As a celebration of the Italian automaker’s 100th year, Maserati’s latest concept is a telling preview of what’s to come. The Maserati Alfieri concept, a four-seat luxury sport coupe styled after Maserati GT cars from the 50s and 60s, debuted at the 2014 Geneva auto show looking nearly production-ready. Maserati swears up and down that the Alfieri concept is a fully-functional, completely realistic prototype, and that a car very similar to this could debut within two years’ time. We could eventually see an entry-level luxury sport coupe positioned below the existing Maserati GranTurismo, or an entirely new, slightly more affordable version of the GranTurismo.
Exotic design drawn from the past
As much as Maserati is looking forward, the Alfieri concept draws significantly from history. The Alfieri’s extended bonnet; long, sculpted shoulders flowing back from the front wheel arches; and low, slung-back cabin pay homage to the Pininfarina-designed 1954 Maserati A6 GCS-53. Its 2+2 arrangement also places it firmly within the tradition of Italian GT cars like the Maserati 3500 and 5000 GT.
Up front, there are clear evolutionary design cues that the Alfieri concept shares with the larger Maserati GranTurismo, starting with the low-hanging oval-shaped grille. Concave, chrome vertical bars and a more angular opening give the Alfieri a more aggressive personality, which is echoed by the pronounced front wheel arches and deeply incised hood lines.
The low windscreen, slung-back cockpit, and huge flared-out rear fenders help emphasize the sharply-raked roofline and short, bulging rear end. Over the rear wheels (21-inch forged aluminum compared to 20-inchers up front), a large, muscled character line runs toward the rear end, helping frame the fastback-style rear window. Sleek red-and-white taillights are integrated seamlessly with the enormous bracket-shaped rear air scoops that loom over the rear diffuser and dual exhaust. From the rear-three-quarter view, the Alfieri’s balance of sleek luxury and sporty proportions create a classy and exotic appeal that is distinct from the leaner, brasher Jaguar F-Type coupe. For lovers of sexy Italian exotic design, the promise that this car will inspire a production model bodes well for the future.
Party on the outside, business on the inside
In an interesting contrast to the heavily styled exterior, the interior of the Maserati Alfieri concept is refreshingly minimalist. Aside from the center-mounted touchscreen and fully digital instrument cluster, classic simplicity and understated form rule the restrained cabin. Maserati approached this interior with a retro-futuristic flair, pairing a smooth and airy design with faux-historical materials such as copper-colored trim and oxidized-steel floor finish. A handmade three-spoke steering wheel and aniline leather surfaces bring a dose of luxury, while the foldable rear sears and open luggage compartment add the functionality expected of a real GT car.
No doubt the Alfieri’s clean and bright cabin will be fitted all of the modern bells and whistles by the time it reaches production form. Nonetheless, it is exciting and refreshing to see Maserati take unique design approach that evokes its sporting history with imagination. We’re eager to see what it looks like in final form.
Even though Maserati pitches the Alfieri concept as a sportier alternative to the current GranTurismo (the concept has a 9.4-inch shorter wheelbase and is 13.5 inches shorter overall), the two cars have very similar mechanical parts.
The Maserati Alfieri concept is built on the chassis of the GranTurismo MC Stradale and uses the same transaxle platform used for the Maserati GranTurismo. Its 454-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 engine also comes from the current GranTurismo, as do the six-speed automatic gearbox and limited-slip rear differential. The Alfieri concept’s carbon ceramic brakes and Brembo brake calipers are cribbed from the racy MC Stradale, which are highlighted by “Maserati Blue” accents that match the side air ducts, grille, tailpipes, and rear diffuser.
The future of the brand?
Maserati is so far on its way to achieving its goal of ramping up sales to 50,000 units by 2015, and has already more than doubled sales from 6,200 to 15,400 vehicles between 2012 and 2013. The expansion began with the $66,850 Ghibli entry-level super-luxury sedan and will continue with the forthcoming Levante SUV. While many loyal Maserati fans have cried foul with regard to this strategy, which they perceive as diluting the brand’s desirability and exclusivity, the Alfieri concept is living proof that Maserati is still capable of exciting us with breathtaking design and exotic appeal. Let’s hope it, too, goes into production to help Maserati improve its market share.
Our impressions live from the Geneva show floor
— Todd Lassa (@AM_Lassa) March 4, 2014
— Todd Lassa (@AM_Lassa) March 4, 2014