Report: Maserati SUV Frankfurt-Bound, New Sedans In The Pipeline

2011-maserati-quattroporte-front-three-quarter

We have long been hearing the rumors of a Maserati SUV based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. If a new report from Automotive News is correct, the trident-badged brand is planning not only an SUV, but two new sedans to help expand its market share tenfold.

First up, the Maserati SUV -- based on our past reporting, we have a pretty good idea of how and why it is coming to fruition. The Italian brand is looking to increase sales from around 5600 units last year to a healthy 50,000 units in the long-term. Porsche saw huge success with its Cayenne sport-utility vehicle, and Maserati will be following suit by tapping corporate cousin Chrysler for its SUV expertise. We’ve  long heard a Maserati crossover based off the Grand Cherokee is in the works, and Automotive News now says it should launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

If only by technicality, past reports of Ferrari-sourced power will be correct. The primary engine for the car is expected to be the 4.7-liter,Ferrari-derived V-8 currently used in the Quattroporte and GranTurismo/GranCabrio, albeit tuned to around 470 hp and mated to Chrysler’s new ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. There is also a chance that European customers will also be able to opt for a 300-hp version of the 3.0-liter diesel V-6 used in the EU-spec Grand Cherokee. No word on pricing, but ANreports that it will run “considerably more” than the €63,800 starting price of the European Grand Cherokee Overland. Will it look anything like the 2004 Kubang concept? We sure hope not.

On to the sedans:Maserati will use these two cars to replace the awkwardly sized Quattroporte, and target both the BMW 5 and 7 Series. Both will continue to use a front-engine/ rear-wheel-drive platform, and are expected to collectively account for 30,000-35,000 sales annually.

The “baby Quattroporte”-- codenamed M157 -- was reportedly developed as a flagship sedan for Alfa Romeo, but was bumped to Maseratidue of its international dealer network. According to AN, it will use a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter version of Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6, equipped with Fiat’s MulitAirtechnology and direct fuel injection. Expect output in the range of 400 hp. A more powerful version of the Grand Cherokee’s diesel V-6 could find its way into this car for European customers as well. Pricing is expected to slot in just above the 5 Series at€55,000 to €70,000.

The next-generation Quattroporte, codenamed M156, will grow in size to target the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. The 4.7-liter V-8 will return, tuned for 475 hp in this application, and will be paired to the ZF eight-speed from Chrysler’s parts bin. All-wheel drive will be available to remain competitive with the class, and a start-stop system will be included to help increase fuel economy by 25 percent. Expect pricing to range between €125,000 to €150,000.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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