Geneva, March 4, 2014 – There were two Maserati worldwide premières at the 84th Geneva Auto Show. The first one is the debut of the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition, the car that developed from the concept introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show last September. This refined model will be produced in 100 units, one for each of the years of company life that Maserati, founded in 1914, is celebrating in 2014. The second one is the much talked about unveiling of a new concept car outlining the Maseratis of the next 100 years – Alfieri.
The Maserati Alfieri Concept
The Alfieri is being unveiled at just the right time to re-establish Maserati’s true orientation in terms of design and production. If the new Quattroporte and Ghibli gave the impression that Maserati was becoming oriented towards sporty, upper class four door saloons, 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.
There is no doubt that the Alfieri concept represents the true essence of the Maserati brand. It is a sleek, Italian style 2+2 like the 1957 3500 GT, the 1959 5000 GT and the 1969 Indy before it, and clearly affirms Maserati’s racing DNA. Sportier in character than the GranTurismo, 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 doesn’t change. Maserati is always Maserati”, as Ramaciotti puts it.
As with all concept cars, there is a strong desire to turn the Alfieri into reality. Though not yet at the final prototype stage like tomorrow’s grand touring, it has nevertheless been conceived, designed and created in an approach aimed at 100% realism.
According to Lorenzo Ramaciotti, “The Alfieri is a transition point between 100 glorious years of history and the future that is opening up before us. 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.”
The development process kicked off last summer. Designers were asked to start from a blank sheet to create a concept for Maserati’s centenary. The sketches that would lead to what is now the Alfieri emerged among various other proposals.
One of the most fascinating cars of all times, the Maserati A6 GCS-53 designed by Pininfarina in 1954, proved a valuable source of inspiration for the designers. Far more than a rare racing machine for gentlemen drivers, the A6 GCS-53 was a masterpiece of design. It was also the last car that Pininfarina designed on a Maserati model before making a comeback in the first decade of the 21st century with the Quattroporte and the GranTurismo. The A6 GCS-53 was an iconic piece of automotive technology and simply breathtaking for its proportions and design features: a diminutive cabin positioned almost over the rear wheels, a seemingly endless bonnet and long, sinuous wings stretching nearly to the rear wheels.
The Alfieri is obviously much more than a futuristic interpretation of the A6 GCS-53. Maserati has a diversified design history that encourages designers to look forward rather than back: “We wanted the Alfieri to test future design paths”, Ramaciotti explains. “The car is very aggressive but still sober in style, forceful but understated.”
The acronym A6 GCS stood for Alfieri 6 cylinder, Ghisa, Corsa, Sport, epithets that well convey its long bonnet, and rear-set 2 cabin.
While the inverted A pillars of the A6 GCS-53 were not an option in the new Alfieri, their optical effect has been recreated by a sculptured line that starts from the bonnet and fades to the door high line, making the windscreen look larger.
The long, low nose is a stylistic evolution from contemporary Maserati models. The grille is divided vertically into two concave sections that seem to hang in the air. The sleek DRLs are connected by a clear accent line with the iconic “V” motif in the centre. The aggressive headlights incorporate bi-xenon-LED bulbs and are rendered distinctive by a characteristic eyebrow, repeated on the twin exhaust tail pipes.
The three dimensional candy-cane tail lights are made up of two red external elements with a white element inside. Their shape harmoniously follows the rear shoulder of the car and complements the air ducts underneath to create an impressive, racing style rear view.
The Alfieri’s designers have developed a streamlined, uncluttered form where the only decorative elements – the restyled triple air ducts on the wheel arches – are finely integrated. This eye-catching silhouette almost entices you to caress it.
The wheels have been specially designed for the Alfieri concept. Forged from single aluminium elements, the 21” diameter rear and 20” front wheels feature integrated decorative spokes that wink at the classic spoke wheels of the 1950s.
Though form is the dominant element, colour and detail play a key supporting role. A liquid metal colour called “Steel Flair” has been chosen for this Maserati 100th anniversary concept. This choice of finish gives the Alfieri’s elegant shape a refined, technical and contemporary look, as if a metallic veil has been draped over a naked body.
The decorative spokes of the forged wheels, the brake calipers, the grille, the iconic triple air ducts, the rear diffuser, the provocative eyebrow of the exhaust tail pipes are all finished in Maserati Blue. The Alfieri signature, retrieved from an old Maserati document and sculpted in the number plate recess on the rear of the car is also in blue. The front bumper spoiler and rear diffuser are in carbon fibre with aluminium inserts.
Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna – Limited Edition
After making its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motorshow, the exclusive Quattroporte developed in collaboration with Ermenegildo Zegna is finally being introduced in definitive form. A limited series of only 100 cars will go into production in July to satisfy demand from the world’s most refined customers.
