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Detroit show: Maserati reveals new Quattroporte

It is what it is: As exotic as the big Maserati’s name sounds, Quattroporte simply means four-door in Italian.

Next-gen Maserati Quattroporte marks start of volume-boosting product assault

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Maserati logo7 Nov 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

MASERATI will publicly debut its next-generation Quattroporte luxury sports sedan at the North American International Motor Show in Detroit on January 14 – and has issued a set of images to whet the appetite.

Confirmed to arrive in Australia during the third quarter of next year, the Quattroporte, currently Maserati’s best-seller globally, marks the start of the Italian company’s plan to boost global sales to 50,000 units annually.

That is more than eight times the volume it achieved last year, which will be achieved by entering new segments with the smaller BMW M5-chasing Ghibli sedan and Porsche Cayenne-rivalling, US-built Levante SUV.

Australia and New Zealand will contribute 1500 annual units to the total – for comparison Maserati has sold 109 vehicles in Australia year-to-date (9.9 per cent down on 2011).

Maserati CEO Harald Wester said the planned growth will be based on “those values of style, elegance, quality, performance for which Maserati has been always recognised and praised in almost 100 years of history”.

“It is a growth that will be based on three new models entering two new segments of the automobile market – and it starts with the all-new 2013 Maserati Quattroporte.”

In contrast with the outgoing model, which launched in 2004 and represented a comprehensive move away from the boxy Quattroporte designs that endured from 1976 to 2001, the new Quattroporte evolves current styling into a tauter, more muscular and modern form.

Although no technical details or dimensions have yet been revealed, the new Quattroporte is confirmed to be larger but lighter than the outgoing car.

Linking the new Quattroporte with its predecessor is a more chiselled interpretation of the radiator grille, along with three vents behind the wheel arches and distinctive triangular C-pillar.

Angular, stepped headlights and a steeper, more sharply creased bonnet give the car more rear-view mirror presence, as does the integrated lower air intake – but the squarer door mirrors look more cumbersome than the units they replace.

In profile the new car looks longer, lower, sleeker and more purposeful with an aerodynamic curvature to the nose, narrower windows on the frameless doors (plus a new quarter-light window in the C-pillar), more pronounced ‘coke bottle’ curve on its flanks and kicked-up tail from the integrated rear lip spoiler.

Around the back, the Maserati is less distinctive, ditching the outgoing Quattroporte’s elegantly rounded rump in favour of a more complex, heavily creased design with horizontal tail-light clusters that could be mistaken for something from Audi or BMW.

Inside, Maserati has gone for a cleaner dashboard layout with contrasting layers of different coloured leather separated by wood and metal finishes, while a larger central touch-screen has enabled Maserati to do away with much of the old Quattroporte’s switchgear.

The instrument cluster has the now requisite colour multi-function display between the dials.

A look at the centre console reveals an electric parking brake and gear-shifter similar to those found on BMWs – and the new Jaguar F-Type – fitted with ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission, adding weight to speculation that the Quattroporte will be fitted with the same unit.

Maserati makes no mention of what is under the bonnet but the company’s vehicle development director, Roberto Corradi, said engineers had worked to “develop a car capable of fitting different powertrain architectures and transmission configurations for the most diverse driving conditions”.

Powertrain director Paolo Martinelli said the “proprietary” engines used in the new Quattroporte “have all been designed and developed by Maserati and Ferrari engineers in the heart of Italy’s motor valley”.

Maserati is rumoured to be working on smaller V8 and V6 petrol and diesel engines and the revised 4.7-litre V8 expected to be available from launch combined with better transmissions, improved aerodynamics and lighter weight should result in more performance and improved fuel economy.

Mr Corradi said the new Quattroporte will deliver “the best performance ever in the long history of Maserati’s four-door flagship sedan (is) matched by the unprecedented success in the quest for an eco-friendly automobile”.

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