EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been amended to clarify that the V-6 engine will have internal combustion and electrified versions.
Maserati turns to twin-turbo V-6 to replace Ferrari-built engines
MILAN — Maserati is developing a new, more efficient 3.0-liter V-6 twin-turbocharged gasoline engine that will be used in at least four future models.
The engine and a hybridized 2.0-liter, four-cylinder unit will eventually replace Ferrari-built V-6 and V-8 engines in Maserati’s lineup.
The new V-6 engine also will be “electrified” in some form, but neither Maserati nor parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has offered any details. Maserati's engine downsizing is in line with industry trends and is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, fuel consumption and costs.
The V-6 engine will appear first in the MC20 supercar due to be revealed in September at an event in Modena, Italy, after being postponed from May due to the coronavirus crisis. Maserati plans to use the MC20 as a base to return to auto racing.
It is also set to be used in a midsize SUV to be built alongside the Alfa Romeo Stelvio in Cassino, Italy, starting next year, and in the future GranTurismo and GranCabrio sports cars to be built at Maserati’s Grugliasco factory near Turin, according to the 2019 annual report from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy.
The engine will be built at FCA’s factory in Termoli, central Italy. It will have a maximum output of 542 hp in the sports cars and 523 hp for the SUV. The power output of the version for the MC20 has not been revealed.
Maserati’s current engine lineup includes a Ferrari-built 3.0-liter gasoline V-6 and a 3.8-liter V-8, plus a 3.0-liter diesel.
Maserati’s procurement contract with Ferrari for V-8 and V-6 engines expires this year, and Maserati executive chairman Harald Wester announced in April 2019 that it would not be extended.
Electrified versions of the new V-6 will eventually replace the 3.8-liter Ferrari-built turbocharged V8 in the Maserati Levante large SUV, in two versions with outputs of 523 hp and 572 hp, and in the Quattroporte large sedan. According to the FCA Italy report, a version of this Ferrari engine will be offered later this year on refreshed versions of Ghibli and Quattroporte, with 582 hp.
A Maserati spokesman said the phase-out date of Ferrari-built engines will depend on specific models.
The new FCA engine for Maserati will feature “turbulent jet ignition,” a technology that German supplier Mahle first used in Ferrari’s Formula One racing cars. It replaces the standard spark plug with a jet ignition pre-chamber assembly that Mahle says allows for ultra lean-burning operation in gasoline engines, improving efficiency and reducing pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulates.
Neither Maserati nor Mahle would comment on whether the technology employed in the new V-6 Maserati engine is the one Mahle already supplies to Ferrari.
The technology's higher efficiency and high specific output will allow the new V-6 to reach power output comparable with the current V-8 engine.
As part of Maserati’s engine downsizing, it is adding the first four-cylinder engine to its current model range.
A facelifted Ghibli is scheduled to be revealed on July 15 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid version of FCA’s GME 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine.
The engine is described as "high output" in the FCA Italy report, but no details on total power output have been released. A version of that engine is currently used in the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV, with maximum output of 275 hp.
According to FCA Italy, production of the Maserati version of the four-cylinder engine is expected to start this month at the Termoli engine plant, and production of the mild hybrid Ghibli will start in the second half of this year.
After reaching a peak of 48,700 units in 2017, Maserati’s global sales slumped to 26,500 last year and dropped by 46 percent in the first quarter of 2020, company data show. A new management team led by Wester and COO Davide Grasso has been in place since July 2019.
A new product strategy will be detailed at an investor event on the sidelines of the MC20 unveiling in September.