Compared to the current Quattroporte range, the Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition boasts a special finish in terms of colour, materials and trim, carefully chosen to embody all the personality, quality and exclusivity that link the histories and traditions of the Maserati and Zegna brands.
The exterior is finished in Platinum Silk, a colour developed exclusively for this Limited Edition. This unique paint finish uses extra-fine aluminium pigments to create an effect that combines the purity of a metal with the soft look of silk, giving a sensation of infinite depth. The Platinum Silk finish is characterised by a warm, soft tint that perfectly expresses the car’s classic and formal yet technical and sophisticated character. The flowing liquid effect of the paintwork emphasises the sinuous lines of the bodywork and accentuates the way in which one section flows into the next.
The same finish is also applied to the elegant Mercurio 20” wheels whose diamond smoothed surfaces create a high-tech, sporting chromatic effect. The surfaces of the large aluminium brake calipers have been hand polished to mirror brightness, making them instantly recognisable. A special Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition plate on the B pillar identifies the car from the outside.
If the exterior is already unique and elegant, the interior of the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition is even more breathtaking. The cabin is finished in brand new, warm and classical Moka colours – a modern Testa di Moro dark brown and Greige, a delicate fusion of light grey and sabbia. The result conveys a formal, sophisticated character through a combination of leather and silk inspired by the fabrics of the Zegna menswear collections. Ultra-fine grain leather lines the interior, blending the two tones of Moka and Greige. A generous use of contrasting stitching provides the perfect balance, embellishing the entire dashboard and the upper door panels. At various points around the cabin, leather blends into precious Ermenegildo Zegna fabrics, specially created for this unique car but with the same sensuous feel that has ensured the prestige of the brand’s traditional fabrics. A fine Greige jersey silk fabric, specially designed by Ermenegildo Zegna, has been chosen for the roof lining and sunshades. Just like an original Zegna suit, the inside of the sunshades carry exclusive brand labels “Ermenegildo Zegna Exclusively for Maserati” that not only confirm the Maserati-Zegna partnership but also discreetly remind the customer of the attention to detail that has gone into the design and finish of all aspects of the car.
The same fabric also covers the central door panels which also feature diagonal double stitching. The upper sections of the pillars are covered in Greige Alcantara.
The seats envelop the passengers like designer suits, with an exclusive 100% silk chevron weave making its appearance alongside the ultra-fine grain leather. This bright, soft and velvety smooth fabric, expertly produced at the historical Zegna woollen mills of Trivero, covers the central seat and backrest sections. The most interesting design challenge was precisely to develop a “Zegna” automotive fabric with the look of formal men’s wear. The fabric had to have a masculine pattern typical of the best traditional weaves, and also needed to have the feel, softness and prestige typical of Zegna cloth.
Chrome surfaces, specially treated to produce a distinctive satin finish, provide striking contrast for the fabric expressly created for the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition and the warm nuances of Moka and Greige.
The loving care lavished on every little detail is demonstrated by features like the expertly crafted brass “Limited Edition One of 100” plate set into the central console and the exclusive radica walnut trim whose open pore surface and natural wood feel go magnificently with the other materials of the interior.
Ermenegildo Zegna has also designed an exclusive Owner’s Collection kit for sale along with the car. This contains a generous assortment of 19 refined articles including leather items, personal accessories and a 3.5 metre cut of fine Zegna silk decorated with the same chevron motif as the seats and bordered with a special celebratory selvage. Each of the precious items in the kit is the result of a thorough study of the concept underlying the partnership. The kit is designed to target the refined customer base the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition is intended for, and is only available to the one hundred future purchasers of the car.
In addition to the other unique features conceived and developed for this limited edition and the Quattroporte’s already rich level of standard equipment, each of the one hundred Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition cars also include a series of items chosen to maximise driving pleasure in terms of comfort, refinement and practicality.
An opening sunroof, front seat ventilation and a four zone climate control system for the rear passengers have been added to achieve the highest possible level of on-board comfort.
The car is also fitted with an exclusive Bowers&Wilkins Premium Sound System with 15 speakers, including a powerful sub-woofer, a 1280 Watt amplifier and Quantum Logic Surround technology.
Standard equipment includes steel pedals with rubber inserts, a removable ash-tray in the front drinks holder, and an 18” space-saver spare wheel in the boot.
Under the bonnet of the Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition lies a mighty V8 twin-turbo capable of developing 530 HP and an impressive torque of 710 Nm. This engine pushes the car to a top speed of 307 km/h and accelerates it from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds.
Words & Photos : Maserati