Auto blogFri, 02 Nov 2012 13:33:00 EST
The best look we've had at the next Maserati Quattroporte so far was found in patent drawings that could have substituted for a whole lot of other cars. But seen here is a more useful glimpse, courtesy of someone on the lookout in Italy who caught a prototype in a skin-hugging wrap.
Maserati has apparently gone with the Charles Eames philosophy on the redesign: "The details are not details. They make the design." The overall line is familiar - not such a bad thing even on this 10-year-old sedan - but the detailing appears to have been refined and made sleeker. The taillights themselves should make for an especially interesting feature if the camo'ed car can be trusted.
The next Quattroporte is predicted to be roughly 450 pounds lighter than the current car, and underhood grunt is expected to come from a 520-horsepower, 5.2-liter turbocharged V8 at launch, followed by a 420-hp, supercharged V6 supplied by Ferrari, both working through an eight-speed ZF transmission.
Building on the introduction of the GranCabrio MC that debuted at the Paris Motor Show, Maserati is planning three new models over the next couple of year in an attempt to raise sales to 50,000 units annually by 2015. While we think that that is a pretty lofty goal for a boutique automaker, redesigning its flagship sedan and adding two all-new models in popular segments sounds like a great plan of attack
The first new car we'll see from the Italian automaker is the next generation of the Quattroporte which will be a fitting way to celebrate the car's golden anniversary. We've already seen spy pictures of the new Quattroporte testing as well as a series of patent drawings that reportedly show the car's basic lines. Expect the new Quattroporte out sometime next year with a possible launch at the Detroit Auto Show.
Following the new Quattroporte, we'll finally get to climb behind the wheel of a Maserati SUV... just not the Kubang. Maserati confirmed that its new utility vehicle, based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, will in fact be named the Levante. We already knew that Maserati would definitely not be using the odd Kubang name after this year, but if the Levante name sounds familiar, it's because we previously reported that this name would be used on a sedan slotting in below the Quattroporte.
Maserati sure seems to be milking the GranTurismo franchise for all its worth these days. In addition to plenty of limited editions and sport models for both the coupe and convertible, Maserati recently launched the MC version of the hardtop. Now, ahead of its debut at the Paris Motor Show, the Modenese automaker has dropped details on its latest iteration of the GT platform, the GranCabrio MC.
Visually, the droptop's most noticeable change is its new face, which has been lifted directly off the MC Stradale coupe. This means the car is a full 48 millimeters longer than the standard and Sport versions of the GranCabrio, but we like the decidedly more aggressive look to that big ol' schnoz. The large rear spoiler has also been reworked for the MC, providing even more downforce to keep that large body firmly glued to the road.
Maserati has not released powertrain details, but we assume that the GranCabrio MC uses the same 4.7-liter Ferrari-sourced V8 as the MC coupe, good for 444 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
We're not expecting to see a production version of the coming mid-engined Maserati coupe, expected to be named GranSport, for another few years; however, we might see it in concept form in just a few weeks at the Paris Motor Show. Australian site Car Advice got hold of an e-mail Maserati sent to friends of the Trident, and the first of the six cars mentioned is a "world premiere of a car that opens up new frontiers in terms of exclusiveness, performance and style."
Car Advice says it has been told that this will be a concept form of the GranSport, the GranTurismo replacement set to take on the Porsche 911 with ample use of carbon fiber and a 1,200-kilogram (2,600-pound) curb weight or thereabouts. The GranTurismo's 4.7-liter V8 hasn't been ruled out of the engine bay yet according to reports, but rumors persist that it will use the Ferrari-sourced twin-turbo V6 with 442 horsepower running power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and have a 0-60 time of something like four seconds.
We can't see the full content of the e-mail, but among the other five cars that have been announced for the stand are the GranTurismo Sport and GranTurismo MC Stradale. With the 2014 Quattroporte not appearing until the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, the Kubang concept said to be retired before the debut of the production version at the 2014 Detroit show and the Levante still just a wee mule, guesses for the three remaining three would be variations on current models. Not that there's anything wrong with that when it's Maserati we're talking about...
The spy photogs at CarPix have caught the upcoming small sedan from Maserati to slot under the Quattroporte, rumored to be dubbed Levante, out testing. The spy shots frankly don't tell us much more than that, since the mule is wrapped in an ill-fitting Quattroporte body giving away little more than a shorter wheelbase and smaller brakes.
The Levante, if that's what it's called, will be Maserati's entry into the luxury mid-sized sedan segment to compete with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. Said to arrive late next year, it will have its luxury ducks in a row, supposedly offering a twin-turbo V6, a V8 and a 300-horsepower diesel with 500 pound-feet of torque.
Questions about engines and their provenance remain; the next Quattroporte is getting a Ferrari-sourced supercharged V6 and turbocharged V8, but it is wondered if the Levante's V6 might come from the other side of the Fiat stable, namely Chrysler. No matter where the motors come from, though, they'll be run through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
Curious about what the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte will look like? Recent spy shots of the big Maserati sedan haven't been much help, but now we have this: Three alleged patent drawings found by AutoWeek.nl. Better fire up your imagination, however, as like all European Patent Office images, these sketches have the unique ability to suck the beauty out of even Italian cars. Truth be told, if AutoWeek.nl had told us this was a new Buick, we might have believed them.
That said, we can certainly see the resemblance in the rear to the Maserati GranTurismo, with a similar C-pillar and that little flipped-up spoiler. In the front, too, we imagine the new Quattroporte will resemble its sportier sibling, with the crude lines from these drawings turned into more voluptuous curves through the magic of modern manufacturing.
Rumors say the next-gen sedan will be available with a choice of two engines assembled by Ferrari, either a turbocharged V8 or a supercharged V6. We're likely to see the new Quattroporte in the flesh for the first time at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Gooding & Company has revealed the highlights of its consignments for its Pebble Beach auction during the action-packed Monterey weekend. At the top of the list is the classic 1955 Maserati A6G/54 Frua Berlinetta currently owned by Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay. This Maserati, the show car from the 1955 Paris Auto Salon, features Frau coachwork, won Best in Show at the Salon Privé, and is expected to fetch between $1.5 and 2 million.
No less prestigious is the 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio convertible that belonged to Prince Louis Napoleon of France, grandson of Emperor Napoleon I and noted Bugatti collector of the time. Supercharged from the factory, the stunning two-tone droptop is projected to sell for $1.3 to 1.6 million.
Finally, an original 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra is on the docket, with pre-sale estimates at $750,000 - $950,000. See below for the full press release and watch this space as the classic car world gears up for Pebble Beach.