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Michele Lupini - Cars in Action
Posted Tue, 08 Jun 2004

While the next Maserati mule that pounded the Nurburgring Nordscheife is a coupe disguised to look as though it could be a coupe-cabriolet, the Trident is busy on both a proper coupe and a coupe-cabriolet (or will that be SportSpyder – for SS).

Based on the same platform as the awesome Quattroporte but with its double-wishbone underpinnings fettled for a sportier drive, the next GT and SportSpyder will have the same new Quattroporte-based 345kW 4.5-litre V8 at its service, which it will also share with the forthcoming Ferrari 360 replacement to make it one of the quickest convertibles out there come launch time in 2006.

And while Merc SL and Lexus SC rival SS will continue as a 2-seater, the newcomer’s longer wheelbase is expected to ensure that the Coupe will be a comfortable 2+2 in its closed guise. But don’t think that the outgoing models will escape the scalpel either – they will go under the knife still this year to coincide with the Quattroporte’s imminent US release.

Now headed by former Ford of Europe boss Martin Leach, Maserati has big plans for the future and intends to ramp up its total sales to a 10 000-a-year target from this year’s expected 4800 as Maserati positions itself as the brand future Ferrari drivers will move through on their way up from a BMW or Mercedes.

Maserati is also involved with a joint venture with Audi, VW and perhaps even Porsche, which it is expected to supply transaxle drivetrains to, as those German marques join the rush toward a front-engined rear-wheel driven future…


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