Maserati Alfieri

The Maserati share of the big Fiat Chrysler event today was expected to be something of a snooze, at least relative to the very busy Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Alfa Romeo portions. But the truth is there was plenty to pay attention to where the premium Italian brand was concerned. After all, moving from its 15,400 unit sales in 2013 to a target of 75,000 global sales in 2018 is going to take some doing.

One piece of big news is a shakeup in the existing ranks. 2014 will mark the final year of production for the GranTurismo (and its soft-top counterpart), meaning Maserati will be limited to just its Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans until the Levante SUV arrives in 2015, confirming previous reports. The first SUV to wear the trident, the Levante will only be available with all-wheel drive, but it will boast a Porsche Macan-smiting pair of V6s, with 350 and 425 horsepower, respectively.

Things get back to normal in 2016, as Maserati resumes sports car production with a road-going version of the Alfieri Concept from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Again, this is confirmation of a previous report. That car will be joined by a convertible variant in 2017. It seems like Maser is taking aim at, well, everything with the Alfieri, offering a 410-hp, V6-powered variant that dispatches its power to the rear wheels, to go along with 450- and 520-hp versions of the Alfieri's V6 that will only get their power to the road through an all-wheel-drive system.

For those clamoring for a proper, high-end sports car, you'll want to wait until 2018, when the GranTurismo name is revived, complete with a 560-plus-hp V8 in an honest-to-goodness rear-wheel-drive platform. We're salivating over this one. This monstrous engine will also make its way into the hottest versions of the Levante, Ghibli and Quattroporte.

Speaking of the Ghibli and Quattroporte, the smaller sedan will receive a pair of diesel engines with 250 and 275 hp, respectively. The Quattroporte (and Levante) meanwhile, will get a 340-hp diesel and all-wheel-drive, in addition to the rear-drive and lower-powered powertrains coming to the Ghibli. While we do shudder just a bit at the idea of a diesel-powered Maserati, it's going to be a necessary addition, particularly in Europe, if the brand wants to hit its goal of selling 75,000 units by 2018 (up from just 15,400 last year).

We'll have more from Auburn Hills as the day goes on. Stay tuned.
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