Maserati has been guilty of mixed messaging lately about the kind of car maker it wants to be.
With the memory of the Ferrari Enzo-based Maserati MC12 hypercar still fresh in our minds at the end of the noughties, it elected to spread its wings as a luxury brand. Once a kind of sharp-suited Italian answer to the BMW M5, the Quattroporte became an Mercedes-Benz S-Class-fighting limousine. The Maserati Ghibli, which many will remember as a 1990s coupé (possibly even as a stylish 1960s GT), became a mid- sized executive saloon with all of the mechanical necessities to take on Mercedes, BMW and Audi – and one of them was quite an ordinary diesel engine. And then there was the firm’s debutant SUV, of course: the Maserati Levante.
The cars were part of a bold plan to transform Maserati’s global business; and although it has subsequently fallen some way short of its volume ambitions, it has certainly given the firm a more noticeable presence in our daily motoring lives than it has had before. But they were all more conventional, mid-market luxury models than the marque has tended to offer over the decades; cars with lots of leather and chrome and other luxury flavourings, but fewer technical points of differentiation about which to get excited.