Maserati Alfieri delayed until at least 2020
Maserati Alfieri concept
Maserati’s Alfieri sports car will now be launched after the next Granturismo and Grancabrio; now expected at the start of the next decade
The Granturismo and Grancabrio are now slated to be replaced in 2018-2019, followed by the Alfieri in 2020-2021, as Maserati rejigs its forward planning.
At one stage, the Alfieri, shown as a well-received concept at Geneva in 2014, was scheduled for a 2016 launch and the future of the Granturismo was in doubt.
However, Giulio Pastore, general manager of Maserati Europe, has told Autocar the Granturismo and Grancabrio are vital elements of the Maserati line-up.
“The Granturismo and Grancabrio will not be dropped,” he said. “We won’t forget that Maserati is very well known in its history for beautiful 2+2 GT cars and we will replace them, then the Alfieri.”
It also looks as though the future of the Grancabrio is now assured. A previous product plan had it ending production and being replaced by a soft-top Alfieri.
Key decisions on the platform and styling of the Alfieri are also yet to be taken, Pastore said. Maserati could leave the design sign-off until 2018 for a 2020 sales launch.
The Levante SUV took 22 months to get into production after it received the green light, Maserati’s exterior design chief, Giovanni Ribotta, told Autocar.
Ribotta also designed the Alfieri concept and the Ghibli and was part of the design team on the new Quattroporte.
“The Alfieri has been very important for Maserati,” he said. “The grille and much of the shape and details have influenced the Ghibli and the Levante.”
Pastore also ruled out a compact SUV that could be positioned below the Levante to tackle the Porsche Macan and Range Rover Evoque.
The impending Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV is expected to take that slot in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) line-up. “We have other group cars and companies that will occupy that [compact SUV] territory,” he said.
Maserati now has its fullest model line-up yet and must deliver on forecasts to sell 75,000 cars a year by 2018 and contribute profits to the FCA bottom line.
The Levante is being launched in the UK this week with a single engine option — a 275bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel — and two trim levels: Luxury and Sport. Prices start from £54,000.
However, Pastore made encouraging comments that the Ferrari-derived 3.0-litre petrol V6 from the Ghibli will be launched in the Levante.
“There is a strong likelihood. I have a very good feeling about that,” he said.
The top-spec Levante has optional Zegna trim developed in conjunction with the Italian design house. Zegna trim features a rare automotive application of silk on the seats and door panels, adding an unusually smooth texture.
Maserati and its suppliers have spent a couple of years developing the luxury material for automotive use, which involves new manufacturing techniques to ensure longevity over a vehicle’s long lifespan.
In conjunction with Zegna, Maserati is launching the Levante at Harrods in London with a customer event for around 40 potential new owners.