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Geneva Motor Show: Maserati debuts Alfieri concept, hinting at future

At least it’s not called the Bindo.

Maserati used Tuesday’s Geneva Motor Show to debut a new concept sports car called the Alfieri. The sleek, two-door coupe is named after one of the Maserati brothers who founded the company a century ago. Bindo was his older brother.

Naming issues aside, the Alfieri is a compelling concept, for two reasons.

PHOTOS: Maserati Alfieri concept

First, it’s a look at a new model that could very well reach production in the near future.

"I sincerely can’t say that we’ll see this car in production in two years' time, but I’m certain we’ll see something very similar," said Lorenzo Ramaciotti, global head of design for Fiat, Maserati’s parent company.

Maserati’s current lineup includes the Quattroporte full-size sedan, the new Ghibli midsize sedan that the brand made noise about with a dramatic Super Bowl ad, and the GranTurismo coupe and convertible.

PHOTOS: Highlights of the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

With an SUV currently in development, the Italian automaker is clearly worried about deviating too far from the race-bred sports cars that earned the company its name in the 20th century.

"This new concept is striking back and reminding everybody that the brand has a remarkable racing heritage and a unique tradition in exotic GT cars," Maserati said in a statement.

A smaller, sportier coupe (and subsequent convertible) like the Alfieri concept would give Maserati a true sports car -- in line with much of the brand’s heritage -- that could target rivals such as Jaguar’s F-Type and either a loaded Porsche Boxster/Cayman or base 911. The Alfieri would also be considerably cheaper than the GranTurismo’s $127,000 starting price, and thus be a higher-volume seller.

The Alfieri concept is based on the GranTurismo’s chassis, but has a wheelbase that’s 9.5 inches shorter. The concept is powered by the same 4.7-liter V-8 as the GranTurismo, but here it makes 460 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque.

While a V-8 version of the car would certainly make sense in production form, keep in mind Maserati could also offer a cheaper version of the Alfieri with the twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V-6 that’s in the Ghibli sedan.

A six-speed automatic transmission pushes the Alfieri’s power to the rear wheels, while other performance goodies include a limited-slip differential and carbon ceramic brakes with Brembo calipers.

The Alfieri is also compelling because its design shows where future Maserati models are headed. The wide, catfish-like grille of current models has been stretched larger, and a pair of thin headlights appear to slice through the Alfieri’s skin.

The car proudly wears plenty of curves, including a bold shoulder line above the rear wheels. At the back, vertical air vents to the side of the rear end intersect with horizontal taillights. Short overhangs at the front and rear of the Alfieri give it a very purposeful stance.

"The Alfieri boasts proportions that might well be archetypal for a future true sport car and certainly hint at the brand’s stylistic intentions for the near future," Maserati said.

Ramaciotti was more succinct. "Maserati doesn’t change. Maserati is always Maserati."

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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