Brand needs “raw emotion.”
The Maserati Alfieri coupe is going from our dreams into the showroom
Since it was revealed almost five years ago, Maserati has used its achingly beautiful Alfieri coupe simply as auto show eye candy, but now Autocar reports that a production version of the coupe will be launched a year from now at the 2020 Geneva motor show, with production starting in 2021 or 2022.
Maserati chief Harald Wester confirmed production plans and also revealed that when it arrives, the production Alfieri will come with the choice of three different drivetrains, all of them electrified in one manner or another.
Those powertrain options will be part of a more general electrification of the Maserati lineup. When all-new versions of the Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans and Levante SUV go into production by the end of 2022, as with the Alfieri, each model will be available in mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full battery electric versions. Wester told Autocar that their might even be more than one pure EV powertrain offered.
The pure battery-electric Alfieri will have a torque vectoring all-wheel-drive system driven by three electric motors powered by an 800-volt battery pack. The electrification of the Maserati range is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ strategy to make the Italian luxury performance brand the technology leader of the FCA group.
With the high development costs of electric vehicles, turning a profit on them in the short term will be a challenge for automakers, until production numbers go up and costs in turn go down. As a premium luxury brand, Wester believes Maserati has enough cachet to demand profitable prices on electric cars.
Wester said, “Maserati is one of the few brands who can sell cars at the cost and reality of the technology and still make money.”
Regarding the future of diesel power, which has fallen out of favor in Europe over concerns about particulate emissions, Wester said that was up to the politicians, not automakers.
As for gasoline engines, which Maserati currently sources from former FCA stablemate Ferrari, Wester said that relationship might not endure since Ferrari was spun off as a separate company. Wester acknowledged though, Ferrari’s considerable technical prowess, saying that Maserati (or a vendor) would have to “do something exceptional,” to match the motors coming out of Maranello.