Maserati Alfieri wins Car Designs of the Year Award
For luxury car makers like Maserati, some of the best ideas come through experimentation in custom concept cars. In many cases, these are the models in which an automaker can really flex their design muscles, including specialty tech and luxury elements not necessarily marketable in consumer models. And for some, the praise garnered by a distinctly impressive concept car is enough to push that model into regular production and introduce a new Maserati for sale on the consumer market.
Take the Maserati Alfieri, for instance, which began as a concept model at the 2014 Geneva Motor show. So impressed was the luxury auto world by this striking 2X2 concept that in early April of this year it was announced that the Alfieri concept had received the ‘2014 Concept Car of the Year’ award from Car Design News at the prestigious Car Design Night in Geneva, attended by the industry’s leading automotive designers.
After such an overwhelmingly positive reaction to this concept, Maserati originally announced that the model would begin full commercial development for release in 2017. The Alfieri, named after the most prominent of the founding Maserati brothers, will add to Maserati’s already highly-regarded line of luxury performance vehicles, including the impressive 2016 Quattroporte and Ghibli models. The 2017 Alfieri will be available in a standard coupe as well as a cabriole set to follow not long after.
The original concept design was first conceptualized by Head of the Centro Stile Lorenzo Ramaciotti and led by Marco Tencone, both of whom accepted the Car Designs Award on the company’s behalf.
The Car Designs of the Year Award promotes itself as a truly unbiased assessment of truly excellent concept cars, featuring members from a wide variety of industry players like Daimler, Jaguar, Volvo, General Motors, Hyundai, Lear, Coventry University and Renault Group.
The consumer model of the Alfieri will feature a powerful 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, the same as the one found in the new Quattroporte and Ghibli models. These feature tunings at 410 horsepower rear-wheel drive with an option to upgrade to 450 all-wheel drive, as well as an expected 520 horsepower all-wheel drive expected for the future. All models will feature ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission.
As excited as we are for this model’s release, whether or not consumers will actually see the Alfieri by 2017 remains in doubt, given Maserati’s recent six-week production halt at its main plant in Grugliasco in northern Italy. Citing production concerns and a steep dropoff in third-quarter sales of its affordable Ghibli model, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told analysts in an Oct. 28 conference call that it would be more worthwhile for Maserati to focus instead on the upcoming release of its Levante model and re-approach the Alfieri at a later date.
What this news will do to Maserati’s stated goal of hitting 50,000 sales in 2017 and 75,000 sales by 2018 remains to be seen. However, with an already expanding inventory, it seems likely hat Maserati’s sales will continue to increase, albeit not at they rate they had hoped.
Whatever the case may be, we’re excited to see this new Maserati for sale in the coming months. With a highly-praised design and the quality performance already attested to by the Quattroporte and Ghibli, the 2017 Maserati Alfieri promises to be one super-luxurious driving machine.
All photos courtesy of Maserati.