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Future models - Maserati - Quattroporte

Next Quattroporte to get AWD, turbo V6 and idle-stop

Red-blooded Italian sedan: Fifth-generation Quattroporte will make way for lighter, more high-tech Mk6 model.

Maserati's lighter, more efficient next-gen Quattroporte due to emerge next year

1 Jul 2010

MASERATI’S next-generation Quattroporte will be lighter, more efficient and available with all-wheel drive, turbo V6 and idle-stop technologies, according to company CEO Harald Wester.

The surprising new details of Maserati’s all-new four-door flagship, which is expected to make its global debut at next year’s Frankfurt motor show before going on sale in right-hand drive guise in Australia in early 2012, were revealed by the Maserati chief at last week’s Automotive News Europe Congress in Bilbao, Spain.

Although there are no direct quotes relating to the redesigned Quattroporte from the private industry function, the respected European publication has reported Mr Wester as saying the next Quattroporte will ride on a new platform designed for use under a new generation of top-shelf models to emerge from the Fiat-Chrysler alliance.

According to ANE, Mr Wester said Maserati’s target for the new Quattroporte is to slash fuel consumption by 25 percent – despite the addition of all-wheel drive at the top of the range – by reducing weight by 15 per cent and employing V6 and downsized V8 engines matched with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Porsche already offers AWD, idle-stop and V6 hardware with its Panamera, the Quattroporte’s most direct new rival, while Aston Martin’s conceptually similar Rapide will land here in late August, powered exclusively by a 350kW/600Nm 5.9-litre V12 driving the rear wheels.

While this year’s second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS is again expected to comprise rear-drive V6 and V8 model variants, Maserati’s current Quattroporte is available only with 4.2 and 4.7-litre V8s driving the rear wheels exclusively via a six-speed automatic gearbox.

32 center imageLeft: Maserati GranCabrio convertible Maserati GranTurismo coupe (below)Along with an all-new entry-level Maserati model priced from around €55,000 ($A80,000) in Europe, a replacement for the current fifth-generation Quattroporte, which was launched globally in 2004, was confirmed as part of the Fiat group’s 2010-2014 restructuring plan announced in Turin on April 21.

Details of Maserati’s third model line - which will join the Quattroporte sedan, GranTurismo coupe and the closely related GranCabrio convertible launched in Australia this week - remain scarce, but Maserati expects the compact four-seat coupe or sedan to be its volume-selling model by drawing a 10 per cent share of Europe’s ‘high-end E-segment’.

As part of the Fiat-Chrysler industrial plan, the Italian giant said the new compact Maserati, to be positioned below the GranTurismo coupe (priced from $288,800) and Quattroporte sedan (currently priced from $286,000), will “offer a new product package with specific contents in order to exploit Maserati DNA”.

The sixth-generation of Maserati’s most popular model ever, meantime, is charged with increasing the historic Italian brand’s share of Europe’s G vehicle segment from three to eight per cent, and should therefore be priced lower than the current line-up.

Maserati SpA commercial director Raffaele Fusilli told GoAuto in February that the design of the lighter and more dynamic new model was already locked in, and that future Maserati models were likely to be powered by twin-turbo petrol V6 and even hybrid drivetrains.

“The new generation of Maseratis for sure will be lighter – we will reduce weight… downsize the engine,” he said at the time.

“For now we are launching the GranCabrio,” he said at the time. “Then in the mid-term we are focussing on the revamp of our model range, for sure, and the first one will be the new (Quattroporte) four-door.

“I cannot tell you how and when the new four-door will arrive but for sure we are working on weight reduction, dynamic improvement, keeping the roominess, increasing the room in the trunk and other parts. What I’ve seen up to now is very exciting for the four-door.

“We are working on the concept very well. We are at a good point in terms of the concept right now. I would say the concept has been fixed - now is the time the engine arrives in the concept.

“In general, we are all reflecting on how to reduce the consumption, the weight and be more efficient with the performance of the car. I’m not an engineer but we are fully involved with these issues. There are a lot of things Maserati could benefit from.

“We could talk now of downsizing engines, bi-turbo, V6. The point is to try to downsize the size of the engine. There is more flexibility with the V6 by putting a bi-turbo on the engine.

When asked if Maserati’s hallowed V8 – the exclusive source of power for both the Quattroporte and GranTurismo – was in danger, Mr Fusilli suggested a twin-turbo petrol V6 could make its debut in the next Quattroporte.

“There is no decision taken but the new four-door will already take a new direction. I do not know what sort of sound the V6 will have in the next two or three years.

“But I’m not saying we are going to get rid of the V8… For sure the (V8) sound is part of our DNA. We have also to take care of the image of the brand.”

Maserati was earlier this year grouped with fellow Fiat brands Alfa Romeo and Abarth under the direction of Mr Wester, who last week also said Abarth would develop sports models for Fiat as well as Alfa Romeo models.

Speaking at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Spain, Mr Wester reiterated Mr Marchionne’s ambitious target of 500,000 annual sales for the Alfa Romeo brand by 2014 - up from just over 100,000 in 2009.

“In the past you have heard several times Alfa promising such growth figures, but this time we have the right conditions, the right products and the right synergies to get there,” said the CEO of Alfa Romeo, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in June.

Confirming plans revealed in the Fiat-Chrysler alliance plan announced two months ago, Mr Wester said Alfa will launch six new products in the next four years.

Not counting the Giulietta hatch that replaces the 147 here in December, they include a five-door version of the MiTo, a new Spider, a medium SUV, a large SUV and the 159-replacing Giulia medium sedan and wagon, which is scheduled to appear in 2012.

As we’ve reported, the Golf-sized Giulietta hatchback is based on a new compact platform that is eventually forecast to underpin annual production of one million Fiat, Chrysler and Alfa vehicles.

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