 V6 ohc 2491 cc 196 hp carburetor, turbo Catalysator (Biturbo ES)
Biturbo E II 2.5 1985–87 V6 ohc 2491 cc 185 hp carburetor, turbo Catalysator (Biturbo E)
Biturbo S II 1985–86 V6 ohc 1995 cc 210 hp carburetor, turbo Only Italy (Biturbo S)
Biturbo i 1986–90 V6 ohc 1995 cc 188 hp Fuel injection, turbo Only Italy 683
Biturbo Si 1986–88 V6 ohc 1995 cc 220 hp Fuel injection, turbo Only Italy 992
Biturbo Si Black 1986–88 V6 ohc 1995 cc 220 hp Fuel injection, turbo Only Italy 450
Biturbo Si 2.5 1987–91 V6 ohc 2491 cc 188 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator 430
2.24V 1988–92 V6 dohc 1996 cc 245 hp Fuel injection, turbo Only Italy 1147
222 1988–90 V6 ohc 1996 cc 220 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator, Only Italy 1156
222 E 1988–90 V6 ohc 2790 cc 250 hp Fuel injection, turbo 722
1988–93 V6 ohc 2790 cc 225 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator
222 SE 1990–91 V6 ohc 2790 cc 250 hp Fuel injection, turbo 210
1990–91 V6 ohc 2790 cc 225 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalytic converter in US (225 bhp)
2.24V II 1991–93 V6 dohc 1996 cc 240 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator, Only Italy 254
222 SR 1991–93 V6 ohc 2790 cc 225 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator (222 SE)
222 4v 1991–94 V6 dohc 2790 cc 279 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator 130
Racing 1991–92 V6 dohc 1996 cc 285 hp Fuel injection, turbo 230[4]

Racing[edit]

A 1991 Racing at Magny-Cours

The Maserati Racing (Tipo 331) is a more sporting version of the Biturbo produced by Maserati from 1991 to 1992. It was first revealed to the press in December 1990. Built only in 230 copies, this car was dedicated to the Italian market. Later, several units could be found exported across Europe (France, Sweden, Danmark, Germany and the Netherlands). Limited documentation was available, which made homologation in some countries (still) a huge administrative challenge. The Racing was essentially a variant of the 2.24v. with a higher power output, and was meant as an intermediate model underneath the more aggressive Shamal.[4]

Maserati Racing engine

In the chassis the lower tunable electronic KONI shock absorbers allowed for selection among four settings according to the level of comfort or road handling required at the flick of a switch. This is combined with a manual five-speed gearbox from Getrag and a limited slip differential "Ranger" from Maserati but suspected to use Quaife technology.

The new front fascia used new ellipsoid headlights developed by Magneti-Marelli. Marcello Gandini, the Shamal's designer, developed an aerodynamic kit that included a front spoiler, windshield wiper spoiler, rear spoiler, and side skirts. The choice of colour of the Racing was limited to red or black. Inside, the only change was the wood paneling that has been painted dark grey (carbon fiber grey).

Engine

Combined with new settings on the two engine controllers from Magneti-Marelli, in charge of the ignition, the fuel injection and the turbo boost management, this allowed the power to increase to 283 hp (211 kW; 287 PS) at 6250 rpm with a specific output 142 hp/l. The torque is 37.3 kg·m (365.8 N·m; 269.8 lb·ft) already at 3500 rpm, peaking at 38.1 kg·m (373.6 N·m; 275.6 lb·ft) at 4250 rpm. This engine is coded AM 490 in the Maserati engine reference book. The engine has been made compatible with lead-free gasoline. Induction consists of two IHI water-cooled turbos with two air-to-air intercoolers. Changes from the 2.24v's engine include a new, lighter crankshaft, new exhaust valves (sodium filled for improved heat dissipation), new combustion chambers, new lighter conrods, new lighter forged aluminum pistons, and new IHI turbochargers.

