The Maserati Alfieri Stars at the Geneva Motor Show
Centenary Concept Explores Maserati’s Stylistic Heritage Hints at Brand’s Future Design Language
The striking new concept bears the name of Alfieri, the most prominent of the Maserati brothers, and the engineering genius who founded “Officine Alfieri Maserati” in Bologna a century ago. The Alfieri was created at the Maserati Centro Stile in Turin by a small group of talented young designers led by Marco Tencone. The project was masterminded by Lorenzo Ramaciotti.
In this, its 100th year, the Maserati Company is in fine health. An ambitious plan that took off in 2013 with the presentation of the Quattroporte and Ghibli models is transforming the Italian manufacturer into a serious player in the premium sports car segment. In just one year, from 2012 to 2013, sales increased by 150%, from 6,200 to 15,400 cars.
Today Maserati is a global automotive player with a complete model range made up of two four-door saloons, two GT sports cars, four engines (a V8, a V6 Twin Turbo, a V8 NA and a turbo Diesel), and two different architectures (AWD & RWD). And there’s an SUV coming soon!
The Maserati Alfieri Concept
The Alfieri is being unveiled at just the right time to re-establish Maserati’s true orientation in terms of design and production. If the new Quattroporte and Ghibli gave the impression that Maserati was becoming oriented towards sporty, upper class four door saloons, this new concept is striking back and reminding everybody that the brand has a remarkable racing heritage and a unique tradition in exotic GT cars.
There is no doubt that the Alfieri concept represents the true essence of the Maserati brand. It is a sleek, Italian style 2+2 like the 1957 3500 GT, the 1959 5000 GT and the 1969 Indy before it, and clearly affirms Maserati’s racing DNA. Sportier in character than the GranTurismo, the Alfieri boasts proportions that might well be archetypal for a future true sport car and certainly hint at the brand’s stylistic intentions for the near future. “Maserati doesn’t change. Maserati is always Maserati”, as Ramaciotti puts it.
As with all concept cars, there is a strong desire to turn the Alfieri into reality. Though not yet at the final prototype stage like tomorrow’s grand touring, it has nevertheless been conceived, designed and created in an approach aimed at 100% realism.
According to Lorenzo Ramaciotti, “The Alfieri is a transition point between 100 glorious years of history and the future that is opening up before us. I sincerely can’t say that we’ll see this car in production in two years-time, but I’m certain we’ll see something very similar.”
The development process kicked off last summer. Designers were asked to start from a blank sheet to create a concept for Maserati’s centenary. The sketches that would lead to what is now the Alfieri emerged among various other proposals.
One of the most fascinating cars of all times, the Maserati A6 GCS-53 designed by Pininfarina in 1954, proved a valuable source of inspiration for the designers. Far more than a rare racing machine for gentlemen drivers, the A6 GCS-53 was a masterpiece of design. It was also the last car that Pininfarina designed on a Maserati model before making a comeback in the first decade of the 21st century with the Quattroporte and the GranTurismo. The A6 GCS-53 was an iconic piece of automotive technology and simply breathtaking for its proportions and design features: a diminutive cabin positioned almost over the rear wheels, a seemingly endless bonnet and long, sinuous wings stretching nearly to the rear wheels.
The Alfieri is obviously much more than a futuristic interpretation of the A6 GCS-53. Maserati has a diversified design history that encourages designers to look forward rather than back: “We wanted the Alfieri to test future design paths”, Ramaciotti explains. “The car is very aggressive but still sober in style, forceful but understated.”
The acronym A6 GCS stood for Alfieri 6 cylinder, Ghisa, Corsa, Sport, epithets that well convey its long bonnet, and rear-set 2 place cabin.
While the inverted A pillars of the A6 GCS-53 were not an option in the new Alfieri, their optical effect has been recreated by a sculptured line that starts from the bonnet and fades to the door high line, making the windscreen look larger.
The long, low nose is a stylistic evolution from contemporary Maserati models. The grille is divided vertically into two concave sections that seem to hang in the air. The sleek DRLs are connected by a clear accent line with the iconic “V” motif in the centre. The aggressive headlights incorporate bi-xenon-LED bulbs and are rendered distinctive by a characteristic eyebrow, repeated on the twin exhaust tail pipes.
The three dimensional candy-cane tail lights are made up of two red external elements with a white element inside. Their shape harmoniously follows the rear shoulder of the car and complements the air ducts underneath to create an impressive, racing style rear view.
The Alfieri’s designers have developed a streamlined, uncluttered form where the only decorative elements - the restyled triple air ducts on the wheel arches - are finely integrated. This eye-catching silhouette almost entices you to caress it.
The wheels have been specially designed for the Alfieri concept. Forged from single aluminium elements, the 21” diameter rear and 20” front wheels feature integrated decorative spokes that wink at the classic spoke wheels of the 1950s.
