23 December 2004

Maserati is building a Mercedes SL rival, complete with folding metal roof. The Italian brand is replacing its Coupé/Spyder twins with two more distinct models each with different wheelbases: this drop-top two-seater is the shorter of the two. The Quattroporte saloon will form the basis of the new models. The Spyder will use the shortest version of the new platform, and the Coupé will slot between its drop-top sibling and the longer Quattroporte. The Spyder should be launched in mid-2006, with the Coupé a few months earlier, although they were due to arrive in early 2005. The original Italdesign-Giugiaro styling was dumped as too conservative; the switch to a new Pininfarina design knocked the project back by 18 months. The Spyder will be a strict two-seater with stowage space behind the seats, while the Coupé version should have a lot more rear legroom than the current model, with Maserati proclaiming the car to be a full four-seater instead of the current 2+2.

Exact engine details are still scarce, although it will run a V8 larger than the Ferrari F430’s 4.3-litre unit, pumping out between 430-450bhp. The Quattroporte’s double-wishbone suspension with adaptive damping will be tweaked to give the car a more sporting slant.

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