We find ourselves in an odd time when automakers are putting out their own camouflaged “spy shots” of prototype cars to drum up pre-release hype. As an editor, I’m fine with this; it’s less freelance money I have to spend buying photos. But it is a bit of a strange practice, and most of the time I don’t really care. Unless it’s a new sports car from Maserati that seems to have very familiar bones. Then we care.
We don’t know much about this prototype yet, except that it looks like it’s based on our beloved Alfa Romeo 4C—more for testing and early development purposes than for the platform of the actual car itself, would be my guess.
Some have speculated it’s going to be the new Alfieri, although this clearly isn’t the front-engined coupe concept we saw several years ago. It’s something new and may get a new name.
We do know that Fiat Chrysler’s brands are going through a pretty big shakeup with no new Fiat cars planned, a downsizing at Alfa Romeo and a pivot to electrification at Maserati. Whether this thing is the Alfieri or not, that car is said to come as either a plug-in hybrid or fully electric car.
And Maserati itself says this mule packs a new engine developed in-house as they move away from Ferrari motors. The exact phrasing Maserati uses is “the forefather of a new family of engines integrated exclusively on the vehicles of the Brand.”
(They capitalized the B in brand, not me. I wouldn’t do that to you.)
My educated guess is it’s some kind of hybrid V6 or hybrid V8 that will see duty in the rest of the range, as a stopgap to the full electric powertrains that FCA clearly wants for this automaker. As a believer in performance hybrids, I’m eager to see what it can do.
The only other concrete thing Maserati says is that this car will be unveiled next May. If you can think that far ahead about life, and I largely cannot anymore, get excited.