It’s been a very long time in automotive years since Maserati previewed its near-production conceptual take on an SUV with the 2011 Kubang, but it appears that we’re getting there.
Maserati continues to evaluate the underpinnings of its upcoming Levante SUV clad in an altered Ghibli body shell, which of course, has nothing to do with the production model.
As much as we would have been entertained by the idea of a Maserati Ghibli sedan riding on stilts with a fancy-sounding moniker, it ain't gonna happen.
At least not in the foreseeable future because you never know which path premium carmakers will follow to achieve their sales goals.
On the evening before the Geneva International Motor Show, the first allegedly official photos of the highly anticipated, but up until now, mysterious Maserati Concept, appeared on the interwebs.
The last time our spy photographers turned their cameras on Maserati's engineers, they were out in the snow driving a test mule of the Ghibli wearing the body of the Quattroporte on the production model's platform.
Now that the weather is getting better in Europe, the Italians rolled out an actual prototype of the Ghibli, albeit under heavy disguise to prevent prying eyes from seeing the final exterior treatment.
According to a new Fiat Group document that outlines the company's European plans through 2016, the Italian carmaker has decided to change its strategy and rely much less on mainstream products like the Punto and Bravo and more on premium and special vehicles, be that the Fiat 500 family, or the re-born Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands.
We've already told you about Alfa Romeo in a previous article (see here), so let's see what the future holds for Maserati.
If you find the new Quattroporte too big, too Grande, and too expensive, but still want to drive something with the Trident logo, which for many buyers, has a higher cache than Germany's BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi brands, then Maserati is preparing just what the doctor ordered.
It's name is Ghibli, and unlike other pompous plans from the Fiat Group (see Alfa Romeo), this one is for real and it will make its world premiere either at the Geneva Motor Show in March or at the Shanghai auto show in April.
A heavily dressed prototype of the Ghibli sports sedan was nabbed undergoing winter testing in Europe. The camouflage hides the design details of the car, but it is clear that the Ghibli will be more compact than the 5,263mm (207.2 inches) long Quattroporte featuring shorter front and rear overhangs and wheelbase.
Despite the difference in size, with the Ghibli measuring just under 5 meters (~196 inches) in length, it will ride on a modified version of the Quattroprote's platform, which itself, is loosely based on the Chrysler 300 chassis having received a number of updates.
Eight years in the market is a long time, even for a specialty brand such as Maserati and a car like its Quattroporte sports saloon, however gorgeous it may be.
This will soon change, though, as the Italians are in the final development stages of the next generation Quattroporte, which for the first time ever, has been spied without the clunky plastic moldings of previous prototypes.
It is hard to believe that the current Pininfarina-designed Maserati Quattroporte has been with us since 2004. Yes, it may be getting old but arguably, it looks better now than ever.
Nevertheless, the Italians aren't keen on resting on their laurels and have been hard at work on the Quattroporte's successor, which is expected to make its world premiere at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show - unless Maserati surprises us in Paris next month.
We have known for some time now that Maserati plans to expand its range within the next few years with a new crossover model, previewed by the Kubang Concept, and a smaller sedan than the Quattroporte.
The latter will compete against the Audi A7, BMW 6-Series Grand Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLS, as well as the higher end versions of the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Jaguar XF and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
For the first time, our scoop photographers have captured what they claim to be an early test mule for the executive sports sedan that will sit right under the next Quattroporte, which is nearing the final stages of development.
Scoop: 2013 Maserati Quattroporte Filmed at Fiorano, Does it Sound Like its Powered by a Turbo Engine?Posted
Evidently, Maserati has its engineers all over the place testing the soon-to-be revealed, next generation Quattroporte sedan up ahead of its sales launch in the first quarter of 2013.
After our spy shooters captured the luxury saloon lapping the Nürburgring, another prototype of the 2013 Quattroporte was spotted testing at Ferrari's private track in Italy, the same place we saw an allegedly turbocharged California roadster.
Maserati engineers have toned down a notch the camouflage on their latest Quattroporte prototype that was nabbed by our scoop photographers while undergoing tests at the Nürburgring race track.
It may not seem like a lot, but it's enough to provide us with a better look at the rear window styling, which in previous spy shots, was disguised to give the impression of a fastback body style.
This new Quattroporte will be the Fiat and Chrysler Alliance's flagship sedan model and as such, will sport the latest technologies including a new 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF combined with a start and stop system to will help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The last time we spotted a prototype of the 2013 Maserati Quattroporte, it was playing around on the ice in the northern part of Sweden, but now that the weather is clearing up, the Italians are trying out their flagship sedan at the Nürburgring.
And while the trick camouflage remains, this time our spy shooters were able to grab better photos of the test mule.
We still can't say for sure which parts of the prototype will pass on to the production model, but it does appear that the sixth generation of the Quattroporte will sport a more elongated roof, albeit not as far as dramatic as the test mule suggests.
Inside, the Fiat Group's top saloon model will provide more space for the rear passengers as the car will ride on a slightly larger platform than the current Quattroporte, which is 5,097mm long, 1,895 mm wide, and 1,438mm tall with a 3,064mm wheelbase.
Up until now, Maserati had done a pretty a good job hiding its Quattroporte prototypes from the prying eyes of our scoop photographers, but they finally nabbed it while undergoing winter testing on an ice track used by the Fiat Group in Sweden.
The current model is the fifth generation Quattroporte and it has been in the market for a quite long time – since 2004, to be precise. Despite its sporty and elegant looks that have stood the test of time, the Italian luxury sedan is showing its age in various areas.
Regular readers will know that you can't ever be too careful with allegedly official photos of unrevealed cars floating around the internet. The examples are too many to list.
Earlier today, the guys over at GT Spirit tipped us off on these photos of the 2013 Maserati Quattroporte with the note that they were the first official pictures of the Italian firm's upcoming sedan model.
However, as it turns out, it's not the new Maserati Quattroporte but the Maserati...Quattroroute as the images are actually renderings from the November 2011 issue of the Italian car magazine Quattroroute, scans of which were posted over at Autoblog.nl. More pictures if you're interested after the break.
If these spy photos and video are anything to go by, then Maserati could very well be working either on a facelifted version or -most likely-, a new variant of the GranTurismo sports coupe. Spied in Germany, the undisguised test car features a new lower apron up front along with a discreet but clearly visible boot lid spoiler and a redesigned rear bumper with two tail pipes mounted high on the center fascia at the back.
The modifications at the rear end of Maserati's sports coupe bring to mind the GranTurismo MC racing concept that was introduced in late 2008.