Suspension is similar to the regular Biturbo: At the front MacPherson struts, dual-rate telescopic dampers, coil springs, anti-roll bar and four position electronic adaptive damping. Semi-trailing rear arms mounted on a rear subframe, coil springs, dual-rate pressurised telescopic dampers and four position electronic adaptive damping at the rear.

  • Max. speed: 256 km/h (159 mph)[5]
  • 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph): 5.9 s.[5]
  • 0–1,000 m (0.00–0.62 mi): 25.60 s.[5]

228[edit]

Maserati 228 (non-standard wheels)

The Maserati 228 (Tipo 334) is a two-door, 5-seater notchback coupé model, targeting the same markets as had earlier bought 3500 GTs and Mexicos. The 228 was introduced at the 1986 Turin Motor Show, while it's 4-valve prototype was presented back in December 1984. It uses the longer four-door chassis and the bigger 2.8-litre biturbo engine combined with a two-door coupé bodywork with a more luxurious interior than the usual two-door cars. 469 examples of the 228 were built up until 1992. 228 name means 2-door and 2.8l engine.

Versions:

Model Years Engine Displacement Power Fuel system Notes Units
228 1986–92 V6 ohc 2790 cc 250 PS (184 kW) Fuel injection, turbo 469
1986–92 V6 ohc 2790 cc 225 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator

420/425/430[edit]

Maserati Biturbo: A four-door variant was introduced in 1983
Maserati 430

Two years after the Biturbo's introduction a four-door family version was unveiled. This version has a longer wheelbase, 2.6 metres (100 in). While similar in appearance, only the nose was the same as for the shorter coupé. All the bodywork behind the front windshield is specific to the four-door model. The weight penalty for the sedan is about 100 kg (220 lb).[6] Originally only built with the 2.5 liter engine (as the 425), the two-liter 420 model was added for the Italian market in 1985. In 1986, due to the popularity of the 420, Maserati produced a limited number of the more powerful 420S. The 420S sported improved handling and another intercooler.[7]

In 1984 the 425 (as well as the two-door Biturbo S) received a new dashboard. The four-door Biturbo range was replaced in 1994 with the Maserati Quattroporte IV.

Versions:

Model Years Engine Displacement Power Fuel system Notes Units
425 1983–89 V6 ohc 2491 cc 200 hp carburetor, turbo 2372
425i 1987–89 V6 ohc 2491 cc 188 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator (425)
420 1985–86 V6 ohc 1995 cc 185 hp carburetor, turbo Only Italy 2810
420i 1986–88 V6 ohc 1995 cc 185 hp Fuel injection, turbo 1124
420 S 1985–87 V6 ohc 1995 cc 210 hp carburetor, turbo Only Italy 254
420 Si 1986–88 V6 ohc 1995 cc 220 hp Fuel injection, turbo 524
430 1987–94 V6 ohc 2790 cc 225 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator 995
422 1988–92 V6 ohc 1996 cc 220 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator 978
4.18v 1990–92 V6 ohc 1995 cc 220 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator 77
4.24v 1990–92 V6 dohc 1996 cc 245 hp Fuel injection, turbo Only Italy 384
4.24v II 1991–93 V6 dohc 1996 cc 240 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator 490
430 4v 1991–93 V6 dohc 2790 cc 279 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator 291

Spyder[edit]

1987 Maserati Biturbo Spyder (US)

The Spyder (Tipo 333) version was introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1984. The car was designed and built by Zagato, their first work for Maserati since the A6G/2000 of thirty years earlier.[8] Also Carrozzeria Embo was commissioned to develop a four-seater cabriolet version of the Biturbo, but this never made it into production. The Spyder version has a shorter wheelbase, 2.4 metres (94 in). Still, since it is a strict two-seater with folding rear seats, the luggage space is larger than in the original Biturbo.[8] On this shorter chassis the sporty hardtop Karif was later developed. Overall 3,076 were built over a ten-year period, setting a production record for Maserati Spyders. Third series Spyder was the only 2.8l that didn't get an 4-valve head upgrade, unlike 430 4v or 222 4v.

