I doubt there’s a motoring enthusiast alive who doesn’t want the Maserati brand to be fit-and-firing. Now, with Stellantis funding, I contend this has become a reality.
All too often in the past the opposite has been the case, as the Trident has rolled out a series of sexy and aurally indulgent sports cars, sedans, and SUVs held back by clear flaws.
Heart truly over head, in other words.
But now it’s entirely fair to suggest the 107-year old brand is back and better than ever, and primed to become the proper Italian Porsche equivalent it really ought to be.
I’m not suggesting it will start matching the Stuttgart marque in the sales race, by the way, but rather the cadence of its new, highly competitive models bodes very well for a renaissance.
It first hit me this week when I took the hyped new MC20 supercar for a burn around the famed Phillip Island circuit… as you do.
Yes, you might say I was drinking the Kool-Aid, but I do these sorts of events all the time and have learned to steer around hyperbole. To *some* degree.
Jaw-dropping looks, butterfly doors; and the sheer seat-pinning, butterfly-inducing acceleration offered by its proprietary ‘Nettuno’ V6 all slammed the point home. But so too did its minimalist, contemporary interior design and somewhat shocking lack of quirks. Truly a complete package.
I wasn’t alone. Not only were various motoring journalists taken aback by their Maserati revisit, but so too were a group of MC20 buyers who came along for their first crack. Average age? A lot younger than you’d think, and more plentiful than market allocation and supply allows.
Ok, you may say. Big deal. Any brand can make a supercar sexy and desirable. And the imminent folding hardtop derivative is simply de rigeur.
But the thing is, the MC20 is just a halo, a glorified marketing tool that will sprinkle magic dust over Maserati’s imminent range renewal.
Next in the running order is the new Grecale compact crossover SUV, designed and developed in Modena to tackle the Porsche Macan. Maserati Australia management says it’s already fielding buyer interest well-above familiar levels, many months out from its early 2023 arrival.
Two price-leading mild-hybrid grades will be joined at launch by the fire-breathing Trofeo, using a version of the MC20’s engine.
Naturally, an all-electric Grecale will follow in 2023, showing the Trident brand is no longer leaning on the sex appeal of Ferrari-derived V8s alone.
We’ve also seen a prototype of the new 2023 Maserati GranTurismo Folgore coupe, no longer packing a God-of-Thunder V8 designed for laps of Chapel Street, but rather a hi-po all-electric drivetrain.
Say what you will, but Maserati is not behind the times here, and its dated coupe and convertible staples are well and truly coming into the current decade.
From a future-facing perspective, all Maserati models will come in a fully electric version by 2025: the MC20, an all-new Quattroporte sport sedan, and an equally all-new Levante SUV will likewise get battery versions.
All of which means that, by 2025, Maserati will offer a halo supercar, a headlining muscle car, two crossover SUVs, and a flagship sedan, all with electric variations. By 2030, Maserati will go EV only.
All of this shows Stellantis has backed-in Maserati to be the group flag bearer it deserves to be, rather than a brand reliant on badge equity to paper over copious shortfalls.
It’s one thing to adorn wall posters and grace enthusiast Insta pages, but all signs point to Maserati entering a new phase as a serious luxury challenger, with genuine crossover appeal.
All motoring tragics should be grateful and happy about that, given its enviable history. And Porsche, despite its incredibly loyal fanbase, might want to just take a little bit of notice of this sea change.
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