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Old 07-30-2007, 03:13 PM   #1
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Default Maseraati Biturbo

Maserati Biturbo

Another car I was looking forward to testdrive but almost gave up lately. It's a friend's Sunday ride basically, but it's always difficult to sort something out with him since most of the time when I could take the car he needed it :bah:
Finally one day (same day I had the M6) he was away and let the key in my trusty hands

More pics :arrow: http://www.motorworld.net/forum/show...=844344#844344


Engine - V6, 1996 cc , biturbo
Power - 180 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque - 253 Nm @ 4400 rpm
Weight - 1086 kg
Fuel Tank -
Max Speed (declared) - 216 km/h
Acceleration (declared), 0-100 km/h - 8.2 s
Fuel economy (out of town / town / mixed) -
Tranny - 6 gears manual

Seats - 4
Doors - 2
Lenght / width - 4153 / 1712 mm
Height - 1305 mm
Boot -


Oh well, I fear not many ppl could say they love such car. We are talking about the first Biturbo, a car born after the roaring years (up to the 70s I'd say) and before the modern marvels ones. Back then, for a while, even car makers like Maserati lost their sparkle and it was also quite a difficult period I think, with Citroen dropping Maserati and De Tomaso buying it and keeping it alive untill Fiat took over in the 90s.
Not sure exactly why, but the result it that the Biturbo, especially the early model, looked totally un-exciting.
But try to wait some more and focus on it's lines a bit longer, try to feel what is hidden behind them, the heritage, the elegance, the italian class and charisma. Those simple lines can barely hide the italian heart that is pumping under that bonnet and soon you find yourself dragged to the door handle to discover its real soul.
Needless, pathetic poetry? Maybe, but don't be so sure. It is maybe true that in the last years I've become obsessed with older cars, and even when they are pretty "useless", I can still vibrate to their unique tune.
So yes, from some angles it isn't that exciting, let's admit it, and yet, there is something waiting right under the surface which makes such cars quite special, and it ain't just because of the badge IMO!


Ok, so we're inside finally, behind the wheel of a Maserati, and as old and crappy this model could be, it is still totally ice cool to sit for the first time in the driver's seat of a car wearing that Trident on its grille!
Well, for sure nobody will expect much from it, and indeed the interior isn't special. There was no drama back then while designing such cars' interior. The only cool thing is the wooded gearstick head, with that Trident embedded into it, but the rest is kinda simple and, well... old. Instruments, buttons, functions. Everything dates from the 80s and you can really feel it. Also, material used are so damn ugly compared to today's. The seats are wide, soft and provide zero support. Many controls aren't working anymore or pressing a button will just give a different result than what you would expect by looking at its little icon. Old italian cars and electric wirings... oh joy
So: crappy? HAHA, noway, stop a second and think about it. The coolness of a outdated interior, the smell of old fabric and wood, the feeling something might go wrong or stop working, some simple stuff like electric windows looking like modern marvels in there. You get the picture? Despite everything, the Biturbo interior is up to the task of taking you back to an era when car manufacturers weren't obsessed with leather allover, 100 buttons consoles, 20 inches monitors in the headrests and so on.

How does it drive?

