Spy shots have been circulating the web of an upcoming hard-top convertible from Maserati. But while the Trident marque is known to be developing a convertible version of the big GranTurismo, reports now suggest that the vehicle spied is actually the smaller Porsche-rivaling sportscar previously rumored and spied.

Like the Ferrari California, the new model positioned below the GranTurismo is tipped to come only in hard-top convertible form. If that's the case, expect a fast-action retractable roof lighter in weight than a comparable soft-top mechanism but with the added benefits of a solid lid. Again, like the Ferrari, the new small Maserati is expected to have a 2+2 cabin layout, although the rear seats are anticipated to be removable. Power is tipped to come from a smaller version of the 4.2-liter V8 in the base GranTurismo, producing about 350hp and driving the rear wheels through a revised version of the DuoSelect clutchless manual transmission still used in the GranTurismo S instead of the newer ZF six-speed auto in the rest of the Maserati range. Competitive pricing would pit it against the Jaguar XK, BMW 6 Series and Porsche 911. Hard to say at this point if the new model will appear before or after the convertible GranTurismo, but sources suggest it could be ready for unveiling sometime next year, so stay tuned.

[Source: Auto Express]