The Maserati 228 was a two-door rear-wheel drive GT coupe available from 1986 to 1992. The model name refers to the two-door configuration and 2.8L engine, hence 228. It is also known as a Tipo AM334. Some Maserati brochures refer to this model as the 228i of “iniezione”, but these are reported to all be the same vehicle. After the introduction of the more-affordable Biturbo, the 228 was Maserati’s way of stretching back up to compete against other large luxury coupes like the BMW 6-Series and Jaguar XJ-S. As a more luxurious and exclusive vehicle, only 469 units of the Maserati 228 were produced.
History of the Maserati 228
The Maserati 228 was first unveiled in late 1984, but its roots can be traced back through the beginning on the Maserati Biturbo production. While the 228 was a much different vehicle, it shared many parts with the Biturbo, including the chassis itself. The Biturbo was a more-affordable, mass-production vehicle that was introduced in Europe in 1981 and became a hit for Maserati. It featured the first twin-turbo production car, but unlike previous Maserati’s, it was priced within reach of many people. This led to a small explosion in Maserati sales and a desire to reach back up into the true luxury market. It was seen as a necessary part of the market for a company which once solely focused on the super luxury cars.
Due to Maserati’s past financial strains and difficulty finding success in the top-tier luxury market, the 228 likely wound’t have been produced if it weren’t for the Biturbo. The 228 utilized cost-effective production methods by sharing components with the mass-produced Biturbo. The 228 used the long chassis originally constructed for the four-door Biturbo model. It kept the overall length and rear legroom of a large sedan with 5 seats, yet combined it with the styling and sleek looks of a smaller coupe. It was longer, wider, and taller than the Biturbo coupe. The 228 brings in many features similar to the Biturbo, but utilized less angular design and increased the overall luxury feeling and features. All of the body panels were unique to the 228, yet it still brought the same Maserati look to the table.
Engine and Performance
The Maserati 228 featured a 2.8L V6 engine that produced 250 horsepower at 5,600 RPM. While the prototype featured a twin cam / 4-valve heads with twin-plug ignition, the production vehicle used a single cam / 3-valve heads with single ignition and fuel injection. It had a top speed over 235 km/h (146 mph). The powerful engine could get this four-seater from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 5.6 seconds. The engine was paired with a Getrag 5-speed manual transmission. The exported versions of the 228 received a catalytic converter (reducing horsepower to 225) and a 3-speed automatic transmission to comply with increasing regulations. The suspension utilized MacPherson struts in the front with telescopic dampers, coil springs, and anti-roll bars all around. It weighed approximately 2,800 pounds and had a 102.4 inch wheelbase.
Features and Options
The exterior design of the Maserati 228 included a large front grille with the Maserati trident emblem. Customers could choose from a wide variety of colors including Maserati Red, Black, Blue Silver, Swan White, Rifle Gray, Soft Gray, and Dark Aquamarine. Leather and Alcantara was used throughout the interior, available in a variety of colors including black, blue, gray, or white. Wood trim was added for refined elements. The usual Maserati clock remained the focal point in the center of the dash. It was priced around $53,000 USD, making it a quite expensive and exclusive car. The exact plan Maserati had wanted to bring back to the market. The Biturbo was a car for everyone, the 228 was for a select few. Some improvements were made throughout the years of the 228 production. In 1988, a new Weber multi-point injection system was introduced, while later years came with braking and suspension refinements. The 228 was discontinued in 1992, replaced by the revived Ghibli.