Maserati: 'Nothing to envy'
CEO says flagship can play with the Germans
NICE, France -- Maserati's redesigned Quattroporte flagship, which debuted at the Detroit auto show last month, will be a credible alternative to premium flagship sedans from German carmakers, says CEO Harald Wester.
"The new Quattroporte has nothing to envy," Wester said in an interview.
The model goes on sale this month in Europe and next month in Asia. It will arrive in the United States in May or June.
The sixth generation of the sedan has been lengthened by about 8 inches, to 207 inches, to better compete with chauffeur-driven long-wheelbase versions of German automakers' flagships. Wester says the new Quattroporte has almost 20 percent more luggage space than the model it replaces.
The company claims the 190 mph top speed will make the Quattroporte the fastest sedan on the market. And with extensive use of aluminum in body panels, suspensions and engines, fuel consumption will improve by about 25 percent.
Harald Wester: “The new Quattroporte has nothing to envy.”
The Fiat-owned luxury brand expects to sell about 80,000 Quattroportes in a life cycle that will last seven or eight years.
Pricing has not been announced.
The company built about 24,000 units of the current model, which debuted in 2003. Sales peaked at 5,088 units in 2007. The new version is expected to achieve sales of 13,000 to 15,000 units in 2013.
The new Quattroporte will come with a choice of two new twin-turbo gasoline direct-injection engines designed by Maserati in cooperation with Fiat-owned Ferrari.
The engines will be built at Ferrari's Maranello, Italy, complex, which underwent a $67 million upgrade to add the Maserati powerplant.
A 3.0-liter V-6 delivering 410 hp will be offered in rwd and awd variants. The engine's top speed is 176 mph.
The top-end Quattroporte will be powered by a 3.8-liter V-8 delivering 530 hp.
The rear-wheel-drive V-8 Quattroporte goes from 0 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 190 mph. Both engines are teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Maserati plans to unveil a mid-sized four-door sedan called the Ghibli at either the Geneva auto show in March or at the Shanghai auto show in April. At about 197 inches long, the Ghibli will compete with sporty sedan offerings including the Audi A6 and BMW 5 series.
Despite Europe's economic slump, Wester says he won't alter his goal of selling 50,000 Maseratis a year by 2015. He forecasts sales of about 20,000 units in 2013, up from about 6,200 last year. The United States is Maserati's largest market, with sales expected to be 7,500 to 8,000 this year.
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