Maserati Alfieri concept is one heckuva 100th birthday present

Maserati built the Alfieri concept, unveiled at the 2014 Geneva show, for its 100th anniversary.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Masserati Alfieri
Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Masserati Alfieri
Maserati designed the Alfieri concept for its 100th anniversary. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

GENEVA -- Automotive history is littered with car companies that didn't quite make it. Even recently we've seen upstarts Fisker and Coda added to the list of automotive also-rans. For a company to count 100 years in business is quite an achievement, something Maserati celebrated at the 2014 Geneva auto show.

And what better way to celebrate such a milestone but to build a gorgeous GT concept car? Maserati took that tack, unveiling the Alfieri in Geneva.

Rather than a concept leading to a production model, the Alfieri is a bit of a vanity project, yet Maserati points out that the new concept hints at the next century's worth of styling for the Italian automaker. More importantly for the present-day company, it shows off a new GT design with 2+2 seating at a time when the company's most recent models have been sedans.

Maserati previews new century design with Alfieri concept (pictures)

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In GT style, the Alfieri's cab sits back near the rear wheels, while the nose, holding the engine bay, stretches out in front. Maserati's wide, toothy grille opens up low in front, with more air intakes below it. Two air intakes also sit at the back of each rear fender, and Maserati's traditional engine ports adorn the front fenders.

The cabin gets narrower as it reaches the rear of the car, allowing the rear fenders to stick out like haunches. The curved line of the rear fender gets picked up down the side of the car, continuing at the underside of the door. An odd rise in the bodywork at the base of the side windows is intended to echo the forward-canted A-pillars of the 1954 Maserati A6 GCS-53, from which the current designers drew inspiration.

The name, Alfieri, comes from Alfieri Maserati, an engineer and founder of the Maserati company. His name, in blue, appears on the rear of the concept, on a badge based on records of Alfieri's signature.

Maserati keeps the cabin very simple, emphasizing refinement. While there is a touch screen LCD for infotainment in the center of the dashboard, the instrument cluster uses analog gauges. In an interesting twist, Maserati designed these gauges so that the number rings spin around a fixed pointer.

Unlike many pure concept cars, there actually is an engine under the Alfieri's hood. The concept was built on the chassis of a Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale. The engine is a 4.7-liter V-8 making 460 horsepower. Maserati fitted the Alfieri with custom designed wheels, 20s in front and 21s at the rear.

The Alfieri is a beautiful piece of design, and signals that Maserati is not out of the GT game.

Check out CNET's full coverage of the Geneva Auto Show