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Paris show: Maserati reveals new model plans

Weight and see: Next-generation GranTurismo will be 15 per cent lighter than the current model.

Lighter, more efficient Quattroporte and new entry-level model confirmed by Maserati

Maserati logo5 Oct 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

MASERATI has publicly reaffirmed its intention to produce an all-new entry-level model to be positioned below the GranTurismo coupe and Quattroporte sedan, which itself will next year be replaced by a sixth-generation model that Maserati plans to make 15 per cent lighter and 25 per cent more economical.

The ambitious weight and efficiency targets for the next Quattroporte were first revealed by Maserati CEO Harald Wester at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Spain in June, while both the new ‘baby’ Maserati and next Quattroporte were confirmed in the 2010-2014 industrial plan Fiat announced to shareholders in April.

Now, Maserati has reiterated its plan to release a third, smaller volume-selling model line that it expects will attract a 10 per cent share of Europe’s ‘high-end E-segment’ by being priced from around €55,000 ($A80,000) in Europe – and to deliver a redesigned Quattroporte on a new top-shelf Maserati platform next year, before going on sale here in early 2012.

“As it was made known last April during the Fiat Group Investor Day, ahead of Maserati lays a very bright future,” said Mr Wester at last week’s Paris motor show opening, where Maserati staged the world debut of the GranTurismo MC Stradale coupe – the quickest, fastest, lightest, most powerful and most expensive car in the Maserati range.

“There are segments in the market that Maserati will shortly revisit and there are new areas of the market that Maserati will explore for the first time.

32 center imageLeft: Maserati GranCabrio. Below: Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale.



“What’s more and, I believe, quite telling in terms of the new role that Maserati has shaped for itself, Maserati is developing a new proprietary platform and engines that will be the basis for all our future high-end passenger vehicles, starting with the next Quattroporte.

“Just to give you an example, the target is to slash weight by more than 15 per cent and fuel consumption by approximately 25 per cent, while providing priceless Maserati top-of-the-range high-end experience and know-how to the entire group.”

As Maserati SpA commercial director Raffaele Fusilli told GoAuto in February, the lighter and more dynamic new Quattroporte is expected to employ a twin-turbocharged V6, a downsized V8 and even hybrid powertrains, matched with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

The Mk6 version of Maserati’s pioneering four-door Quattroporte ‘coupe’, which will face a host of fresh rivals including this year’s new Mercedes-Benz CLS, the Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche’s Panamera, should also be available with all-wheel drive and idle-stop technology for the first time.

Mr Wester also revealed in Paris that Maserati’s all-new four-seater coupe or sedan, which Fiat has said will “offer a new product package with specific contents in order to exploit Maserati DNA”, will not be as small as some reports have suggested.

“As announced last spring, Maserati is looking at producing a sedan in the high-end part of the E segment. It will not be by any means a small Maserati or, as it has been labelled by some, a Maseratina.

“Maserati is doing extremely well with both the GranTurismo and the current Quattroporte. For this reason, we believe that there is room for a brand-new, content-rich model underneath it – thus the new high-end E-segment sedan.”

While details of what will be the most affordable Maserati by a long margin remain scarce, Maserati used the Paris show to debut a new pinnacle for its GranTurismo coupe range in the form of the MC Stradale, which is due on sale in Australia in the third quarter of 2011 at a price that will nudge $400,000 before on-road costs.

As in the UK, where it goes on sale early next year, the track-focussed Stradale coupe should command a premium of about 20 per cent over the $318,500 GranTurismo S on which it is based, pushing it well past the closely related GranCabrio convertible, which was recently released as the most expensive Maserati in Australia at $338,000.

Maserati revealed the Stradale 10 days before the Paris show, confirming it will be powered by a tweaked version of the S-badged GranTurismo’s (and GranCabrio’s) Ferrari-derived 4.7-litre V8 that bumps power by 13kW to 336kW and torque by 20Nm to 510Nm.

At the same time, the hard-core GT sheds 110kg of kerb weight from the 1880kg GranTurismo (not to mention the 100kg-heavier GranCabrio), in part by removing the rear seats, thereby eliminating any fuel consumption increase over the GT S.

Fitted with a faster-shifting MC Shift transaxle gearbox, the Stradale lowers the GranTurismo’s claimed 0-100km/h acceleration from 4.9 to 4.6 seconds and offers a 301km/h top speed, making it the quickest and fastest Maserati production car, and the first to break the 300km/h mark.

Said to be the direct result of customer demand for a more track-oriented version of the flagship GranTurismo coupe, the Stradale features Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, custom Pirelli tyres on lighter alloy wheels, unique suspension tune and a new front splitter, bumper, bonnet, front quarter panels, sills, exhausts and rear bumper to deliver a better coefficient of drag (Cd).

Maserati claims its most formidable model incorporates handling and aerodynamic lessons learned from its Trofeo GranTurismo MC and GranTurismo GT4 racecars, and will also be available with the option of a roll-cage and four-point safety harness.

Mr Wester said Maserati had achieved positive 2010 financial results in the 60 markets in which it is represented.

“After the challenging 12 months of 2009, Maserati is back on track. In the eight full months leading to this Paris auto show, worldwide sales are up more than 18 per cent when compared to the same period in 2009.

“In the first eight months of the year, deliveries to final customers are up 49 per cent in the United States – our largest market they are up 60 per cent in China – our fifth-largest market and they are up 62 per cent in the United Kingdom – our third-largest market.”

Maserati revenue increased by 56.8 per cent to €174 million ($A246m) in the second quarter of 2010, when it delivered 1697 cars (up 45.2 per cent over the same period in 2009), allowing it to return a trading profit of €8 million ($A11.3m) – up from €2 million ($A2.8m) for Q2 2009.

In the first half of this year, Maserati’s 2902 sales represented a 24.8 per cent increase on 2009, resulting in a 33.2 per cent revenue increase to €301 million ($A425m) and a doubling of operating profit to €12 ($A16.9m) following big sales increases in North America (up 45 per cent), the UK (up 92 per cent) and China (up 147 per cent) – mostly off the back of the GranCabrio.

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