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Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994)

Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Classic and Performance Car
Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) When the Maserati Biturbo first came onto the scene, it was almost a shock to see such a humble-looking saloon car wearing the Maserati trident. Thanks to the energy crisis and general reduction in sports car sales across the board, the company was forced to produce a much more sensible model line-up – starting with the V6-engined Biturbo in the early 1980s.

The new car was conceived to fight the upmarket BMW 3-series models in the executive car class, and featured understated but handsome three-box styling reminiscent of the Quattroporte III. Its handling wasn’t as civilised as a 3-series’, however, since lots of power in a short wheelbase, combined with turbo lag, slightly slow-witted steering and rear suspension camber changes could catch out drivers as understeer suddenly snapped into oversteer.

Which one to buy?

Initially the Biturbo was offered as a two-door saloon, but a four-door and Spyder followed in 1984. The Biturbo wasn’t at first available on the UK market but right-hand-drive models arrived in 1986 and limited sales success in the company car sector followed.

The Biturbo ensured Maserati’s survival and retains that certain something that continues to excite enthusiasts. But buying one can be a minefield – so take care out there.

Performance and spec

Engine: 2790cc V6, SOHC, fuel injection
Power: 250bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 275lb ft @ 3000rpm
Transmission: Borg Warner four-speed auto, or five-speed manual
Weight: 1180kg
0-60mph: 5.7sec
Top speed: 149mph

Common problems

• The Merak-derived engine is tough and mechanically straightforward. Stories of £10k rebuilds are a little wide of the mark. Most overhauls are limited to exchanging bearings and gaskets.

• Engines run a high oil pressure, so are susceptible to oil leaks. But they don’t burn oil, and the bottom end is bulletproof.

• Overall, they’re easy to work on although the newer the car, the more awkward it is – for instance, to adjust the PAS belt, you need to remove the radiator.

• Brakes are better on newer models, and early cars are known to chew through pads and discs.

• The rear axle is delicate and can leak oil, but the differential was made by GKN and reconditioning is straightforward.

• Manual gearboxes are tough ZF units and just tend to get noisy with age – while, of the autos, the later four-speed ZF is preferable to the early three-speed Borg Warner.

• On the electrical side, there were issues with failing relays, although most will now have been replaced. The fusebox’s printed circuit board is susceptible to heat build-up and can actually melt. Resoldering joints may restore normal service, but check everything works – especially the very expensive clock.

• As far as rust is concerned, you really need to go for one with as good a body as possible. Generally, Biturbos rust cosmetically around the bonnet, doors, arches and sills (if the car has been badly jacked in the past), but a major worry area is the top of the bulkhead. If it goes here, then you have to pretty much take the car apart to fix it – so feel and examine closely for holes. A damp interior is another, more obvious giveaway.

Model history

Sorting out the Biturbo’s history is not a straightforward matter, as the cars were continually updated throughout their life, with technical upgrades rolled-out across the range as and when production allowed. Here are the main points.

1981: Biturbo is launched in 2.0-litre, 18-valve form in Italy and selected European markets.
1983: Export model known as the E has 2.5 litres and 185bhp.
1984: Spyder 2.5 introduced. Four-door 425 model also launched.
1986: Right-hand-drive cars officially go on sale in the UK. 1988: 2.8-litre, 18-valve 222E/SE (225/250bhp) introduced. 2.8-litre 430 four-door arrives in the UK.
1989: Carburettors replaced by fuel injection across the board.
1990: Model designations realigned to denote 24-valve engines – 222, 2.24 and 4.24 versions now listed with up to 280bhp.

Clubs and websites


Summary and prices

The Biturbo sits in an interesting position in the marketplace. On the one hand, the standard two- and four-door models were bought new as company cars, and finding a cherished example is next to impossible. On the other, the Spyders tended to be bought as second cars, weekend playthings, and the marketplace today is dominated by great examples.

This means that there’s a corresponding disparity in values. Late fuel-injected Spyders are now changing hands for more than £20,000, where the coupes and saloons make around £12,000. Below that, look to pay £8000 for the best carburettored Biturbos, budget for £4000 to buy you a reasonable ‘going concern’ and pay as little as £500 for a project.
Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994) Maserati Biturbo buying guide (1981-1994)
Last updated: 6th Jul 2015
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Maserati Biturbo
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  • Maserati - Biturbo Coupé - 1984

    €3,001 - €3,901.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €3,001 - €3,901.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    Online Auction
    €3,001 - €3,901.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €3,001 - €3,901.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    Catawiki Auctions
  • 2012 Turbo S PDK


    19" RS Spyder Alloys Painted Black & Polished, 12-Way Adaptive Sports Seats, Electric Slide/Tilt Sunroof, ParkAssist, Heated Seats, Universal Audio Interface, Telephone Module, Floor Mats, Immaculate Condition Throughout, Fine Example! Ceramic Composite Brakes, BOSE Surround Sound System, Porsche Communication Management (PCM) With Navigation, Bi-Xenon Headlights, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Sport Chrono Package, Cruise Control, Porsche Stability Management(PSM), Rain Sensor Wipers, Auto-Dimming Rear View Mirror, Tyre Pressure Monitoring.

    • Mileage: 9550 mi
    For sale
  • 1985 Maserati Biturbo


    (SOLD) This is a one owner car bought from Alan Johnson Porsche in San Diego. It is a very original Biturbo that is factory equipped, in an attractive color combination, with many features such as an Alpine CD Player, manual transmission, A/C, power windows, and bucket seats. Classic Showcase has performed a recent service which makes the car ready for your driving pleasure.

    • Year: 1985
    • Mileage: 20363 mi
    For sale