New Maserati Quattroporte electric car almost returns to the drawing board - SUV VEHICLE

New Maserati Quattroporte electric car almost returns to the drawing board

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Italy’s Maserati has pressed pause on its Porsche Taycan rival halfway through development, possibly switching its underpinnings – and waiting for new battery tech to enable a longer driving range.

Maserati is reworking its plans for the next-generation Quattroporte luxury sedan – set to go electric to rival the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S – after delaying it by three years to 2028.

Executives for Maserati revealed to media including Drive the Italian car maker is re-considering the underpinnings planned for the new Quattroporte – and is awaiting future battery technology that can deliver a longer driving range.

Maserati has previously told overseas media the launch delay from 2025 to 2028 “to take zero risks on the performance level of the new car.”

Three years is close to the time it takes to develop an all-new car, prompting speculation Maserati has started from scratch on new underpinnings, with a new design.

MORE: Maserati confirms electric supercar, delays electric sedan by three years

Davide Danesin, chief engineer for the Quattroporte and GranTurismo, told Drive development of the Quattroporte was “about halfway” when the decision was made to delay the car’s launch.

The executive identified a desire for a longer driving range as a reason for the delay – thanks to next-generation lithium-ion battery technology due in the coming years – as well as reducing weight.

“The Quattroporte is an important problem for Maserati. It must have an outstanding design from any perspective – style, architecture, performance. There’s also a lot of improvement coming in from the electrical developments in the future,” said Mr Danesin.

“The new target for range also needs to be quite strong. These days 600km is [considered] good enough [but] maybe for a new Quattroporte we would like more.

“Putting together all of this, we decided that we were gaining some more time to optimise the package, and this is why we decided to postpone it.”

Asked if Maserati has started again on the project, Mr Danesin said: “No, I think sometimes you need to take your time to have the proper solution.

“If you’re confident enough as a company and you already have great products, if you’re not fully convinced of the result, why not take another look?

“[Sometimes] that means you’re starting from zero … sometimes you’re just reviewing some parts of the project. This is something we can do, and want to do.”

It was previously understood the new Quattroporte – which would become Maserati’s first electric-only model – would use the STLA Large electric-car platform planned for a range of Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler and Maserati vehicles.

However Mr Danesin said the Italian car maker is now looking to alternatives – in order to deliver the appearance and driving range the company wants – which could include a stretched version of the new GranTurismo Folgore electric coupe’s underpinnings.

“It’s not decided [what platform we use]. I’m not saying it’s not [STLA Large]. I think the optimisation we’re looking for may lead to some optimisation of what is already available, so that’s why we are also taking time,” he told media including Drive at the unveiling of the GranCabrio Folgore electric convertible in Italy.

While Mr Danesin said the project has not restarted from scratch, the platform is a fundamental part of a car – and influences nearly every other element of the vehicle, including styling, battery capacity, driving dynamics, dimensions and technology.

Asked about the design of the next Quattroporte – and if it will look more radical than current Maseratis – company design boss Klaus Busse told Drive: “Allow me to surprise you when the time is there.”

Production of the outgoing Quattroporte – with Ferrari-built V6 or V8 petrol power – ended late last year, meaning the iconic ‘four-door’ name will be absent from showrooms for about five years.

The Quattroporte is currently pitched as a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival, but the new model is set to shrink to a 5 Series or E-Class-sized vehicle to also replace the Maserati Ghibli.

The successor to the Levante large SUV – which may wear a different name – is now planned to become Maserati’s first electric-only car, due in 2027, but even it is already two years behind its original planned 2025 launch date.

The Italian company will have completed its electric-car line-up by 2028, but it has appeared to backtrack on its plan to exclusively sell electric cars – and cease sales of petrol models – by the end of the decade.

Cars on the STLA Large platform offer up to 800km of claimed driving range, and are planned to be capable of 0-100km/h in close to two seconds, global car giant Stellantis – the parent company of Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Dodge and a range of other brands – has previously announced.

Meanwhile a move to a stretched version of the GranTurismo’s architecture would see the battery placed in a T shape along the centre tunnel of the car, and behind the rear seats – enabling a lower roofline and seating position as the battery is no longer under the floor, as with STLA Large and most electric cars.

The Maserati executive also expressed a desire to keep the new Quattroporte’s weight down despite its heavy battery.

“Performance is important by definition for us. So I think [there are] two areas of improvement in future,” said Mr Danesin.

“Weight – all the electric cars are becoming heavier and heavier, so we need to stop that tendency and go back to more affordable weights on our cars. And the other point is about installing the latest battery technology to provide the [desired driving] range.”

The post New Maserati Quattroporte electric car almost returns to the drawing board appeared first on Drive.

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