How Maserati plans to become a Porsche rival again
Thursday 17th September, 2020 - 9:54am
Maserati hailed the all-new MC20 as the start of a “new era” for the Italian brand. Now, it has revealed some of the details about what we can expect in this new age.
A flood of new models and a push towards electrification will headline the next generation of Maserati models as the brand gets a major investment boost from parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
Why the investment? Because Ferrari is officially no longer part of the FCA, having been floated in 2015. That means that the newly merged FCA and Peugeot-Citroen conglomerate – known as a Stellantis – needs a hero brand. Maserati will step into the breach to fill the gap left by Ferrari, as the Italian answer to German giant Porsche.
It also comes in the wake of the failed attempt to relaunch Alfa Romeo as a serious premium player, with its two-model line-up of Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV failing to lure buyers around the world.
Is it a coincidence that plans for an Alfa Romeo 8C were cancelled last year? The new 8C was meant to be a mid-engine supercar with a carbon fibre chassis powered by a twin-turbo engine. In other words, a lot like the Maserati MC20 the company managed to design and engineer from the ground up in just two years…
Maserati has long been seen as the key to FCA and now Stellantis financial success, with its potential for high-margin models with global appeal. That’s why FCA previously invested in the creation of the Levante SUV as well as reviving the Ghibli mid-size sedan alongside the bigger Quattroporte.
So what are Stellantis’ plans to revive Maserati? The company laid out the details of its revival at the MC20 unveiling and it’s extensive with 16 new or updated models by the end of 2024. Here’s what you can expect.
The word is Italian for lightning and it’s the name for the brand’s all-new electric powertrain. This will consist of three electric motors (one on the front axle and two on the rear) which will be paired with an 800-volt electrical system.
It’s believed the Folgore will be a modular system that can be utilised across all new models the brand has planned in the next three years.
The MC20 is the brand’s first supercar since the Ferrari Enzo-based MC12, but since that time the GranTurismo two-door, four-seat coupe has been the performance heart of the brand.
Production finally ended in 2019 and the MC20 has taken over its old production line, but the company has teased its return next year. A partial-silhouette of the new model has been revealed by the company, showing it has retained the same basic outline as the current car.
However, the detail of the design is expected to be in line with the 2014 Alfieri concept, which was widely praised at its unveiling. It had originally been expected to spawn its own two-seat coupe but eventually Maserati decided to use the styling for the new-generation GranTurismo.
Expect the new ‘Nettuno’ 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that debuted in the MC20 to power the GranTurismo. Or at least the petrol version, with a Folgore version expected to join the range as well.
While the MC20 and GranTurismo will bring some much-needed sparkle to the brand, what Maserati really needs is more sales and that’s where the Grecale comes in.
It will be the brand’s second SUV, a mid-size model that will compete against the likes of the Porsche Macan, BMW X3 and Mercedes-AMG GLC. It’s expected to be based on the same ‘Giorgio’ underpinnings as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, but will get the Nettuno V6 and the Folgore fully-electric powertrain.
This will be the drop-top version of the new GranTurismo and will follow the same plan. So expect both the V6 petrol and EV powertrain options as the brand caters to the new luxury audience that is split between traditional and futuristic performance.
2022 MC20 Spider and EV
The new MC20 is just what the brand needed, a proper sports car with a twin-turbo engine mounted in the middle, but it’s only the beginning.
By 2022 the brand will add not one, but two new variants with both an open-top Spider and fully-electric version.
The Spider is a traditional addition to any sports car line-up, giving Maserati a rival to the popular Porsche 911 Cabriolet variants.
The MC20 EV is more ground-breaking, pushing the brand further into an electric future where performance is measured in speed not capacity. The Folgore powertrain should endow the MC20 with suitably rapid performance, without pushing into the hypercar territory occupied by the likes of Rimac C_Two and Lotus Evija.
Having spent the previous years introducing all-new models by 2023 the brand will be ready to renew its core line-up. The Quattroporte executive sedan will become an all-new model, replacing the current car that arrived in 2013.
Once again, in this age of modular platforms, the new Quattroporte will utilise the Nettuno V6 and Folgore EV for motivation.
Like the Quattroporte, the Levante SUV will get an all-new model in 2023, replacing the first-generation model that arrived in 2016. It’s likely it will use a modified version of the new Quattroporte underpinnings, as like the rest of the range will be available with both the V6 petrol and electric powertrains.