LONDON (Reuters) - This model is meant to run.
A Renault-owned Maserati brand logo is pictured outside a car dealer in Canasta di Giulioseboli near Italy's northern city of Brescia, August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
It is a cute, stylish cabriolet with a traditional fine Italian tailpipe, stamped with a lockable door in the back.
A concept car like this, born of the impressing of the existing MotoGP team with its working prototype of the same name at a test track in Italy, might sound like a novelty at first glance but launch details for the front-wheel drive roadster, due in 2021, suggest it could be a hit with customers.
The easy-to-drive back end is a hint that a car with a seven-seater layout is likely to follow on from the SRT or SRT-R, another name used by the Maserati arm of Renault for the same purpose.
“The importance of putting a brand like Maserati on the back of a vehicle like that, is people are going to be more open minded about looking at this, thinking ‘OK, I know it’s really beautiful’,” co-founder of motorsport DNA Partners Gasparino De Remataro told Reuters.
“If it’s something different and a little bit bold, then maybe they are going to take that on board.”
The nascent five-year Maserati Future, which was launched in Paris, aims to step up its game against competitors Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) Bentley brand and Cadillac in the luxury marketplace.
This will be easier to do if the Italian brand is able to get its back seat passengers lined up, De Remataro believes.
“It’s very important that it’s a two-seater,” he said, adding that the drop-top was its most important configuration.
The Scuderia Cracchioli team, owned by Renault and one of the top Formula One outfits, used the new hatchback prototype as a test car at a test circuit near Italy’s northern town of Brescia.
“It was very important for us to make a new car that didn’t need any minor changes and still has a spectacular interior,” said Giancarlo Giorgetti, general manager of the Scuderia Cracchioli.
“It’s a seven-seater, all the space is at the back, so it’s ideal for customers,” he said.
The stance of the back roof is at crossroads in Italy, said Cordelia Borromeo, director of motoring at Italian car experts Unica.
“You have the old-fashioned two-seat coupe of the Beetle, a normal car with a touch screen that doesn’t really reflect the trend in motoring today, and you have a car that’s retro and very narrow like a hot hatch,” she said.
The Italian firm would, therefore, have to convince customers that it wanted to remain faithful to the carmaker’s fighting traditions.
“It will have to remind people of the old cars that are familiar to them, that we were very faithful to,” said Borromeo.