Though form is the dominant element, colour and detail play a key supporting role. A liquid metal colour called “Steel Flair” has been chosen for this Maserati 100th anniversary concept. This choice of finish gives the Alfieri’s elegant shape a refined, technical and contemporary look, as if a metallic veil has been draped over a naked body
The decorative spokes of the forged wheels, the brake calipers, the grille, the iconic triple air ducts, the rear diffuser, the provocative eyebrow of the exhaust tail pipes are all finished in Maserati Blue. The Alfieri signature, retrieved from an old Maserati document and sculpted in the number plate recess on the rear of the car is also in blue. The front bumper spoiler and rear diffuser are in carbon fibre with aluminium inserts.
In the 2+2 seat cabin, the design team have created a study in simplicity and minimalism. The suspended dashboard is conceptually inspired by that of the Maserati 5000 GT. The dashboard boasts a clean, organic, two-tone design built around a central TUFT screen.
The instrument panel has a classic layout with two main clocks with two smaller ones in between. The edge of each is embellished with a small "Officine Maserati" label.
Rather than analogue clocks, the instrument panel features TFT displays inspired by modern photographic camera menus in the way they indicate km/h and engine rpm. Instead of a rotating indicator, the numbers themselves rotate around the clocks. Current speed and RPM are highlighted by a magnifying glass effect.
There is even a touch of racing brutality inside the Alfieri. The floor is finished in a material that imitates oxidised steel, a material commonly found on racing cars of the 1950s.
Luna white and dark Basalt blue are the dominant colours inside the airy Alfieri cockpit. Poltrona Frau aniline leather with a natural look and feel covers the seats, dashboard and central console. Copper subtly highlights the most character lines and brings a retro feeling to an otherwise futuristic environment.
The interior has a classic 2+2 layout with an open space luggage compartment. The rear seat backrests have a unique, elongated design. Well visible from the outside, they add a sense of speed to the interior. The rear seats tilt forwards through 90 degrees and also serve as luggage bulkheads.
The seat profile inserts, gearbox lever and oval clock on the central console are milled from single piece aluminium billets, hand finished and anodised in a natural copper colour. All other aluminium components, including the pedals, gearbox paddles and steering wheel spokes are also hand finished and anodised in a palladium colour.
The passenger seats, though inspired by the racing bucket seats of the '50s, look futuristic and have a modern structure with half-integrated headrests and a bridge-like profile that serves as main structural element.
The three-spoke steering wheel and the crown deep in its centre form a three dimensional sculpture that seems to have been crafted in the workshop of an Italian artisan. Like the remainder of the Alfieri's interior, it too is 100% handmade.
The oval clock with red-blue back plate incorporates two sub-dials and is obviously inspired by a classic chronograph.
The Alfieri is based on the GranTurismo MC Stradale chassis with a 24 centimetre shorter wheelbase, giving it the proportions of a genuine supercar. Alfieri is4,590 mm long with a 2,700 mm wheelbase, 1,930 mm wide and 1,280 mm high.
Under the sleek body lies the transaxle platform of the Maserati GranTurismo. This 4.7 litre, naturally aspirated, V8 engine from Maranello develops 460 bhp @ 7,000 rpm and 520 Nm @ 4,750 rpm and gives the Alfieri a real driving force. Thanks to a special exhaust layout, this thoroughbred V8 also produces a breathtaking sound that made a real impression in Geneva when the concept was unveiled.
A six-speed, electro-actuated gearbox (MC Shift) is mounted in a single unit with the limited slip rear differential and connected to the engine via a rigid torque tube. The transaxle layout gives the Alfieri an optimized front-rear weight distribution with a slight predominance to the rear axle.
The Alfieri's carbon ceramic disc brakes come directly from the GranTurismo MC Stradale and are combined with blue Brembo brake calipers.
Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition
After making its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motorshow, the exclusive Quattroporte developed in collaboration with Ermenegildo Zegna is finally being introduced in definitive form. A limited series of only 100 cars will go into production in July to satisfy demand from the world's most refined customers.
Compared to the current Quattroporte range, the Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition boasts a special finish in terms of colour, materials and trim, carefully chosen to embody all the personality, quality and exclusivity that link the histories and traditions of the Maserati and Zegna brands.
The exterior is finished in Platinum Silk, a colour developed exclusively for this Limited Edition. This unique paint finish uses extra-fine aluminium pigments to create an effect that combines the purity of a metal with the soft look of silk, giving a sensation of infinite depth. The Platinum Silk finish is characterised by a warm, soft tint that perfectly expresses the car's classic and formal yet technical and sophisticated character. The flowing liquid effect of the paintwork emphasises the sinuous lines of the bodywork and accentuates the way in which one section flows into the next.
