Named after a warm wind in the Mesopotamian desert, the Shamal marked a radical evolution in the Biturbo family tree. Styled by Marcello Gandini – designer of the Khamsin and Quattroporte II in his Bertone days -, it was a proper 2+2 coupé with a very aggressive stance. It used a modified Biturbo shell with new body panels and a completely new rear section. The wheelbase was the same as the Karif’s, but the cabin allowed more room for rear passengers.
Meant as an all-out performance GT, the Shamal inaugurated the new generation of V8s which would subsequently power the Quattroporte IV and 3200 GT. The new unit boasted 4 DOH camshafts 4-valve-heads and the usual twin-turbo, twin intercooler set-up, good for a staggering 326 hp and 436 Nm of torque from 3.2 litres. The Getrag 6-speed manual gearbox was the first one mounted in a production Maserati, and indeed an advanced feature for the time.
Clad in 245-wide Michelin MXX (225 at the front) with a wider track, the car has redesigned rear suspensions and an electronic adaptive damping system all around. The top claimed speed was 270 kph (169 mph) on the later versions. The fact that Maserati managed to sell 369 units of this powerful beast was certainly no mean achievement.