You can imagine Maserati engineers sitting at the round table and sharing the ideas of creating something new, revolutionary, and appealing to any driver back in the late 70s. So, they decided to make an engine with two turbochargers and put it into a production car – this was enough for an engineering revolution back then.
And that’s precisely how they introduced Biturbo. Sadly, it had so many issues that it looks like Maserati did that on purpose. Let’s find out more about this extraordinary Italian sports car and why it was such a disaster.
Biturbo was powerful back then
I won’t say it was fast because it could beat Porsche 911 SC. Well, at least just as long as the road is straight. Maserati offered three main engines for Biturbo: 2.0, 2.5, and 2.8, all of them being V6 and twin-turbocharged. So, power varied from 178 HP to an astonishing 281 HP. The latter version, however, was offered in Biturbo Racing – only 230 of these were ever produced. It should be a collectors’ item, perhaps.
Maserati Biturbo is powerful and has lots of punch when you want it. All that energy doesn’t match the unpredictable handling, though. Whenever a turn is near, don’t even think about flying into it.
Oversteer or understeer is almost guaranteed, but you’ll never know which one is coming up next. You may want to try that if you’re lucky in gambling, but watch out – you may quickly become a passenger of your own trip.
Biturbo constantly reminds its owner that he’s not ready to handle it.
Good on paper
Maserati Biturbo was a very big deal back in the 80s, as it was made to be a strong rival for BMW 3-Series. The cost was the same, Biturbo was crazy-powerful, there were four seats, and it had a very desirable badge. Moreover, people expected this Maserati to be a reliable car because only a few workshops were accepting these vehicles for repairs worldwide.
This was supposed to be every man’s Maserati, which would save the company from bankruptcy. And it looked promising for a couple of years – sales skyrocketed! But it was time for Biturbo to unveil its true character.
The biggest issues are unbelievable
You only had one job – to make turbos in Biturbo work. Well, the non-intercooled turbochargers were the weakest link in this car – blue, black, or white smoke is a common sight here. The only logical solution for this problem was and still is aftermarket turbochargers.
And there were many other issues with non-adjustable carburetors, failing fuse box, bad built quality, serious corrosion, cracking interior panels, etc. And I’m not talking about nowadays problems – these problems were causing headaches just 3-4 years after rolling out of dealerships!
Maserati Biturbo is not a beautiful car. It certainly has great 80s vibes going on, but perhaps just like any car from that era.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if designers forgot about this project until a few days before the manufacturing – they took Quattroporte, squeezed it a bit, and that’s all. Maybe later models look good in red… but only if I really try to like them.
Maserati missed the boat by sorting out Biturbo later
Italians tried to sort out as many problems as possible because Biturbo was failing miserably. So, eventually, Biturbo got an intercooler to preserve turbochargers, electronic fuel injection to avoid crushing carburetor problems, improved corrosion protection, etc. But it was already too late.
Nobody cared about getting a Biturbo anymore, even though the last models were pretty good. Fiat became the sole owner of Maserati in 1993, and the last Biturbo rolled out in 1994.
It arrived as a striking opponent of the famous BMW 3-Series. Poor reliability and questionable looks exposed its main problem: it didn't age very well. It simply lacked some love and passion from the manufacturer.
- Good bits: In today's world, it does look the business. Boxy and every bit Italian. And on paper, it should deliver decent power as well.
- Room for improvement: I bet it's difficult to fix the reputation for its poor reliability. Of course, it can be done, but is it really worth it?