2020 Maserati MilleMiglia Concept
Hopefully the preview for Maserati’s next all-out supercarby Michael Fira, on LISTEN 14:01
If you ever looked at the Ferrari Monza SP1 and thought to yourself that Maserati, the once-great Italian supercar maker that’s nowadays stuck with sub-standard SUVs and luxury sedans, should make something similar, your prayers have been heard. Sadly, not by Maserati but by freelance designer Luca Serafini who came up with this. If there’s still good left in the world, the MilleMiglia Concept will become a reality.
Imagine taking the best design cues from legendary Maserati models such as the 250F and 6CM, mix in a little bit of McLaren Elva and a sprinkle of Infiniti’s Prototype 10 and you end up with the bold, curvaceous, and utterly beautiful Maserati MilleMiglia Concept. As the name suggests, it would be perfect for a dash down Italy’s tight and twisting B roads, if only it were real...
The State Of Affairs At Maserati
A host of victories in 1933 with the 8CM steered gleefully by the great Tazio Nuvolari. The Formula 1 World Driver’s Title for the old maestro, Juan Manuel Fangio, in 1957 driving the gorgeous 250F. Back-to-back victories in ’60 and ’61 for Camoradi with the instantly recognizable Maserati Tipo 61 known as the ’Birdcage’. A bewildering amount of victories en route to no less than 14 titles between 2009 and 2010 for the prototype-esque MC12 in the FIA GT Championship.
These are just some of the more sonorous achievements of a small Modena-based automaker whose logo is the trident from the statue of Neptune in Bologna's Piazza Maggiore. The name of that manufacturer is, of course, Maserati.
That Maserati’s fortunes have been mixed recently is no secret to anyone and the proud Italian company that was shocking the world with the Bora and the Merak half a century ago has put its last two-door model out of its own misery. The departure of the GranTurismo, a car that’s been around for over a decade, is no surprise and you could hear it coming for a good while now. In fact, Maserati itself has been hinting at the inevitable, the tagline for the GranTurismo on Maserati’s American website being, ominously, ’Rarely seen. Always heard.’ We think it’s the first half of the statement that has hurt the GranTurismo...
To mark the end of the line for both the GranTurismo and the GT Cabrio, Maserati unveiled the Granturismo Zeda, a multi-colored swansong of one of the oldest cars still in production today, with the coupe having been introduced all the way back in 2007. Over 40,000 GranTurismos have been built, all varieties included, and Maserati assured us the hole left by the GranTurismo will be filled right away.
To bolster its claim, the company released a host of ’spy shots’ merely 10 days after flooding the internet with images of the GranTurismo Zeda. It all happened in late November of 2019 and it surprised a lot of people as the prototype seen in the pictures featured a mid-mounted engine, the first Maserati to sport such a layout since the MC12.
We already knew at the time that the Italians plan to unveil a new sports car in 2020 but we expected it to be a front-engined offering to complement the return of a revamped GranTurismo slated for 2021. Both the (as of yet) unnamed sports car and the new GranTurismo will be available in a noise-free guise, part of Maserati’s plan to offer an electric version for every new model they introduce from now on, as well as Level 3 autonomous driving capability.
Will these two sporty models, as well as a new crossover and a new Quattroporte, save the company? We don’t know but what’s clear is that it can’t get much worse. After 2017, a record year for Maserati at a global level, the ship started gathering water as sales dropped by over 20% in 2018. We think a new halo product would help boost Maserati’s image and remind everyone of its enviable heritage and this is where the MilleMiglia Concept comes in.
Enter the Maserati MilleMiglia Concept
You may have noticed that we here at TopSpeed.com don’t usually allot much time to discuss unofficial concepts but allow us on this occasion to entertain a parallel timeline that strays from the real one, a timeline that includes the introduction of the sort of car that McLaren already has in the Elva, a special model that evokes the brand’s history while looking ahead towards the future.
