Patience is a virtue. Well, sometimes…
Over the past two and half years or so, we have all experienced a harsh, if valuable lesson in the music of chance, in how unforeseen events can derail all best-laid plans and forecasts. Viewing matters though this chaotic prism, Maserati’s more or less decade-long deliberation over the future of its heartland GranTurismo offering appears almost wilfully indulgent.
However, one should also consider the sheer scale of change that has arisen over this intervening period, where the already somewhat unwieldy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles super-merged into the perplexing singularity that is the Stellantis group and perhaps allow ourselves some quantum of critical latitude.
Ah, Maserati. Over this extended interregnum, the fabled carmaker has burned through several CEOs, large quantities of cash, a store of goodwill – to say nothing of credibility – and several product plans.
As long ago as the 2014 Geneva motor show, Maserati debuted the Alfieri concept, said by their spokespeople at the time to preview their forthcoming GT. By then, Maserati’s incumbent model, the soulful GranTurismo was already seven years on the market, so a putative replacement seemed timely. As the covers were lifted, the massed congregation of grizzled auto journalists and commentators wept as one over its voluptuous lines, courtesy of Centro Stile, under Lorenzo Ramaciotti’s purview. And comely it most certainly certainly was, with its archetypical long bonnet, short rump, superbly judged proportions and classic GT silhouette.
The word from Maserati (and FCA) bosses at the time was that a production version of Alfieri would see the light of day circa-2016, but it surprised no one when that date slipped repeatedly, owing to any number of unexpected events, which would include the failure of Maserati’s over-ambitious expansion plans, not to mention the reversal in fortunes of the parent company. As the credibility gap widened, the increasingly infirm GranTurismo was repeatedly propped up in the marketplace, serially defaced by the by inevitable Fiat Charter® attempts at maintaining stylistic relevance, before finally limping into well-deserved retirement in 2019.
By then, with a new Stellantis management team in place and a far more realistic set of targets to fulfil, development of a new-generation GranTurismo could get under way. However, as it progressed, and prototypes began to appear in the lenses of the paparazzi, it became apparent that the silhouette looked eerily familiar. Somewhere along the way, the Alfieri design was abandoned and a wholly evolutionary shape, based squarely upon the outgoing car was chosen.
Of course, Maserati and its Stellantis parent will have done its homework; it is entirely likely that an iterative style cliniced better than the more romantic Alfieri fastback shape. We should also remember that GTs like this are rapidly falling out of favour, as the well heeled, along with everyone else transition wholesale towards higher-riding vehicles; Maserati, like everyone else now prioritising their crossover offerings.
Indeed, the logic of building a GranTurismo model in the current climate seems somewhat skewed, but events make fools of us all. It is likely therefore, that its place in the product plan will be that of a bit-player. One expects it will be the last of its kind to bear the Tridente of Bologna.
Either way, according to Maserati, the new GranTurismo, which for all the world looks like a reskin of the old stager will make its official debut later this year, with deliveries beginning in 2023. Mind you, given how matters have evolved since 2014, one really should not get too excited.
Fortunately, centro stile appear to have that one covered.
 We should probably not weep too effusively for the Alfieri. Given the mystifyingly disappointing production Maserati designs that emerged from Ramaciotti’s studio over the previous decade, it’s probable that we would be mourning a different kind of missed opportunity now.
 It’s clear that the recently announced Grecale crossover was priority number one for il Tridente.