What the "E" Stood For in Maserati Biturbo E

In the 1986 Maserati universe, E did not stand for electric, nor economic. Not by a long shot.

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Motorweek told us that in 1986, Texans considered a Chevy Suburban to be a status symbol. At the same time, the rest of the world was looking at the Maserati Biturbo E as a way to make the neighbors jealous. And Maserati was game. Its 2.5-liter export model came with a Nardi wood-rim steering wheel, full leather upholstery, and wood trim so tastefully fake, it could almost fool you.

Arriving in 1981, the Biturbo was Alejandro de Tomaso's tool for saving Maserati, and its basic platform was kept in production until 1998. The Biturbo badge itself was put on a zillion versions as well. The 1986 Biturbo E was the last of the carbureted coupes made for export, with a 2.5-liter twin-turbo V6, a new grille, fog lights, bigger tires, larger anti-roll bars, stiffer springs, gas-filled shock absorbers, and powerful ATE disk brakes all around.

With its improved handling and 185 horsepower, the Biturbo E was rather quick off the line, good in the corners, and fairly comfortable on the highway. Yet its slow steering and thirsty engine could make your forget that Maserati also threw in rear head restrains, shades, a crank-down spare tire and, as long as you lived on the West Coast, an intercooler!

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