The FCA is probably barely willing to pour money into the two sporty models we know of already so a third one is out of the question at least until 2025, but we think a limited-edition model aimed at the richest 0.1% could work.
As the name suggests, the MilleMiglia is a bit of a throwback with its single-seater, roofless setup. As a brand, Maserati was quite successful in the Mille Miglia, a stage-based road race through Italy that was last held in 1957. In the final few editions of the legendary race, a Maserati was always there towards the top of the standings at the end, an A6 GCS/53 co-driven by Musso and Zocca finishing third in 1954 with class wins coming the way of the Trident in ’53 and ’56.
But it’s not just the single-seater layout that makes the MilleMiglia Concept stand out as Serafini has come up with a gorgeous body to go with it, complete with scissor doors hinged at the back.
’The MilleMiglia concept is a homage to the craftsmen I had the chance and pleasure to work with. My passion for car design grew on me thanks to their involvement. They should be inspiring examples for the next generations with their hard work and passion coming from the heart,’ said Serafini quoted by TopGear.com.
The front fascia looks particularly menacing thanks to that huge grille in the middle with the Trident placed proudly in the center. There are two more inlets placed outboard in a recessed position that only helps to exacerbate the length of the nose and the way it plunges down towards the main grille. A pair of swooping strips of LED lighting on either side make up the headlights but they seem to be placed atop some moveable covers so, maybe, some proper main beams hide behind them.
The hood’s creases underline the vastness of the power bulge that extends almost as far back as the edge of the wind deflector. There are also creases that end at the inner tip of those headlight covers. Talking about lights, the two outboard vents feature one fog lamp each. The front end couldn’t be complete without a bare carbon fiber lip.
Viewed from the side, the MilleMiglia Concept is nothing short of breathtaking.
The up-and-down swoop of the caved-in surfaces across the doors and front quarter panel help define the car’s profile and make both the air vent aft of the front wheel, as well as that which opens up before the rear wheels, a lot more dramatic. Above the former air vent, that’s supposed to evacuate hot air from the brakes, you’ll see the four side vents that have become a Maserati design trademark.
The massive wheels feature an intricate spoke design with no less than five upside-down Vs as well as thin, individual spokes coming out in the middle of each stylized V. The rims feature center-locking like on any contemporary race car. For a touch of old-school chic, the exterior rear-view mirrors are attached to the doors and the curved wind deflector via some very thin, polished support arms. Serafini chose not to go the way of rear-view cameras and, as such, the mirrors are, well, proper mirrors.
Getting in and out of the MilleMiglia would be quite a chore looking at the available renders as one would have to jump over the caved-in sills that feature a strengthening beam as well as some leather that matches the color of the interior upholstery. Once safely strapped in the seat, you’ll notice you’ve got carbon fiber all around you as well as leather.
In fact, the seat itself is made out of carbon fiber and there’s more exposed carbon around the center console, around the scoop that ends right above your head, and on the steering wheel and diminutive wrap-around dash.
The square-ish steering wheel blends carbon fiber with leather on the outer edge of the rim and polished metal on the three spokes.
Behind the wheel, there are three digital gauges or, in other words, three screens inside three circular frames for a more classic appearance.
The cabin is depleted of buttons although you do have your flappy paddles behind the wheel to shift gears as well as one backlit button on the steering wheel itself. There’s also a (probably) multi-functional knob to the left of the wheel on the wraparound carbon fiber console.
The rear end of the car is effectively defined by the hump that ends with that wacky-looking scoop. The top of the hump itself is covered in exposed carbon fiber and there’s a polished bar going across the hump right before it ends. The hump basically begins around back with a bulbous center panel that’s both the meeting point of the thin, LED taillights and house for another Maserati badge. There are two big vents on either side of this bulging centerpiece and the taillights seem to be floating over them.
The lower part of the rear fascia is made up of the diffuser that features some carbon fiber elements that connect to the sides of the back end to help direct air underneath the body which cuts away quite high up while the outer edges drop down to meet with the carbon fiber ’skirt’. While the fenders extend outwards the hug the humongous wheels, they then fall within themselves as the car gets slightly narrower at the back.
