Maserati Biturbo engine: history; variants; evolution; technology

1981 is an important year for Maserati: sees the debut of the Biturbo, a sedan that brings the brand back to the market’s attention by offering a performance model at relatively affordable prices. As the name suggests, the protagonist, alongside a modern design and luxurious finishes, is the mechanics, in particular the 90 ° V6 engine with double turbocharging, a technology still unusual on a production car at the time.

The engine Biturbo debuts with displacements of 2 and 2.5 liters, actually variants aimed at different markets with the first specifically developed for the Italian one, where there is a heavy tax (VAT at 38%) for cars over 2,000 cc, while the other is for all other countries where there are no similar restrictions.

The first versions

At its debut, the engine, which takes its base from the Merak unit, has single overhead camshaft distribution per bank and 3 valves per cylinder (two for intake and one for exhaust). The power varies from 180 HP for the “small” 2-liter to 192 for the 2.5-liter one, but rises to 205 from the 84, when the intercooler arrives and the Biturbo S model is born.

Unfortunately, in those early years the engine and car paid for a slightly too hasty set-up which in the first years gave rise to failures rather frequent due in part to ineffective cooling of the supercharging system, with numerous seizures of the turbines and in some cases even the development of fires.

The House therefore runs for cover by reviewing the system, replacing the turbines and introducing electronic injection which made its debut in 1986, earning the Maserati Biturbo even more power. Since 1988, double camshafts and 4 valves per cylinder arrive and the 2.5 variant grows in displacement up to 2.8 liters.

Maserati Biturbo


In 1992 Maserati abandoned the Biturbo denomination (in the meantime flanked by derivatives such as the 222 and the Karif) for the cars and presented the Ghibli, an evolution that still inherits the platform and of course the V6.

The engine, finally made more reliable, reaches considerable powers, up to 306 HP for the 2.0 and 284 HP for the 2.8 which is only catalysed. But the increase in power does not stop, in 1995 it reaches its peak with the extreme Ghibli Cup, equipped with only two liters but with power brought up to 330 CV which made it the most powerful two-liter series production in the world at the time.

Maserati Karif

After the passage under the Fiat Group, which took place in ’93, the 6-cylinder engine slowly started to end its career, replaced in ’98 by a 3.2 liter V8 (already introduced on the Quattroporte IV since ’96) which equips the brand new 3200 GT.

To review a supercharged V6 under the hood of a trident car, we will have to wait until 2013, the year of the debut of the new Ghibli and Quattroporte. Their latest generation 3.0 V6 will start with 330 hp, which is where the last of the V6 “Biturbo” stopped.

Motor Power Production Models
2.0 V6 3v carburetor da 180 a 205 CV 1982-1986 Biturbo, Biturbo S, 222, 420, 420 S, Spyder
2.0 V6 3v injection da 187 a 220 CV 1986-1990 Biturbo i, Biturbo Si, 4.18v, 420 i, 420 Si, Spyder i
2.0 V6 4v injection da 245 a 330 CV 1988-1997 2.24v, 2.24v cat, 422, 4.24v, Racing, Ghibli, Ghibli Cup, Spyder III, Spyder III cat
2.5 V6 3v carb. and iniez. da 186 a 196 CV 1983-1991 McLaren E, McLaren ES, McLaren Si 2500, 425, 425
2.8 V6 3v and 4v injection da 225 a 279 CV 1988-1994 222 E, 222 SE, 222 SE cat, 222.4v, 430, 430 cat, 430 4v, 228, 228 cat, Karif, Karif cat

Source: Italia – News by

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