Maserati’s 450bhp 911 rival

2 Jul, 2012 11:00am Sam Hardy

Maserati is working on a rival to the Porsche 911, and our exclusive images show how it could look when it arrives in 2015

Maserati is planning a hardcore sports car that will inject new excitement into the brand by rivalling the Porsche 911.

The mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive two-seater could be called the GranSport, and is based on the Alfa Romeo 4C. But as our exclusive images show, it will be bigger – and with an all-new V6 engine developed by Ferrari, it’ll be much more powerful, too.

Positioned as a high-performance halo model, it will be the most driver-focused car in a much wider Maserati range. Rivals will include upcoming GT3 and Turbo versions of Porsche’s 991 series 911, as well the revised Audi R8. A price tag of around £90,000 is expected.

The GranSport will outpunch every car in Maserati’s line-up, and it’ll also weigh a lot less. At present, the fastest Maserati is the GranTurismo MC Stradale, with its 442bhp 4.7-litre V8. However, it’s quite heavy, with a 1,770kg kerbweight, and the front-engined layout means it’s very much a grand tourer.

The new sports car will use a modified version of the 4C’s carbon-fibre chassis, with a target kerbweight of around 1,200kg. It will have a longer wheelbase than the Alfa and a wider track – both necessary to clothe the new petrol V6.

Ferrari has been charged with the development of this engine, which will also feature in the new Quattroporte, a smaller BMW 5 Series-sized saloon and the Kubang SUV.

For the GranSport, the V6 will have twin turbos, and will eclipse the current 4.7-litre V8 in the GranTurismo MC Stradale with well in excess of 450bhp. Add a new seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox – developed from that in the Ferrari 458 Italia – and the similarly sized GranSport should sprint from 0-60mph in under four seconds and hit a top speed of 190mph.

Thanks to its lightweight carbon chassis, and a body that will also make use of composite materials, the GranSport should be extremely agile.

As our images show, the newcomer is expected to mix traditional Maserati styling cues – a gaping front grille and narrow headlights – with short front and rear overhangs, and a very mid-engined shape.

The GranSport is likely to go on sale in 2015. However, the most important upcoming new Maserati is the Kubang SUV, which will be tasked with dramatically increasing sales, particularly in the US and China. In many ways, the GranSport’s future hinges on its success.