Overall, the car is so good looking we're sad Maserati will never build at least one example.
The proportions are just right, it’s got curves, slopes, ridges, and cuts in all the right places as it manages to combine all the latest design trends with some tasteful throwback details here and there. Maybe a moveable rear wing would’ve worked as well as a more meaningful roll hoop to protect the driver but, then again, those are practical details that can be omitted on a design study such as this one.
Now, as you’d expect, Serafini gave no details on what drivetrain could hide under this luscious body which gives us the freedom to explore any and all possibilities. As you know, Maserati has been getting its engines from Ferrari for years, the Quattroporte and GranTurismo both featuring iterations of Ferrari’s F136 90-degree, cross-plane crankshaft, DOHC, 32-valve, 4.7-liter V-8. In its most potent versions, the YQ and YS that powered the GranTurismo MC Stradale and the GranCabrio MC, it put out 454 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.
But the GranTurismo was never a light car and, with a slower six-speed automatic gearbox than what you’d find in a comparable Ferrari, an MC Stradale needed 4.5 seconds to go from naught to 60 mph en route to a top speed of 187 mph. For reference, a bone-stock 458 Italia does the deed in 3.0 seconds. In fact, the GranTurismo MC Stradale is so slow that Maserati’s own Levante Trofeo, the fastest version of the 5,256-pound SUV from Modena, is 0.8 seconds quicker to 60 mph. Granted, it employs a different V-8, namely the 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged F154 AM that cranks out 582 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 538 pound-feet of torque between 2,250 and 5,000 rpm. At the end of the day, however, that too is a Ferrari engine (the direct replacement of the F136 V-8).
|Maserati MC Stradale||4.5 seconds|
|Ferrari 458 Italia||3 seconds|
|Maserati Levante Trofeo||3.7 seconds|
If the deal between Ferrari and Maserati weren’t to end come the next generation of Maserati models, we could, perhaps, see the MilleMiglia powered by the F154 AM V-8 that, basically, is the same engine sitting in the middle of the 488, the F8 Tributo, and the SF90 Stradale, although in those cars it makes as much as 710 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 458 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm. In the SF90, there’s also the added push of electric motors that chip in with an extra 217 horsepower and this could work on the Maserati too given the company’s electrified future.
It is, then, entirely possible for the mill to be pushed to at least 650 horsepower on Maserati's halo car before adding any electric oomph.
The power would reach the wheels via the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic of the Levante or, more adequately, Ferrari’s seven-speed dual-clutch box. But none of this will happen. Instead, we should look forward to what Maserati is cooking in-house.
The heavily camouflaged prototype seen driving out of the Viale Ciro Menotti gates in those ’spy shots’ is merely a testbed for an upcoming engine that will, in turn, spawn a few others. The size of the car suggests Maserati used underpinnings borrowed from Alfa Romeo but it’s unclear whether the new car will be a direct competitor to the 4C. We’re not even 100% sure whether or not the new sports car will be a production version of 2014’s Alfieri or, like this mule, will feature a rear-mid-engine layout. The only thing that’s certain is that the engine in that thing isn’t of Ferrari origin and turbocharging is almost a given at this point too.
Could this new engine power the MilleMiglia? Of course, if it’s potent enough. Looking at the broader picture, it would only add to the prestige of the car if the drivetrain was made entirely in-house too and not just the design. In short, all the pieces of the puzzle seem to align themselves before our eyes: we’ve got a wicked-looking design, the drivetrain is coming along nicely and we should find out all of the details when the nameless sports car is launched in May, and we think there’s a business case for a car such as this one to exist as well.
Sadly, Maserati isn’t on the same page. Having said that, if the tables turn and the upcoming new products help make Maserati profitable again, we may see the arrival of a new halo car before the end of the decade - just don’t hold your breath for it!