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Everything you need to know about Maserati | The Car Expert

The famous Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Maserati is currently enjoying a rebirth under its latest owners. But how much do you know about the company and its history?

Maserati is based in the northern Italian city of Modena, although it’s probably only the second-most-famous car company associated with the city. For car enthusiasts, Modena is best known as the home town of the legendary Enzo Ferrari and his famous racing team, although Enzo moved his operation a dozen miles down the road to the town of Maranello during the second world war. But that’s another story.

Maserati is a manufacturer founded in motor racing – like Ferrari – and which launched its first road car in 1947 – also like Ferrari. The two companies were long-time rivals as well as neighbours, and both faced financial ruin in the 1950s before finding new buyers to bail them out in the 1960s. Their paths diverged for decades then came back together, then went their separate ways once more in recent years.

Over its near-100 years of car manufacturing, Maserati has built a reputation for luxury in a sporting package. Over the years, the company has been owned by a succession of other manufacturers, including Ferrari for a while. But it has also produced many cars, and model names, that have become classics – names such as Quattroporte, Mistral and Ghibli. Now the brand is launching into the electric revolution with another distinctive name: Folgore.    

So who or what is Maserati?

The Maserati story started with six brothers born in Modena between 1881 and 1898. The brothers (Carlo, Bindo, Alfieri, Mario, Ettore and Ernesto) were quickly enthused by the then-revolutionary new automobile, so they set up a family firm in 1914 in Bologna, about 30 miles east of Modena. They started out made spark plugs but, before long, the brothers moved into building and racing cars for other companies.

The first car to be called a Maserati, the Tipo 26, appeared in 1926. It made its debut at the Targa Florio, a famous road race around Sicily, driven by Alfieri Maserati to a win in its class and ninth place overall.

The early years of Maserati were all about racing, including two victories at the Indianapolis 500 in America. Maserati’s greatest success came in 1957 when it won the Formula 1 world championship, but on-track successes masked serious financial problems and Maserati withdrew its team from motorsport at the end of that year. It did keep on building racing cars for wealthy customers, however.

By this time, the brothers had long sold up to an Italian industrialist named Adolfo Orsi, but continued to work for Maserati for many years. This marked the start of a chaotic few decades for the company, during which point it changed owners on a fairly regular basis.

Orsi moved the Maserati factory to the family’s home town of Modena in 1940 and the first Maserati road car, called the A6, appeared in 1947. This marked the start of a period of great success for the company, which grew even further after the introduction of a whole new type of car, the Quattroporte luxury sports saloon, in 1963.

In 1968, Maserati was sold to French car maker Citroën, but the 1973 oil crisis pushed Maserati, and Citroën, almost to oblivion and in 1975 it was was jointly acquired by the Italian state and former racing driver Alejandro De Tomaso, who owned his own sports car company.

De Tomaso’s control of the company lasted until 1993 when Maserati was bought by automotive giant Fiat, which also owned Ferrari. Maserati was subsequently positioned as Ferrari’s luxury arm and this arrangement lasted until 2005 when Maserati was split from Ferrari and attached to another Fiat-owned sports car brand, Alfa Romeo.

Fiat merged with US car giant Chrysler in 2014 and then, in 2021, Fiat-Chrysler joined with the French PSA Group (owner of Peugeot, Citroën, Vauxhall and others) to form Stellantis Automobiles. This wheeling and dealing brought Maserati back into the same family as one of its former owners, Citroën.

Maserati Sebring, 1962
Maserati Sebring, 1962

When did Maserati launch in the UK?

For many years, Maseratis were sold in the UK through the brands they were owned by – most notably Ferrari. The first standalone Maserati dealership opened in Newcastle in 2012.

What models does Maserati have and what else is coming?

Maserati currently offers a six-strong model range, of which the flagship Quattroporte has the most history – the first example of the marque’s four-door (quattro porte in Italian) saloon appeared in 1963. The latest is the sixth generation and has been around a while, launched in 2013. It’s a similar size to the BMW 7 Series and is due to replaced next year.

