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While Porsche may be relatively new to the four-door game, Maserati has been building the Quattroporte with few interruptions since 1963. But like its rival from Stuttgart, the Trident marque is rapidly shifting from a sports car company primarily to a manufacturer of high-end family transportation. Not only does it have the new Quattroporte on the market, but now it's got the Ghibli sedan as well and the Levante crossover on its way.

Historically, the Japanese auto market has been a tough nut to crack for foreign automakers. The country's buyers have a reputation of preferring driving vehicles from domestic companies. However, the last fiscal year that ended in March indicated that things don't have to be so insular. As Japan's economy improved, imported models have seen their sales surge.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 2014 Maserati Ghibli, and the Italian luxury sedan scored has well enough to earn the institute's Top Safety Pick rating. The model netted "Good" marks – the IIHS' highest rating – in moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints and seats tests.

Last year when Maserati revealed a plan to sell 50,000 units globally by 2015, it seemed like a pretty steep goal for an automaker that had sold just 6,300 units for the entire year. It turns out that goal may be a little on the conservative side. Through September, Automotive News Europe says the Italian automaker has already racked up 22,500 orders mainly on the backs of the redesigned Quattroporte and the all-new Ghibli, and there are still more new products in the pipeline.

Maserati's newest car, Ghibli, is a stunningly well-proportioned luxury sedan mixing the styling of the larger Quattroporte sedan and the GranTurismo coupe. We found it plenty good to in our First Drive review, and now we know how much it will cost (in the UK, at least).

Italy Passionately Returns To The Sport Sedan Game