The same finish is also applied to the elegant Mercurio 20" wheels whose diamond smoothed surfaces create a high-tech, sporting chromatic effect. The surfaces of the large aluminium brake calipers have been hand polished to mirror brightness, making them instantly recognisable. A special Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition plate on the B pillar identifies the car from the outside.
If the exterior is already unique and elegant, the interior of the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition is even more breathtaking. The cabin is finished in brand new, warm and classical Moka colours - a modern Testa di Moro dark brown and Greige, a delicate fusion of light grey and sabbia. The result conveys a formal, sophisticated character through a combination of leather and silk inspired by the fabrics of the Zegna menswear collections. Ultra-fine grain leather lines the interior, blending the two tones of Mocha and Grey. A generous use of contrasting stitching provides the perfect balance, embellishing the entire dashboard and the upper door panels. At various points around the cabin, leather blends into precious Ermenegildo Zegna fabrics, specially created for this unique car but with the same sensuous feel that has ensured the prestige of the brand's traditional fabrics. A fine Grey jersey silk fabric, specially designed by Ermenegildo Zegna, has been chosen for the roof lining and sunshades. Just like an original Zegna suit, the inside of the sunshades carry exclusive brand labels “Ermenegildo Zegna Exclusively for Maserati” that not only confirm the Maserati-Zegna partnership but also discreetly remind the customer of the attention to detail that has gone into the design and finish of all aspects of the car.
The same fabric also covers the central door panels which also feature diagonal double stitching. The upper sections of the pillars are covered in Grey Alcantara.
The seats envelop the passengers like designer suits; with an exclusive 100% silk chevron weave making its appearance alongside the ultra-fine grain leather. This bright, soft and velvety smooth fabric, expertly produced at the historical Zegna woollen mills of Trivero, covers the central seat and backrest sections. The most interesting design challenge was precisely to develop a “Zegna” automotive fabric with the look of formal men's wear. The fabric had to have a masculine pattern typical of the best traditional weaves, and also needed to have the feel, softness and prestige typical of Zegna cloth.
Chrome surfaces, specially treated to produce a distinctive satin finish, provide striking contrast for the fabric expressly created for the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition and the warm nuances of Mocha and Grey.
The loving care lavished on every little detail is demonstrated by features like the expertly crafted brass "Limited Edition One of 100" plate set into the central console and the exclusive radica walnut trim whose open pore surface and natural wood feel go magnificently with the other materials of the interior.
Ermenegildo Zegna has also designed an exclusive Owner's Collection kit for sale along with the car. This contains a generous assortment of 19 refined articles including leather items, personal accessories and a 3.5 metre cut of fine Zegna silk decorated with the same chevron motif as the seats and bordered with a special celebratory selvage. Each of the precious items in the kit is the result of a thorough study of the concept underlying the partnership. The kit is designed to target the refined customer base the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition is intended for, and is only available to the one hundred future purchasers of the car.
In addition to the other unique features conceived and developed for this limited edition and the Quattroporte's already rich level of standard equipment, each of the one hundred Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition cars also include a series of items chosen to maximise driving pleasure in terms of comfort, refinement and practicality. An opening sunroof, front seat ventilation and a four zone climate control system for the rear passengers have been added to achieve the highest possible level of on-board comfort.
The car is also fitted with an exclusive Bowers&Wilkins Premium Sound System with 15 speakers, including a powerful sub-woofer, a 1280 Watt amplifier and Quantum Logic Surround technology.
Standard equipment includes steel pedals with rubber inserts, a removable ash-tray in the front drinks holder, and an 18" space-saver spare wheel in the boot.
Under the bonnet of the Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition lies a mighty V8 twin-turbo capable of developing 530 HP and an impressive torque of 710 Nm. This engine pushes the car to a top speed of 307 km/h and accelerates it from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds.
Maserati Trofeo MC World Series 2014
The Maserati MC World Series Trophy was launched in 2010 and is now about to begin its fifth season with a calendar of events arranged in six rounds and visiting six countries on three different continents. After collective trials on the 12th April in Vallelunga, the first race of the season will take place over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd May on the Spa circuit in Belgium, coinciding with the World Endurance Championship. The second round, scheduled for the 31st May and 1st June, moves to the Hungaroring track in Hungary to complement the third meeting of the DTM series. On the 19th and 20th July, the Silverstone circuit in the UK will host the racing, along with the International GT Open, concluding the first part of the season. The European Trophy will be presented to the driver leading the points table after these first three races.
