The Maserati Biturbo
Biturbo models available on the UK market

My sincere thanks to Phil Ward, editor of Auto Italia, for his kind permission to reproduce part of the article and some of  the photos that first appeared in the April 1999 issue of this excellent magazine.



Produced from 1982 to 1985. Made in left-hand drive and, for the UK, in right-hand drive by special order only. The 2-litre twin cam engine with 3-valves per cylinder produced 182bhp and the car sported 5.5" alloy wheels. The engine was fitted with two IHI turbochargers feeding a single Weber carburettor sealed in a plenum chamber. This model had no water-cooled turbos or MABC boost control. Note that the original Biturbo Coupe had a rectangular plastic instrument pod and a digital clock. Available with leather or Missioni velour interior. 2-door bodywork only.


Produced from 1986 to 1989. In reality a four-door Coupe, but  with a longer wheelbase and a slightly raised roof-line for the rear passengers. Same engine with MABC boost control, 6.5J rims and the added option of cloth interior. First model with full central locking. Early models with optional power steering and a smaller thermostat housing.



Produced from 1986 to 1989. It's the one that everyone calls a 'Biturbo'. This model was the first to be imported into the UK in any quantity. Power steering with the elliptical fascia and the Lassale clock. Cam covers painted in crackle black and the car was available with an automatic gearbox. Different 6J wheels from the original Biturbo and along with the 425, the first car to use the 2.5-litre 3-valve twin-cam engine producing 192bhp.


The first convertible model. Prototype by EMBO seen at the Turin show back in 1982. Shorter wheelbase than the Coupe, so there were three different chassis in production at once. No proper rear seats but removable cushions made it a 2 + 2. Leather upholstery only. The car shown here has 425 wheels.



A four door saloon based on the 425 body. Same mechanics as the 222E but with more luxury touches such as electric driver's seat. The front grille now had a sportier look. The twin exhaust now replaced with four tail pipes. Engine capacity up to 2790cc.


Produced from 1989 to 1991. This was a two-door utilising the 2.8-litre 3-valve twin cam engine for the first time. Intercoolers were standard. This unit came with red crackled cam covers and produced 245bhp with the all new Weber Marelli injection and ignition system. It had lowered uprated suspension and now used 7J five-studded wheels. Touch sensitive air condition controls (see 430), a new look front end and four tailpipe exhaust standardised.



Same generation as the 430 and 222E. An uprated Biturbo Spyder with 222E 2.8 power unit and 7J wheels which were slightly different to closed cars.


The Karif was in fact a Spyder E with a fixed hardtop and a better interior. This is a much underrated car with superb performance from its engine which delivers power outputs from 224 bhp to 286 bhp depending on specification. Only a few examples of this model were made so potentially a good investment?



And now something completely different! The 228 was in production between 1989 and 1991. At first glance it is similar to a 222E but is in fact a larger car all round. No shared panels. Lights and fittings are unique. Still with a 2.8-litre unit, it was intended to be the flagship of the range - an attempt to poach the Mercedes S customers. About 30 cars were imported into the UK.


The SE produced from 1991 to  1993. The establishment of Meridien Maserati coincided with a facelift across the range and the first new imports by the company were the 'SE' version as they were called - the 222SE, 430SE, Spyder SE and the Karif SE. These cars were identical to their predecessors except for a few bodywork changes such as exhausts exiting through the rear bumper and additional fog-lamps and side skirts.


222 4V, 430 4V

All change again. New engine developed with 4-valve heads and four camshafts, but still 2.8-litres. Power up to 250bhp. Face-lifted front identical on all three models but the factory decided that the short wheelbase Spyder chassis could not handle the extra power from the new engine, so it retained the 3-valve motor and power dropped to 225bhp.


These versions were the first to have catalysts and the spare wheels were replaced with a can of foam. A differential oil cooler was fitted and a new gearbox replaced the dogleg first with a normal pattern. Maybe 10 of each were sold in the UK. Confusingly 'SR' versions of the two and four door cars were also available concurrently using the 3-valve Spyder motor but all the other 4v updates. The Karif was dropped from the range.



Produced from 1992 to 1995. The first sign that the Biturbo era was moving on. A new engine now with a V8 configuration, with 4-valves, 4-cams producing 325bhp @ 6000 rpm and 320 lb ft @ 2800 rpm. Widened front wings, new headlights and different rear end treatment. New 6-speed gearbox and rear suspension.


First appeared here in 1994 and will be withdrawn when the 3200GT comes on stream. Last of the Biturbo concept utilising a V6 engine in 2.8-litre, 4-valve 4-cam configuration and with 286bhp. Later versions fitted with Getrag six speed gearbox and 'Ranger®' differential. Similar widened front bodywork to the Shamal. Minor changes to the interior and different 'Merak' style wheels. Fully adjustable suspension by Koni/Maserati as standard and in 1994 available with ABS brakes - at last! 1995 saw the addition of the Ferrari ' Ranger® ' differential and the Getrag 6 speed gearbox, already in use on the Italian 2-litre car. There were modifications to the suspension (new shocks, springs and roll bars) and a 'Connelly' leather  interior. In 1996 a Ghibli GT appeared with new 7 - spoke alloys and driver's air-bag. The last Maserati to be endowed with 'that clock'.

The Ghibli II series I
The Ghibli II series II
The Ghibli GT

A GT - note the change in wheel design

The "heart" of the Ghibli Cup is a 2-litre V6 engine producing a massive 330 bhp. The car was introduced in limited production for the Ghibli 'Open' Cup race series which unfortunately lasted only two seasons. The cars produced for the road had a "racey interior" which included Momo 'Corsa' steering wheel, alloy gear lever knob, alloy pedals and carbon-fibre panels in place of the standard briar. Externally it had an alloy fuel cap and 'Ghibli Cup' badges on each door, Speedline 'Allesio' 3 piece alloys and two large bore exhaust pipes in place of the usual four. Brakes were uprated with grey enamelled four pot calipers bearing the name 'Maserati' on the front brakes. Suspension was uprated for track use. A few hybrids were produced with all these 'Cup' modifications but with the 2.8-litre engine producing 286 bhp.


Hi its Gareth here, just thought I would mention that in the "Biturbos in the UK" section, the pictures that you have under the heading for Biturbo SE (430 and Spyder) are of later cars ie 430 4v and series 3 spyder (4v facelift albeit still with 3v engine).

The 430 SE of this era would be the same as my white one (you have pictures of mine for sale if you require one) and the Spyder SE would have the same bumpers as my 430.

It is worth noting that I have seen SE cars with three different styles of wheels fitted. These being the seven spoke Shamal style wheels as on the 4v cars, thye lattice style with large hexagonal centre caps and a standard style but with a greater offset so they sit out further. I only found this to be the case when I looked at my spare wheel, when fitted it sits in the arch the same as an early 430. I'm wondering if this SE version that is fitted to my car, is in fact a 228 wheel that was fitted by the dealers as an interim whilst they awaited supply of the later wheels.


"Hi Henry,

I was just reading through the old "Biturbos in the UK" section on your site and came across a part at the end that I had written with regard to the 430 SE.

If you recall my white car had the standard 430 wheels but seemed to sit out further thus filling the arch more. Since that time I have owned a couple of 228s and now realise that my old 430 was fitted with 228 wheels which have zero offset rather than the thirty something offset of the 430 wheel,this is acheived by leaving more of the centre boss at the back of the wheel,it can be seen that the mating face at the back is at the centre line of the wheel.

Just thought it worth a mention and my previous entry could be amended so that the information is there for anybody trying to match up a set of original wheels.

Many Thanks,


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