Maserati will reinvent itself in 2020 with a spectacular new mid-engined supercar. We’ve been to Modena to uncover its secrets.
Maserati looks like it’s going back to the big time. A huge new product offensive will include an all-new compact SUV, all-new GranTurismo/GranCabrio, all-new Quattroporte and all-new Levante. Before all of those, though, is a very big date: May 2020. This is the moment when Maserati’s all-new sports car will be launched – note, not a GT or SUV! The city of Modena will be transformed with a huge event that is promised to be nothing less than a relaunch of the Maserati brand.
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Well, it’s just got even more intriguing, following an Auto Italia visit to Modena. We were there to see Maserati’s Product Development Centre, which is shared with Alfa Romeo (see separate panel), but we also learnt some more about this year’s big news.
And that’s a new supercar. We’ve all been wondering what form will it take. Well, Maserati has given us a mighty clue by releasing ‘spy’ shots of its supercar mule on test. In contrast to the front-engined Alfieri concept coupe shown in 2014, the ‘spy’ car is clearly mid-engined. It is also much bigger than the similarly mid-engined Alfa Romeo 4C, which Maserati has been building at its Modena plant. Make no mistake, the ‘spy’ car is more than just a powertrain mule; it is in fact a close representation of the actual supercar.
Our first thought on seeing these images was: Alfa Romeo 8C. After all, it was only in June 2018 that CEO Sergio Marchionne announced Alfa’s forthcoming 8C, a mid-engined electric/petrol hybrid supercar with 700hp and four-wheel drive. The 8C’s launch date was announced as 2022, but in the latest October 2019 investor statement by FCA’s CEO, Michael Manley, there was no mention of the model. So our first question was: has the 8C been reborn as a Maserati? After all, Maserati is sharing technology – including electrification – with other brands within FCA (notably Alfa Romeo), while Alfa Romeo and Maserati share the same Product Development Centre.
But the answer, we think, is ‘no’. This is an all-new, Maserati-specific model – and excitingly a mid-engined two-seater that one insider told us would be “unlike anything Maserati has done before”. Not that Maserati is new to mid-engined cars; it has a long and illustrious history, starting with the Bora in 1971 and ending with the MC12, a coproject with Ferrari.
As for power, what’s offered will depend on specific market but we do know that the supercar will be Maserati’s first ever full electric vehicle. But here’s the exciting news: it will also be launched with a signature petrol V8 – confirmed by Maserati’s ‘MMXX’ website trailer featuring the glorious sound of a V8 at full chat. It’s a naturally aspirated V8 at that – hurrah! – which Maserati says is “a new 100% Maserati engine”. We also expect that V8 to be combined with batteries in a hybrid model.
As for the name, that’s yet to be revealed but it definitely won’t be Alfieri, as widely tipped, because that would lead to confusion with the quite different Alfieri concept car of 2014. The new car will be “something very different” according to my Maserati source. Maserati will not go to the Geneva Show in March 2020 (although the FCA group will – the all-new Fiat 500 will debut there). The Trident is instead doing its big launch on home soil in May 2020, when the new supercar will be unveiled in coupe form. A convertible will follow in 2021.
MASERATI’S NEW CAR BLITZ
Maserati’s entire range will be renewed by 2023, with electrification at its centre. Later this year, the facelifted Ghibli will become the first Maserati to be offered with a plug-in hybrid option. Then in May 2020 comes the new sports car, available in full-electric, hybrid and V8 petrol forms. After that, all new Maseratis will be offered with electric motors, either full-electric or hybrid.
2020: Ghibli/Quattroporte/Levante facelift
May 2020: Mid-engined coupe
Early 2021: All-new small SUV
Mid-2021: Mid-engined convertible
2021: All-new GranTurismo
2022: All-new GranCabrio and Quattroporte
2023: All-new Levante
We recently got a rare inside glimpse of the joint Maserati/Alfa Romeo Product Development Centre in Modena. This has its origins in a secret Alfa Romeo ‘skunkworks’ development centre set up in 2013 at Via Cavazza. CEO Sergio Marchionne kept it hidden away even from everyone – even FCA staff – enabling the all-important Giorgio platform (Giulia and Stelvio) to be developed in secret.
Maserati had something similar with its ‘Corsa’ department. When Via Cavazza was bursting at the seams, FCA decided to move both Alfa Romeo and Maserati in together in 2016 under one roof in a new facility at Via Emilia Ovest in Modena. This is the site we visited.
It’s huge, employing over 1100 people and during our walk through was a real hive of activity. We got to see the human-machine interface zone, the Giulia-based static simulator, and most impressive of all, the dynamic simulator (pic right), where Andrea Bertolini, Maserati’s chief test driver, told me: “This is the best simulator in the world, with about 92% correlation to real world driving. Here you can test 40 different engine/gearbox modes in one day, rather than about three months otherwise. The quality is very high, too, as you’re always testing in the same conditions.”