Stunning designs and throbbing V8 engines have always been Maserati’s trademark , but the iconic Italian automaker is now doing a u-turn to catch up on a future that is increasingly electric – and silent.
Although an electric future was regarded by the company with disdain as recently as May, FCA Group and Maserati have just announced that €5 billion ($A8 billion) will be invested in transitioning its vehicles to electric and hybrid propulsion.
The race to reach the electric future and catch up with fellow luxury European marques such as Porsche, Jaguar, Pinninfarina and even Ferrari is now on.
But it is not planning to move too fast – its first foray into electrification will begin with a hybrid Maserati Ghibli to be made in Turin and followed by, of all things, a hybrid ute (the carmaker’s presser does not specify if this means plug-in hybrid).
We’d like to see that – and we can, if a 2013 render by Theophilus Chin (above) is anything to go by.
But on to more easily imagined things – the first pure electric vehicles planned by Maserati will be an all-electric GranTurismo and GranCabrio which the brand says are the core of its DNA.
These will be produced at the Turin production hub, where FCA is investing €800 million ($A1.3 billion), and will be followed by electrified version of the Italian brand’s remaining models – the Levante and Quattroporte.
All-electric models will, in keeping with the premium status of the iconic brand, benefit from a range of high-end driving dynamics, top end electric drivetrain technology with unique driving modes, extended range and ultra-fast charging capabilities.
In addition to electrification of its range, Maserati are also planning to improve the autonomous capabilities of its vehicles, stepping from Level 2 enhanced highway assist up to Level 3 autonomy allowing drivers to take hands off the wheels and allow the vehicle to change lanes itself.
In the case of lack of driver response, the vehicles would pull over to the side of the road themselves (again, not new…Tesla has been at this some for time).
All vehicles will continue to be made at the carmaker’s Italian production facilities in Modena, Cassino and Turin (Mirafiori and Grugliasco).