Drive Type: auto
Trim: MONZA SPYDER,
Goldsboro, North Carolina, United States
Debate ensued last week around the Autoblog offices when we first heard rumors that Maserati was bringing a new sports car concept to the Geneva Motor Show this year. Could there be any truth to the rumors? Did the timing make any sense? Does Maserati even need a two-door halo car to help it move examples of the new Ghibli, Quattroporte and upcoming Levante?
Well, we still don't have any official answer, but Maserati has indeed confirmed a new concept car to debut this week at the Swiss expo. The Modenese automaker hasn't indicated what form the concept will take, but assuming it's not doing another sedan or crossover, and unless it's planning a wagon concept like Touring's Bellagio Fastback or StudioTorino's Cinqueporte (both based on the previous Quattroporte), we feel it's more likely than not that we'll be looking at a two-door (be it a coupe, convertible or something in between).
Of course, we also don't know at this point just what size and segment Maserati is pursuing with this concept car (initial rumors had it going after the Jaguar F-Type) or for that matter whether it will presage a production version to follow or simply stand as a design study. But Maserati doesn't typically do many of the latter: the Kubang concepts of 2011 and 2003 previewed the Levante (albeit several years in advance), and the Birdcage was really more of a Pininfarina project, despite the Trident on the nose. With the exception of a couple production-based show cars (which themselves previewed production versions to follow), those are pretty much the only concepts Maserati has done in recent memory.
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 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.