Modena, Italy - One of the best things to come out of Sergio Marchionne's aggressive five-year plan for his Fiat-Chrysler conglomerate, is the confirmation that the striking Maserati Alfieri concept - first seen at this year's Geneva motor show - would become a production model in its own right, rather than form the basis of the next-generation GranTurismo, as many speculated, to be released in 2018.
According to a report by Mark Tisshaw in Autocar, the production Alfieri will be based on a shortened version of the state-of-the-art platform on which the new Ghibli and Quattroporte are built, rather than the outgoing Granturismo chassis, as was the concept.
And on the same basis, the report adds, the soul-stirring but somewhat outdated 4.7-litre Granturismo V8 that nestles under the long bonnet of the concept will give way to three different versions of a turbocharged three-litre V6, sourced from Ferrari, rated at 301, 332 and 383kW respectively.
ALL-WHEEL DRIVE OPTION
The base engine will apparently be available in an entry-level rear-wheel-drive model, the two more muscular V6's in higher-specced all-wheel drive variants.
Add to that Tisshaw's expectation that the 'street' Alfieri 2+2 will be offered in either coupé or convertible format with prices starting around the €72 000 (R1 million) mark, and you get the idea that the new 'mid-range' Maserati will be aimed squarely at the Jaguar F-Type and the Porsche 911 market.
The Autocar report quoted launch dates of 2016 for the Alfieri coupé and 2017 for the convertible; local agent Viglietti cautioned us not to expect right-hand drive production to be allocated for the South African market before 2018 and 2019 respectively.