Sharing the Quattroporte’s underpinnings is another model with a long-standing name, the Ghibli (pronounced ‘jib-lee’). This is a slightly smaller saloon (think BMW 5 Series in size) and again the current version dates back to 2013, though it received a major update in 2017.

Somewhat younger is the GranTurismo, a two-door coupe now in its second incarnation which was launched in 2023. It’s a major rival to the likes of the Bentley Continental GT and even the Porsche 911. The GranTurismo has also spawned a drop-top version, the GranCabrio.

Maserati was one of the earliest of the luxury brands to go the SUV route. Its first SUV, a large model called the Levante, launched in 2016, and in 2022 it was joined by a smaller sister, the Grecale. This has underpinnings shared with a car boasting a rather stronger 4×4 pedigree, the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Current Maserati range

Topping the range is Maserati’s supercar, the MC20. Launched in 2022 as the first mid-engined model from the brand since 2005, it produces more than 620hp from its twin-turbo V6 pitching it against rivals from the likes of Lamborghini and McLaren (and of course, Ferrari).

There is currently little hint of any completely new model lines from Maserati but the brand is fully committed to going electric, though it doesn’t use such downmarket phrases. Maserati EVs will carry the badge ‘Folgore’, which is Italian for ‘lightning’.

The first Folgore models will be electric versions of the Grecale SUV and GranTurismo coupé, while a GranCabrio Folgore is also on the way. Maserati has also returned to motorsport to promote its electric ambitions, competing in the all-electric Formula E World Championship.

Folgore – it’s Italian for ‘lightning’ and is the name Maserati gives to its EV models

Where can I try a Maserati car?

If you are interested in buying a Maserati, you should be prepared to travel. Being an exclusive manufacturer means there are not many dealers selling new Maseratis – in fact, there are just a dozen or so across the UK.

The most recent developments are the Maserati ‘Store’ concept, the idea being less car dealership and more retail outlet. Combining showroom and workshop, the Stores aim to let customers create their bespoke cars in the way one would specify a made-to-measure suit from a tailor.

The first Maserati Store opened in Hatfield, north of London, in September 2023, with Maserati’s official UK brand ambassador David Beckham doing the honours. The second is being opened this May in Ascot, Surrey.

Where makes Maserati different to the rest?

Maserati was, for several years, a sister to Ferrari and the two brands’ cars are still built in the same district of Italy. In fact, bodies for some Maserati models are still built by Ferrari in Maranello and then transported up the road to the Maserati factory in Modena.

Some versions of the Quattroporte, Ghibli and Levante also use V8 engines designed and built by Ferrari, but this arrangement is ending with those models as Maserati shifts to its own engine designs.

While Ferraris are all about performance over occupant comfort, Maseratis are principally grand tourers – their impressive levels of performance are matched by the luxury, cars in which it is easy to clock up hundreds of miles in opulent comfort.

A Maserati fact to impress your friends

The Maserati badge is a trident and was created by one of the brothers, Mario Maserati, in 1920. He was apparently inspired by the ‘Fountain of Neptune’ statue depicting the legendary sea god that stands in the Piazza Magiore in Bologna. The logo was considered appropriate as it both recalls the founding city of the Maserati company and also signifies strength and vigour.   

Summary

Many observers might consider that Maserati sits forever in the shadow of its more famous neighbour, Ferrari. It shouldn’t be that way – the brand has just as much Italian history and a motorsport tradition that saw F1 world championship success in the 1950s, underlining the performance pedigree of its cars.

With such credentials, plus a degree of luxury one won’t see in Ferraris, Maseratis remain highly desirable cars. If you like the idea of a fine Italian sporting saloon, SUV or sports car that has far greater exclusivity than a run-of-the-mill BMW, Audi or Porsche, maybe a Maserati could be just right for you.

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This article was originally published by a www.thecarexpert.co.uk . Read the Original article here. .

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