The second part of the series kicks off in the USA on the 23rd and 24th August with the Maserati MC World Series Trophy moving to the Virginia International Raceway near Danville, Virginia, on the occasion of the Tudor USCC Championship. After this visit to America, the cars will fly to Shanghai in China for the 11th and 12th October, to partner the WTCC. As in 2013, the final race of the season will be held on the Yas Marina circuit in the United Arab Emirates on the 11th and 12th December to coincide with the Abu Dhabi 12 Hours race. The season's closing ceremony will also take place here. Prizes will include: the Overall Winner's Trophy (open to all drivers), the European Trophy (also open to all drivers), the Pirelli Single Driver Cup (for single drivers racing Maserati-owned cars), the Pirelli Twin Drivers Cup (for drivers racing in a two-man team with Maserati-owned cars), the Over 50 Trophy, the Under 30 Trophy, and the Pirelli Pole Position Award.
The large number of applications received for this 2014 edition confirms the excellence of the event's organisation, based on an all-in package that includes intensive activities for single and team drivers, exclusive accommodation at all the events and the enticing prospect of racing a Maserati in the company's centenary year. Statistics for 2013 prove that the Maserati single marque formula is a winner: 18 races with an average of 26 Maserati GranTurismo cars lined up on the grid, 70 drivers from 22 different countries, and a total of 688,828 kilometres covered in 29,640 minutes of racing.
The Belgian Renaud Kuppens won the 2013 season, repeating his exploit of 2012.
The registration fee for the official trials and three European races is 70,000 Euros (excluding VAT). That for the World Series is 125,000 Euros (excluding VAT), payable by the 15th March (the cost of late payments rises to 130,000 Euros).
Privateer drivers are welcome to enter their own cars in the Trofeo Maserati, provided they pass Maserati's technical inspection and homologation. Al teams must use the same setup with no changes or adjustments permitted.
This year's Maserati GranTurismo MC Trophy introduces a number of developments that have been worked out in recent months. Changes mainly concern aerodynamics, with the adoption of a new, completely redesigned rear diffuser and front splitter and the introduction of a completely flat underbody to increase downforce on the front of the car and balance the large rear spoiler. A rear anti-roll bar has also been added to improve control and precision on bends. The engine remains the 4,691 cc V8 unit which develops 488 HP. Weight too remains the same, at 1,380 kg. All cars entered for the series are prepared by a team of expert mechanics to ensure the same level of performance and have the same set-up.
The duration of the longer race increases this year from 50 to 60 minutes. Qualifying is spread over two 15-minute sessions, while practice covers two sessions of 45 minutes. The two 30-minute races, the longer race and the mandatory pitstop are confirmed, giving a total of 240 minutes behind the wheel every race weekend.
Maserati is celebrating its centenary in 2014. One hundred years have passed since Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati opened their first workshop in Bologna on December 1, 1914.
Maserati is celebrating its 100th anniversary in grand style all over the world. Celebrations started on December 2, 2013, the day the company entered its 100th year and will last for twelve whole months until December 2014.
The epicentre of these truly global celebrations will be in Modena, the town to which Maserati moved in 1939 and where the company's global HQ is still located.
From June through December the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari will be hosting a special exhibition dedicated to the Maserati centenary. In September, the official international Maserati gathering will bring to Modena at least 300 vintage Maseratis from all over the world.
For 2013, Maserati posted a 148% increase in shipments to 15,400 vehicles, driven by the success of the new Quattroporte and Ghibli models launched during the year. For the Quattroporte, which was released in March, shipments totaled 7,800 units. For the Ghibli, a total of 2,900 units were shipped between launch in October and year end. At 31 December, order intake for the two new models totaled 13,000 units apiece.
Combined shipments for the GranTurismo and GranCabrio were in line with 2012 at 4,700 units for the year. All markets contributed positively to the significant year-over-year increase. The USA remained the brand's number one market with shipments up 138% over the prior year to 6,900 units. China, the brand's second largest market, recorded the highest percentage increase with shipments up 334% to 3,800 units. Even in Europe, where economic conditions remained difficult, shipments were up 133% to 2,500 units on the back of the contribution of the new models. Results were also strong for the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China) and the Middle East, which registered increases of 52% (1,300 vehicles) and 81% (750 vehicles), respectively.
Revenues totaled €1,659 million for the year, an increase of 120% over 2012. Maserati closed 2013 with full-year trading profit of €171 million, or 10.3% margin, representing a €114 million increase over the prior year (€57 million in 2012).
EBIT, which included a €65 million write-down of previously capitalized R&D related to a new model the development of which has now been switched to a more technically advanced platform considered more appropriate for the Maserati brand, totaled €106 million. The year-over-year improvement reflected the significant increase in volumes.
Maserati's fourth quarter revenues totaled €776 million, representing 47% of revenues for the full year and nearly four-times the Q4 2012 level, with a significant contribution from the newly-launched Ghibli.
Trading profit was €123 million for the quarter, an increase of €110 million over Q4 2012.
EBIT, which included the above mentioned unusual charge, was €58 million.
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