Future Italian Sports Cars from Lamborghini, Maserati, and Ferrari

Big engines, sexy looks, and carbon fiber construction on the agenda.

Lamborghini Asterion

What We Know

Underneath its aluminum and carbon-fiber bodywork, the Lamborghini Asterion would combine a mid-mounted, 602-hp V-10 engine with three electric motors for a combined output of 897 hp. The 5.2-liter, naturally aspirated gas engine would drive the Asterion's rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission while a pair of electric motors hooked up to a computer-operated torque vectoring system on the front axle would power the hybrid car's front wheels. A third electric motor positioned between the engine and the transmission would incorporate an integrated starter and generator, drawing its energy from a lithium-ion battery. A drive selector would allow the Asterion to operate in three modes: hybrid, rear-wheel-drive gas only, or all electric. Max all-electric range would be about 30 miles, and the Asterion would be able to hit an all-electric top speed of 78 mph before its V-10 kicks in. Hybrid mode would offer max performance, launching the Asterion from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds and onto a top speed of 199 mph, and cross-drilled and vented carbon-ceramic disc brakes would slow the car.

Why It Matters

While its design would reach into Lambor­ghini's past, the Asterion's hybrid powertrain would be a first for the Italian automaker. No doubt Lamborghini's technology and engineering department would benefit from its familial ties with Audi and the R8 e-tron program. The Asterion could not seriously challenge the Porsche 918, LaFerrari, or McLaren P1, but it could function as a modern, hyper GT car, a flagrant outlier in Lambo's ultra-performance sports-car lineup. Most important, the Asterion is the first sign of an interest in technologies that could very well shape Lamborghini's future.

Potential Pitfalls

Plans to build the Asterion are tenuous at best, and sources close to the project say it is unlikely to be approved. CEO Stephan Winkelmann has said many times that Lamborghini has no interest in hybrids. Yet the Asterion concept that debuted at last year's Paris auto show looked awfully close to a production-intent model, suggesting there is some internal disagreement about how realistic this project really is.

When to Expect It

VW Group will watch closely how the supercar market takes to the all-electric 2016 Audi R8 e-tron. If the Lamborghini Asterion does come to life, it could debut as early as 2017.

Maserati Alfieri

What We Know

When Maserati unveiled the Alfieri at the 2014 Geneva auto show, there was little doubt a production version would follow. After all, this was no clay model but an actual running, driving car. Built on a Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale chassis with nearly 10 inches chopped out of it, the 4.7-liter, V-8-powered show car with a curvaceous body reportedly needs few changes to be production-viable. Since then, we've learned the Alfieri is indeed moving forward as a focused, sportier, lower-cost alternative to the company's larger GranTurismo. The Alfieri will be shorter in height and length than the GranTurismo for a lower center of gravity as well as higher braking and cornering limits. As Maserati's new entry-level sports coupe, the Alfieri should use the Ferrari-designed, turbocharged, 3.0-liter V-6 found in the Ghibli sedan, although dis­placement could grow. Power will likely range from the Ghibli S Q4's 404 hp in entry-level rear-wheel-drive models to upward of 500 hp in all-wheel-drive variants. (This strategy echoes that of Jaguar's F-Type, and it keeps embarrassing headlines about celebrity crashes to a minimum.) There's virtually no hope for a manual transmission, but you can expect a more aggressively tuned version of the Ghibli's excellent eight-speed automatic.

Why It Matters

Company CEO Harald Wester describes Maserati as a luxury-car brand, positioned a rung beneath Ferrari in exclusivity. But unlike Ferrari, Maserati has struggled to bring the styling, passion, and heritage of past models to its modern-day lineup. The Alfieri demonstrates Maserati finally sees the errors of its ways, presenting wildly romantic bodywork that recalls the Pininfarina-bodied A6GCS of the 1950s, which stopped most Geneva showgoers dead in their tracks. The Alfieri name is an homage to one of the Maserati brothers who founded the company a century ago. More than that, the Alfieri promises to be the most focused car the marque has built in decades. Done right, it could drive like the $100,000 Ferrari that Maranello won't build.

Potential Pitfalls

Maserati aims at a heavy-hitting segment. Think Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type, and Mercedes-AMG GT. The 911 is arguably the sharpest of that trio, while the Jaguar and Mercedes offer their own impressive blends of sport and luxury. If the production version of the Alfieri looks anything like the concept, its styling will help distinguish it in the marketplace, but it will still need to drive like a baby supercar in order to be taken seriously.

When to Expect It

Coupes should start production in late 2016 as 2017 models. Convertibles should follow a year later.

What We Know

The FF has brought the classic Ferrari 2+2 into a new era with a 6.3-liter V-12 channeling 651 hp to all four wheels, but you can hardly call its hatchback styling sexy. Fortunately, drawings of a revised FF that have surfaced online—said to be internal patent sketches—show a new coupe-like profile. Steeply raked rear glass transforms the FF into a four-seat supermodel. Little should change under the new aluminum skin, keeping costs down. The FF Coupe could be sold concurrently with the standard FF as an M variant, with a 50-hp increase.

Why It Matters

Pininfarina has been responsible for styling most regular-production Ferrari 2+2s dating back to the 1960 250 GTE. Though the 2+2s haven't quite matched the beauty of their two-seat contemporaries, they have at least been stylish, elegant solutions to stuffing four people in a supercar. An FF Coupe could continue that tradition and strengthen sales for the model, putting more money in the coffers for the LaFerrari successor.

Potential Pitfalls

The penalty of a fastback roofline is less rear-seat headroom, which limits use as a true 2+2. An optional rear parcel shelf would make sense.

When to Expect It

Production by the end of 2016 is viable.

What about the... Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6?

There's almost no chance the stunningly beautiful Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept won't make it into production. Everyone at the helm of Bentley wants to bring the V-8 coupe to life. (And we really hope the automaker does.)

What about the... Lamborghini Aventador?

Yes, there will be a replacement for Lamborghini's flagship. And yes, it will have a naturally aspirated V-12 engine mounted longitudinally behind the driver. The supercar is due in 2021.

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