While we expected Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to unveil some exciting news for Maserati, our team didn’t anticipate all of the major changes officially announced in Auburn Hills. The Italian brand set lofty sales goals – 75,000 units in 2018 – that required some major undertakings with regard to engineering and production. The overall plan aims to expand the lineup to reach a greater audience while still channeling the sports car aura that made the Trident famous.
It came as no surprise, though it still received applause, when Maserati confirmed a 2015 launch for the Levante. This will mark the first time that a Sport Utility Vehicle will proudly wear the Trident. Not many technical specifications were released, but we did learn that the Levante will only be offered in all-wheel drive and will offer a choice between two V6 engines: one with 350 horsepower and a second with 425 horsepower. Yes, this SUV can handily smite its competition on the road, especially those bratwurst-crazed Germans.
The year of 2016 will herald the coming of a model we’ve all clamored for since the unveiling at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show: the Alfieri. This gorgeous concept was the result of passion for sports cars, and we all know the Italians are noted for their passionate ways. The production version of the Alfieri Concept will offer a 410 horsepower V6 that dispatches power to the rear wheels, as well as 450- and 520 horsepower V6 alternatives mated to an all-wheel-drive system. A year later, we will relish getting behind the wheel of a convertible variant of the Alfieri.
A final addition to the lineup will be diesel versions of the Ghibli and Quattroporte.
The Ghibli will receive a 250- and 275 horsepower diesel engine mated to a rear-wheel drive system; the Quattroporte and Levante will get a 340 horsepower diesel with all-wheel drive. These engines serve as further evidence of Maserati’s unwavering commitment to reaching its sales goals, for these diesel engines will be especially important in the European market.
Now don’t panic…
Maserati also announced that 2014 will be the final year of production for the GranTurismo until 2018. This means that the automaker will only sell the Ghibli and Quattroporte until the Levante hits showroom floors in 2015.
It will be worth the wait.
Remember: Tempo e pazienza cambiato la foglia di gelso di raso (Time and patience changed the mulberry leaf to satin).
When the GranTurismo returns to us, it will boast a 560-plus horsepower V8 mated to a pure rear-wheel-drive platform. We are certain that this monstrous sports car will require bibs to be handed out prior to laying eyes upon it; we also feel certain that driving it will be a purely white-knuckled driving experience.
Oh, and this engine will also be placed into the highest-end versions of the Levante, Ghibli, and Quattroporte.
In the words of Ray Arnold (Sam Jackson’s character in Jurassic Park), “Hold onto your butts.”