Goodbye GranTurismo, hello new electrified Maseratis
After nearly 13 years, Maserati has built its last GranTurismo. It is the car you see here with the curious paint job. Nope, they didn’t run out of paint for this last example, the graduated finish is entirely intentional…
Said to be “a masterpiece in the complex use and juxtaposition of vastly differing effects” (which is a very different thing from just running out of blue…), the final example of this generation of the classic Maserati two-door, called Zeda (Italian for zed), certainly makes for an eye-catching valediction. As the last letter in the alphabet, the one-off Zeda’s job is to draw a line under the traditional and steer the company to a new beginning. The next time we see a Maser called GranTurismo in around three years’ time it promises to be a very different beast.
So much has changed since the GranTurismo was unveiled in Geneva in 2007. Then, Ferrari and Maserati were under the same umbrella, high performance V8s were naturally-aspirated and Tesla was still a year away from unveiling its first car. In such a changing landscape the GranTurismo, and its GranCabrio sister, have done well to last as long as they have. No surprise perhaps: the Grans still look great, sound amazing in their un-turbocharged glory and are uncommonly roomy.
All good things come to an end though and now, after 28,800 coupes and 11,700 convertibles, the last one has gone down the line at the equally classic Viale Ciro Menotti factory in Modena. Ferrari can no longer supply the 4.7-litre V8, there are new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles bosses in charge now, the brand’s big seller is an SUV, and there has been a revolution under the bonnet of all cars. The next-gen GranTurismo, due perhaps in 2023, is skipping the turbo era and going straight to… an all-electric drivetrain.
It will be Maserati’s first battery-powered car. One of the key planks in FCA’s recently revealed €5 billion new-model investment programme for Italy, the new GranTurismo and GranCabrio will be all-new, “100 per cent made in Italy” and be embedded with the brand’s high performance DNA. They will be assembled not in Modena but in Turin which is currently getting an €800 million makeover.
So what will they build in the Viale Ciro Menotti? Well, thanks to FCA’s candour with future model plans, we know that, too. The new car from Modena due in 2020 will be a “super sports model, a high-performance car, packed with technology and reminiscent of Maserati’s traditional values”. Remember the Alfieri concept that wowed everyone at its UK debut at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard a few years ago? Fingers crossed it looks as good as that, but we will know in six months because it’s likely to get a Geneva Show debut.
This Maserati “Alfieri” sports car will be the only Maser to be built in the freshly renovated Viale Ciro Menotti plant and while it won’t be all-electric like the new GranTurismo it will be electrified with – probably – a plug-in petrol/electric hybrid drivetrain.
All new Maserati models from now on will be electrified in some way, “combing traditional Maserati driving dynamics together with next-generation battery electric technology, offering unique driving modes, extended range and ultra-fast charging capabilities”, says the company. In 2021 a new junior SUV hybrid is due to arrive and new versions of Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante will all feature some form of electrification.
Will they sound as enticing as the Ferrari-made, 4.7-litre lump from the GranTurismo? Perhaps not, but as we saw at the Goodwood Revival in September this year with Maserati’s celebration of its V8 road cars through the ages, Maserati is still wedded to the bent eight, up to and including the latest 530PS 3.8 litre twin-turbo unit in the Levante GTS.
Perhaps next year Maserati’s Earls Court Revival display will include the GranTurismo Zeda; as Maser says, it is “the bridge which connects the past, the present and the future and reminds us that there is a new beginning for every ending.”