Versions:

Model Years Engine Displacement Power Fuel system Notes Units
Spyder 2.0 1984–88 V6 ohc 1,996 cc 180 hp carburetor Only Italy 276
Spyder 2.5 1984–88 V6 ohc 2,491 cc 192 hp carburetor, turbo Catalysator 1,049
Spyder 2.0i 1986–88 V6 ohc 1,996 cc 185 hp Fuel injection, turbo 297
Spyder 2.5i 1988–89 V6 ohc 2,491 cc 188 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator (Spyder 2.5)
Spyder 2.0i 1989–91 V6 ohc 1,996 cc 220 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator, Only Italy 122
Spyder 2.8i 1989–91 V6 ohc 2,790 cc 250 hp Fuel injection, turbo 603
1989–91 V6 ohc 2,790 cc 225 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator
Spyder III 2.0 1991–94 V6 dohc 1,996 cc 245 hp Fuel injection, turbo Only Italy 309
1991–94 V6 dohc 1,996 cc 240 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator, Only Italy 200
Spyder III 2.8 1991–94 V6 ohc 2,790 cc 225 hp Fuel injection, turbo Catalysator 220

Biturbo engines[edit]

The Maserati Biturbo was the first ever production twin-turbocharged engine. The 2-litre version featured wet aluminium sleeves coated with Nikasil. The last street version featured over 150 hp/litre and 140 ft·lbf (190 N·m)/litre torque.

A V6 1996 cc DOHC 36-valve (6 valves per cylinder) engine was developed but never manufactured.[9]

Series Displacement Head Fuel system Model
AM 452 1,995 cc 18 valves carburetor Biturbo, Biturbo S
AM 453 2,491 cc 18 valves carburetor Biturbo 2500
AM 470 1,995 cc 18 valves injection Biturbo i
AM 471 1,995 cc 18 valves injection Si, 222, 4.18v, Spyder
AM 472 2,491 cc 18 valves injection Biturbo 2.5i
AM 473 2,790 cc 18 valves injection 430, 222 SR, Spyder III 2.8, Karif
AM 475 1,995 cc 24 valves injection 2.24v, 4.24v, Spyder III 2.0
AM 490 1,996 cc 24 valves injection Racing, Barchetta Stradale
AM 495 1,996 cc 24 valves injection Ghibli II
AM 496 1,996 cc 24 valves injection Ghibli Cup
AM 477 2,790 cc 24 valves injection 222 4V, 430 4V, Ghibli II
AM 501 1,996 cc 24 valves injection Barchetta Corsa

Reputation[edit]

The Maserati Biturbo has been renowned for being one of the worst Maseratis ever made, being slow, ugly and bad at cornering. On the other hand from the intercooler versions on the engines were reliable, strong and if maintained well, the cars were reliable, too. [10] Jeremy Clarkson destroyed a Biturbo on Top Gear Season 6 Episode 2.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heitz, Rudolf, ed. (1985-08-01). Auto Katalog 1986 (in German) 29. Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG. p. 104. 81530/85001. 
  2. ^ Neil, Dan (2007). The 50 Worst Cars of All Time: 1984 Maserati Biturbo. Time Magazine. 
  3. ^ Perini, Giancarlo (September 1984). "Maserati on the offensive". In Cropley, Steve. Car (London, UK: FF Publishing): 88. 
  4. ^ a b "Racing - 1991 to 1992". About us: Heritage. Maserati. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  5. ^ a b c "Maserati Racing". maserati-alfieri.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  6. ^ Perini, p. 89
  7. ^ Reark, Jim. "Maserati 420/420S". Maserati Club of Australia. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  8. ^ a b World Cars 1985. Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books. 1985. p. 40. ISBN 0-910714-17-7. 
  9. ^ "The 6:36 'Hi-Tech' Engine". Enrico's Maserati Pages. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  10. ^ http://www.streetfire.net/video/top-gear-season-6-episode-2-all-rightsbbc-uk_2197778.htm

External links[edit]