|The Biturbo Spyder
"The simplicity of its design is its forté"
An owner's impressions
The Maserati Biturbo Spyder's sleek if somewhat stayed exterior lines by Zagato of Milan, is a rarity on British roads even today. I am perhaps one of the few who consider themselves fortunate to own such a car. It has all the glamour which we have come to expect of Italian Exotica without being ostentatious, in fact even the wife likes it! (a sexist remark for which I apologise to our lady surfers). Far more practical than most, with its flexible V6 engine, convenient, although manual hood (which incidentally is shared with the Aston Martin Zagato Volante) and plenty of luggage space in the boot, which is in itself a contradiction for an Italian sports car, this car oozes class!
The 1984 Biturbo Spyder
1984 also saw the introduction of a 2.5-litre (2491 cc) version of unique V6 power unit fitted to the 'Biturbo' range. It was with the introduction to this country in 1986 that the Marque was set to re-establish itself, after a series of set-backs during the following year which prevented progress and after; a company take over, the introduction of a new management structure and the appointment of a twenty one strong nationwide dealership, Neptune's Trident was eventually given a green light. However, by the time the Maserati Spyder eventually arrived in Britain much of its initial appeal had wavered due in part to the initial hype, the inevitable delay and the resultant cost £28,795 (£4000 more than the coupé and £9000 more than a BMW 325i Cabriolet). When eventually launched in the winter of 1987/88, it was not exactly the best
time to launch a new car and definitely not a convertible in Britain.
The 1988 Spyder E
The Spyder may not be considered a particularly fast car by today's standards, the maximum power output being restricted to 192 bhp at 5000 rpm (220 bhp on the Coupé) and 220 lb ft torque at 3000 rpm because the boost provided by the twin turbos to the twin-choke Weber carburettor used on the Spyder, is deliberately restrained to a modest 0.8 bar, giving a maximum speed of 128 mph and a relatively conservative 0 to 60 time of 7.2 seconds. The engine technology employed is aimed at reducing the time it takes the turbos to respond to the throttle (turbo lag) and it works, there is no discernable boost evident but an extraordinarily smooth and rapid increase of power. The result is a car with strong cruising and relaxed mid range performance, the immediate availability of apparently unlimited power is particularly useful when overtaking. There is of course the usual penalty for such convenient horsepower, you can watch the needle on the petrol gauge visibly drop, averaging about 20mpg on 4 star. (Maserati are not noted as being amongst the world's most environmentaly friendly vehicles, but neither are Ferraris).
The 1990 Spyder iE
Zagato in producing the Spyder did not just chop the top off the coupé, but redesigned the complete car reducing the wheelbase from its contempories 260Omm to 240Omm and the overall length from 4155mm to 4043mm with a resultant drop in kerb-weight to 1086kg, these deliberate physical reductions have resulted in an attractive although rather small car with a most purposeful stance.
The 1991 Spyder series III
On a 'lighter' note, the ash tray is located centrally adjacent to the hand brake and incorporates the usual cigar / cigarette lighter, ashtray and unusually a cigarette box all of which is covered with a role lid, (under-arm contorsionism is enough to put anyone off smoking) although I must say, it's the same ashtray as that used in the De Tomaso Pantera GT5-S located in virtually the same place. (I can only comment - "that the Italians must have peculiar smoking habits" particularly when you consider the original left-hand-drive configuration.)
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