Turning away from the sports car: Maserati brings models for the masses


Maserati brings models for the masses

Turning away from the sports car: Maserati brings models for the masses-

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Fit for the terrain: The Maserati Kubang study will go into series production as the Levante. The Italian sports car manufacturer is thus expanding its portfolio.

Source: picture alliance / dpa-tmn / srw cw

Turning away from the sports car: Maserati brings models for the masses- According to reports, it will be offered for less than 80,000 euros with two power levels, a diesel engine and optionally with all-wheel drive. ">

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The Ghibli, on the other hand, will compete with the BMW 5 Series, the E-Class from Mercedes and the Audi A6. It is reportedly under 80,000 euros with two performance levels, a Didonkey engine and optionally with all-wheel drive.

Source: Maserati

Turning away from the sports car: Maserati brings models for the masses-

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With the Maserati Ghibli from 1967, the new one has little more in common than the name. The first Ghibli was…

Source: Getty Images / Car Culture

Turning away from the sports car: Maserati brings models for the masses-

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… a robust sports car that was offered both as a coupe and a convertible.

Source: picture alliance / DPPI Media

Turning away from the sports car: Maserati brings models for the masses-

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In terms of size, the Ghibli from 2013 fits into the current Maserati family under the new Quattroporte.

Source: Maserati

The Italian brand used to stand for luxury sports cars, now it is becoming more bourgeois with models for the upper middle class to compete with BMW and Mercedes. Even a diesel will come.

D.he man has confidence and self-confidence. Actually speaks of a growth of more than 500 percent. And that at a time when the new car business is going downhill. Harald Wester, the German Fiat manager who has been at the helm of the sports car manufacturer Maserati for five years, says with full conviction: "We will increase our annual production to at least 50,000 vehicles by 2015."

That wouldn’t just be a success story from Modena, the Italian headquarters; it would be a little miracle. In 2008, its best year, 9,000 cars rolled off the assembly line with a trident in the radiator grille.

Wester’s goal sounds presumptuous, but the Fiat subsidiary apparently feels well prepared. The optimistic target is not only derived from the stable growth forecasts for the Chinese and American luxury markets, it is also based on a major product offensive: parent company Fiat plans to invest around 1.2 billion euros in Maserati over the next few years, thereby expanding the model range. "Today we cover 20 percent of the luxury market with Quattroporte, GT and Cabrio," says Wester. “That will change significantly.” He wants to turn a fine niche manufacturer into a broad-based premium brand.

The new Quattroporte, which was introduced at the turn of the year, marks the first step in this strategy. With a view to the Chinese, who prefer to be chauffeured than to take the wheel themselves, the luxury liner has not only become more modern and playful, but above all much more spacious – and with a base price of 114,320 euros, it is also correspondingly more expensive.

Eight-cylinder coupe

This upgrade creates a gap that Maserati is trying to fill with a new model: the Ghibli. The fans of the traditional brand still associate the name with a V8 coupe from the 1960s and an angular coupe from the 1990s. The 2013 Ghibli has nothing to do with this past.

It has two more doors and two fewer cylinders; the sedan starts as a competitor to the Mercedes E-Class or the BMW 5 Series and gets a new six-cylinder engine. The S version of the three-liter turbo engine is powered by 410 hp; it is also available with 330 hp. The smaller version at prices well below 80,000 euros has a standard consumption of 9.6 liters, accelerates from zero to 100 in 5.6 seconds and is optionally available with all-wheel drive.

For the first time in Maserati history, it will also be fitted with a diesel engine that has 275 hp. It still manages the sprint to 100 km / h in 6.3 seconds and, according to the manufacturer, consumes 6.0 liters.

Levante for the terrain

While Maserati developed all of its gasoline engines with the help of its sister brand Ferrari and produced what is perhaps the most seductive sound in the entire upper middle class, Wester uses a 3.0-liter engine from the Italian supplier VM for the diesel engine. It is no secret in the industry that the engines that are mainly used in Jeeps do not enjoy the best reputation.

"We will revise the V6 so that the Ghibli drives like a Maserati and sounds like a Maserati," promises Harald Wester. The Italians have hired a handful of diesel specialists for this purpose. “If they do their job well, the V6 won’t stay in the Ghibli. I can also imagine the engine in the Quattroporte, better than a hybrid. "

The new strong duo of Quattroporte and Ghibli is intended to move the premium brand a good deal out of its niche and double or even triple sales. But it would be too ambitious to expect more than 40,000 registrations from these models. That is why the first Maserati SUV will strengthen the presence of the Italians next year. The Levante is based on the IAA study Kubang, but will be significantly refined inside and out, promises Fiat man Wester.

Help from the USA

Although the Italians let their US relatives at Jeep help and use the architecture of the Grand Cherokee, the Levante should still get its own DNA: "The car will be a Maserati through and through," promises the brand boss. The attribute should remain high quality to classy. Although there are cheaper alternatives, the all-wheel drive is built in Italy, it drives with the same eight-speed automatic from ZF as the Quattroporte. “And of course he gets his own engines,” says Wester.

With the cared-up team, the work is not done for Wester. He has to cultivate the fascination of Maserati: sports cars. It’s not just about the successors to the Gran Coupe and Gran Cabrio. Wester is also thinking of a smaller 2 + 2-seater that will target the Porsche 911 with its lightweight construction and around 500 hp.

Wester also wants to intensify its collaboration with Ferrari. So far, the sister company has only built the engines for Maserati and will have to increase production for this if Wester’s plans work.

Modena is getting too small

In the future, the boss could undertake to take over individual assemblies. The rumor of an offshoot of the "LaFerrari" with a trident gets new nourishment. Both brands would benefit from this: Ferrari could transfer the horrific development costs to more than the planned 499 units. Maserati would have a model to further substantiate the diversity.

In the small world of Maserati, the new strategy has already broken the old limits. In the past, all cars were built in Modena, now only convertibles and coupes roll off the assembly line there. The Italians build the Quattroporte and Ghibli in a Bertone factory, and for the Levante they have chosen an Italian factory belonging to the Fiat group. Wester says: "Building all the new cars in our homeland would have blown the factory."

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