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Maserati is looking to bring an entry-level sport car to market in 2016, around a year after it plans to launch a LaFerrari-based supercar. Meanwhile, a lighter, more powerful GranTurismo is set for a 2015 launch. Read on for the full scoop on Maserati’s sports car future.
Will the new Maserati sports car be mid-engined?
Afraid not, so dispel any thoughts of a Ferrari 458-chaser on the cheap. Engineers considered plumbing Maserati’s upcoming 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 into an Alfa Romeo 4C chassis, creating a ‘Maserati 6C’ model. However, that plan’s now dead in the water – because the ‘6C’ is simply too lairy, and expensive.
Why isn’t Maserati making a hotter Alfa 4C?
Aside from the cost of building Alfa’s carbon tub, the real headache was the extra weight and power of a V6 twin-turbo engine spoiling the chassis’s balance. Maserati was worried the resulting car would be too tail-happy and hardcore for Maserati’s traditional buyers – our insider source admitted: “We probably could teach this [car’s] layout decent road manners, but the result would always be an extremely sharp-edged and excessively raw driving machine”.
Estimates suggested 2000-3000 ‘6Cs’ could be sold annually, but such low volume would’ve pushed the cost of the car over £100,000 – twice the cost of the 4C and dangerously close to Maserati GranTurismo territory.
So, what sort of Maserati sports car are we getting instead?
Maserati is sticking to what it knows best, and opting for a front-engined 2+2 seater, with more compact dimensions than the GranTurismo. Using V6 engines only (with the possibility of a manual gearbox) and rear-drive, the ‘new Shamal’ would sit in the £75,000-100,000 price bracket, competing directly with the Porsche 911, and traditional two-seaters like the Jaguar F-type and Audi R8.
Under the skin, the new car will use a lightweight modular aluminium structure. The hard-top will arrive first, with a convertible version going on sale a year later.
How fast will Maserati’s 911 be?
That depends on which power level you opt for. Base-spec ‘S’ cars will get around 300bhp, while hotter GTS models will match a 911 Carrera S’s 400bhp output. Topping the range will be a more focused MC Stradale version, developing 450bhp.
Where does the GranTurimso fit into Maserati’s new sports car plans?
Maserati will replace the current GranTurismo in 2015. It’ll share its underpinnings with the Quattroporte and Ghibli saloons, and Maserati targeting an 1850kg kerbweight, down from the 1955kg of the current car.
Sources report the 2015 GranTurismo will stick to front-engined V8 power only – though the rear-mounted transaxle gearbox is for the chop. The powerplant is a 4.0-litre bi-turbo unit designed by Ferrari, and will develop 460bhp in the GranTurismo S, 530bhp in the GTS at 530bhp and a whopping 600bhp in the range-topping MC Stradale – plus heaps more torque than today’s normally aspirated motor.