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Next Quattroporte goes AWD

2010-06-30 06:53

Sixth generation Quattroporte needs to be 15% lighter to improve fuel economy by 25%.

To many, Maserati’s Quattroporte remains the seminal performance sedan.

Long before BMW’s M5 and a flood of AMG fettled Mercedes-Benz products, Maserati offered customers ballistic performance in a family-friendly, four-door package.

Maserati’s Quattroporte nameplate has been with the fabled Italian manufacturer since 1963, spanning five generations.

The current car debuted in 2004 and offered a blend of performance and style unequalled at the time.

Since a raft of AMGs, Aston Martin’s Rapide and Porsche's Panamera started crowding the premium performance sedan market Maserati’s Quattroporte has seen its appeal wane somewhat, especially in terms of outright performance.

A new Quattroporte is due in 2012 and according to Maserati CEO Harald Wester, it should feature a blend of Italian and American components as a consequence of Chrysler's takeover by Fiat.

Quattroporte goes quattro?

The sixth-generation Quattroporte is expected to ride on Chrysler’s LY platform – essentially a reengineered version of the LX architecture that carries the current Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300.

Traditional fans of the trident badge may be aghast at the choice of a Chrysler chassis, yet the greatest shock is in terms of the new Quattroporte’s drive configuration – it will be the first all-wheel drive Maserati ever.

These controversial design changes are balanced by pragmatic returns. The 300C’s LX platform is around 150kg lighter than the current Quattroporte chassis and it is expected the reengineered LY version should trim mass even more. This should go some way to assisting Maserati engineers in achieving a weight reduction target of 15% without having to bin some of the Quattroporte’s characteristically over elaborate cabin trim and luxury fittings.

In terms of drive, the sixth-generation Quattroporte is expected to herald a return to forced induction. This should undoubtedly please fans of the erstwhile fourth-generation Quattroporte – renowned for its manic turbocharged V6 pace.

Both six- and eight-cylinder engines will be available, driving all four wheels via a trick eight-speed automatic transmission.

The ZF transmission's surfeit of ratios should ensure an effortless conversion of rotational force to propulsion and shore up economy numbers.

A stop-start system override for the drivetrain (and reduced mass, down from 1 990 - to 1 690kg) promises to net an impressive fuel economy gain of 25% for the new Quattroporte.

Could the all-wheel drive Quattroporte be a Panamera beater? Agree or disagree here...

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