still with me? Not pissed off I am trying to sell you a crappy interior in a crappy shape as something brillant? I hope not because honestly, this car is a pearl afterall. And a little piece of history too since the Biturbo family had quite a nice and wealthy life.
You're sitting on that sofa-like driver seat, key into the ignition, you want to twist it and then you suddently remember something: the owner warning you this is an old car and to turn it on when cold you need to pull the "air" thing as we call it in italian.. now, I am sorry, I can't remember how you do call it in english.. choke maybe? Probably the young ones between you never heard about it, but on old cars and bikes that's a normal thing.
Done, the key can be finally twisted. After a short second the engine burst into life, a busy life since it's revving a bit more than the normal idle. What a sound!!!! If you didn't like the body nor the interior, it's now the time to be charmed by this beauty. That V6 produces quite a sound. Italian, masculine and barely tamed! Really a surprise if you don't expect it. It's not loud, but totally out of place in such a car if you are not aware it is a Maserati. And while you wait for the engine to warm up (you could drive already, but I'd rather not), you have the time to pop the hood open and admire a true engine, not a stupid plastic cover like in most modern cars. And it's surprising to find quite a clean and tidy engine bay in such an old car. You can see the turbo's pipes running around it, full of wires allover the place and see it shake and tremble, begging you to take it out for a roadtrip. Bonnet slammed down, "choke" (let's call it like that for now) pushed back in, first gear... wait, first gear? YAY! Like in superexotic cars, the gearbody is reversed and first is where you usually have 2nd and so on. If this isn't another final touch for the ones that still try to say they are not excited!!
To leave the parking I have to do a 90 degrees turn at parking speed to reach a barrier. So I slowly operate the clutch to understand how it works, let the car slowly glide forward and turn the wheel.. uhm.. weird, it doesn't seem connected to the front wheels. A full turn and the car is going straight into the wall in front of me LOL. Brake, reverse gear, try again and discover this car has to be steered like a boat, applying many revolutions to that steering wheel before noticing a glimpse of steering input has reaced the wheels. Honestly at fist, especially now I am used to the Porsches which have quite direct steerings, is really hard to get used to it because you constantly tend to go wide in every corner, simply because you started turning but the car undertood it some sec later. But as everything else, you just have to get used to it and at the end of the day it seemed almost normal, until I jumped back into the 944 and almost did a donut instead of a wide corner :roll:
Get used to that, and the rest is quite straightforward.
Being at the wheel of the Biturbo is a strange thing. There is a strong old car feeling and yet, it goes pretty much as a modern one. I guess it's a typical 80s feeling.
Anyway, you get this sense of occasion you'd rarely have with a regular car. The burble of the engine dominate the experience, always loud but never too much, making ppl's head turn to stare at what's coming, always underlining every prod of the throttle with some low beat. Lowering the side windows is natural, to fully appreciate the soundtrack.
When the road opens up a little bit it's time to see that turbo pressure needle move up the scale a bit of course, and it's a pleasure to give it some more, hear the engine note hardening and finally seeing the needle departing from the "0" level and rocket up while acceleration increases and you can hear in the distance some turbo whistling.
Not as addictive as an high-pressure turbo'ed car, but charming enough to make you want more.
Brakes are crap, and hairpins a nightmare since you'll never manage to turn the wheels enough. Also, the gearstick isn't very precise and it's at times hard to pick the correct gear...
But that's it: some details apart, driving this Maserati is a special opportunity. You're there and you realize you're driving a Maserati... I am sorry, I am maybe snob but it's something quite cool to me, and even if it doesn't drive like if it was on rail, it can entertain you quite a lot. Oh yes, in first and partially in second gear, flooring it at the right moment when the turbos are on boil and the masses in the right place, can cause some wheelspin, but this car is too classy for such things probably

What are the most positive features of the car?

The aural magic that surrounds it despite everything
The italian car feeling
The engine note

What are the most negative features of the car?

The reliability
The brakes
The steering feeling

How do you think this car compares to its direct competition?

Uhm.. if you are in the market for a mid 80s car you'd probably let the Biturbo out of your lists. It's cheap to buy today but running costs can be stupid high if you are not extremely lucky.
IMO in its time it must have been quite a car and I can imagine plenty of "Commendatore" going around Italy in it, or driving down to Monte Carlo and St. Tropez for a short break.


Great experience, made me desire an old Italian car even more, but my first old italian car will be a Ferrari I hope
Still, italian luxury classic don't come much cheaper than a Biturbo today, and for your money wou'll get a piece of history and a car that will never fail to entertain you, even when obviously breaking something on your way to work or to the sea
TT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2007, 08:57 PM   #2
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Nice photos, and a nice review of the car Matteo

The car really doesn't look that good... but interesting for sure. I too look forward to my first classic italian car drive... i'm not sure if its going to be a Merack SS, or a 330 GT... but I'll be sure to share it
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:45 PM   #3
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Wow TT, a brilliant write-up on the car! Are you working for a car mag yet? Nice pictures as well, although from pretty much any angle I hate to say it that car is pretty dull or even ugly... Even so, what a chance to drive a Maseratti! Btw, 'choke' is the correct term.

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Old 08-08-2007, 02:08 AM   #4
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Thank you for this Matteo, I understand this attraction for Maseratis
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:57 AM   #5
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Quite long review :good:
Thanks dude

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