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Future models - Maserati - Alfieri

Geneva show: Maserati Alfieri coupe 'a goer'

Sweet: Maserati's Alfieri is set to make the transition from concept to production car with only a few changes.

Maserati's Porsche 911 rival destined to make the production schedule from 2016

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Maserati logo5 Mar 2014

MASERATI’S Geneva show-stopper, the Alfieri, might be described as a concept, but the man responsible for the high-end Italian brand in Australia and New Zealand, Neville Crichton, is convinced the 2+2 sports coupe will go into production about 2016.

Mr Crichton, chairman of Ateco which owns Maserati Australia and New Zealand, said “you can bet your boots” the Alfieri concept would be the precursor for the new mid-sized Maserati coupe.

“This brand is just on fire,” he told GoAuto after seeing the new model for the first time in the flesh on the Maserati stand.

Many pundits at the show concurred, with the slinky Alfieri widely regarded as the show highlight. The design is well on the way to being production ready, although some fanciful touches on the show car might not make the final cut.

The Alfieri is expected to slot into the Maserati range below the GranTurismo, going into battle against the Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type.

The car is named after one of the Maserati brothers who founded the company in Modena, Italy, 100 years ago, in 1914, when they built a race car for the Targa Florio road race and promptly won it on their first outing.

Along with the upcoming Maserati Levante SUV – named after the street where Alfieri and one of his seven brothers built their first cars – the Alfieri will give Maserati mass firepower in the global market place.

Unveiling the Alfieri in Geneva, Maserati CEO Harold Wester promised “a neck-snapping motor” and “a foot pedal that is hungry to be floored” in the new car.

He described the Alfieri as the perfect size for a 2+2 sports coupe “that could complete the Maserati line-up”.

“We are wondering if we can put this car into production,” he teased.

Mr Crichton, who was in Geneva with Maserati Australia and New Zealand general manager Glen Sealey for a look at the new car, has few doubts, especially after seeing it.

Mr Sealey said the Alfieri would add a new model to the range, and not replace any existing model.

He said the GranTurismo was a larger four-seat grand tourer, while the smaller Alfieri would be a true 2+2 mid-sized coupe.

Mr Sealey said he expected the Quattroporte sedan to remain the brand's best-seller in Australia, although the upcoming Levante SUV would likely challenge for the crown.

The Alfieri, he said, would drive a big incremental volume “provided it goes into production”.

Based on the GranTurismo MC Stradale chassis with a 240mm-shorter wheelbase (now at 2700mm), the Alfieri measures 4590mm long, 1930mm wide and 1280mm high.

The concept features the marque’s transaxle platform from the two-door GranTurismo while under the bonnet is a 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine producing 343kW of power at 7000rpm and 520Nm of torque from 4750rpm – and what Maserati says is a “breathtaking sound”.

The transaxle uses a six-speed ‘MC Shift’ robotised manual gearbox fixed directly to the limited-slip differential, helping to provide an almost perfectly balanced weight distribution between the front and rear wheels – with just a slight bias to the rear.

Stopping all that momentum are carbon ceramic disc brakes borrowed from the GranTurismo MC Stradale, with blue Brembo callipers clinging on.

The wheels are each forged from a single block of aluminium, with 20-inch hoops mounted at the front and 21-inch down the rear.

Inside, a ‘suspended’ dashboard using a single LCD screen mimics the Maserati 5000 GT.

Maserati says the instrument panel has a classic layout of two binnacle dials with two smaller ones in between, with the edge of each embellished with a small ‘Officine Maserati’ label.

The way that the Alfieri displays information to the driver is more like a modern photographic camera menu, the car-maker says.

“Instead of a rotating indicator, the numbers themselves rotate around the clocks. Current speed and RPM are highlighted by a magnifying glass effect,” it says.

The driver and passengers sit on a combination of hand-stitched silk and leather, with the two rear seats folding forwards 90 degrees to open up the small luggage portal that sits behind them.

The floor of the concept is finished in a material that imitates oxidised steel, a material commonly found on racing cars of the 1950s.

“The Alfieri is being unveiled at just the right time to re-establish Maserati’s orientation in terms of design and production,” Maserati said in a statement after the concept car’s reveal.

“If the new Quattroporte and Ghibli gave the impression that Maserati was becoming oriented towards sporty, premium four-door saloons, the Alfieri concept is a reminder that the brand has a remarkable racing heritage and a unique tradition in exotic GT cars.

“There is no doubt that the Alfieri concept represents the true essence of the Maserati brand.”

Maserati says the sportscar’s sleek, Italian style 2+2 is reminiscent of the brand’s 1957 3500 GT, the 1959 5000 GT and the 1969 Indy.

“Sportier in character than the GranTurismo, the Alfieri boasts proportions that might well be archetypal for a future Gran Sport and are certainly a hint at the brand’s stylistic intentions for the near future,” it says.

Maserati says the voluptuous A6 GCS-53 designed by Pininfarina in 1954, with its slender wings and bonnet, and a cabin pushed almost back to the rear wheels proved a valuable source of inspiration for the designers.

It says that rather than just being a rare racing machine for gentlemen drivers, the A6 GCS-53 was a masterpiece of design.

“It was also the last car that, at that time, the Carrozzeria Pinin Farina designed on a Maserati model before making a comeback in the first decade of the 21st century with the Quattroporte and the GranTurismo.”

Maserati head of global design Lorenzo Ramaciotti said: “We wanted the Alfieri to test future design paths. The car is very aggressive yet subtle in style, forceful but understated.”

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