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Following Separation from Ferrari, Maserati Plans New Alfa-Romeo-Based Model.

From a product-planning point of view, the dissolution of Ferrari and Maserati's partnership in the aftermath of the Fiat/GM debacle was the best thing that could have happened to both marques, as it was becoming obvious that Maserati was beginning to step on too many prancing hooves.Not only are the Enzo and the MC12 too close for comfort, but the proposed V-8-engined Maserati Coupe/Spider replacement also would have threatened Ferrari in terms of price and performance. But that car, seen below in an artist's interpretation, is now history, banished to the corporate graveyard.

Instead, thanks to the economies of scale provided by new owner Alfa Romeo, the Alfa Brera will form the basis for the next Maserati Spider in 2006 and the next Maserati Coupe in late 2008. After that, a stylish, Alfa Kamal-based Maserati crossover (the Kubang?) should enter production in 2007.

All three Maseratis will share the same basic hardware, including permanent four-wheel drive with a rowdy 70/30 rear-wheel bias, a version of BMW's active steering, and the first affordable set of composite disc brakes. According to Maserati, the new cars will combine the handling of the world's best rear-wheel-drive cars with the traction of upper-echelon four-wheel-drive cars.

Meanwhile, at Ferrari, it's business as usual. Modena cannot produce enough F430s, of course, but the 612 Scaglietti hasn't been as warmly received, so expect a face-lift one year ahead of schedule, in 2008. At next year's Detroit show, Ferrari is expected to roll out the 575M replacement, which is, in a nutshell, a shortened, two-seat 612S with different sheetmetal, a customizable interior, and a feisty, 6.0-liter V-12 good for about 575 hp. Preliminary work also has begun on the follow-up to the Enzo supercar, which is currently known as the FX70.