Recent rumors about Fiat/Chrysler leave you to wonder whether the inmates have taken over the asylum. The latest is that a junior-sized Quattroporte (present car shown) will be grafted onto the Chrysler 300C platform and drivetrain.
On the face of it, that combination might make sense if: a) the car looks nothing like the 300C, and b) can be sold as a true Maserati. Some of us remember the former marriage of that great Italian firm to Chrysler, which resulted in the 1980s Biturbo (see after the break)—underpowered and badly made, beautiful but balky.
The idea of a new Biturbo was first floated by Autoblog Italia, which called it a “baby Quattroporte” or a “Maseratina.” As part of the Fiat business plan, they say, the new car will be a replacement for the Alfa 166 and (at the same time?) the “Lancia flagship for Europe” in 2014. Price may be set anywhere between €55,000 and €100,000—that is, $70,000-$127,000 US.
My Italian is not that great, but this flaky story has been picked up everywhere.
The Maserati Quattroporte is not only the ancestor of the Panamera and all its forthcoming offshoots, but is the classic sports sedan, having won some 55 international awards since 2003. Let us hope that Chrysler doesn’t engineer another fiasco like the Biturbo or its later collaboration on the ill-fated TC.
It all gets you wondering about the company’s direction. Recent attempts to revitalize its products have been mixed, at best. While the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is certainly a success, reviews of the reworked Sebring sedan have not been kind.
One reviewer called the car “a rental fleet queen”—largely because no one else will buy it—and said he got no respect on the road from other drivers, probably because Sebrings “tend to be chosen by hapless retirees cruising along below the speed limit.”
That’s a little harsh, but how many of you have treated Avalon owners with similar disrespect?
Finally, as if Chrysler didn’t have enough bad press, we heard last week about a guy who tried to commit suicide in New York City. He jumped off a 39-story building, but landed on a Dodge Charger—and survived. We knew these cars were good for something.
Does anybody out there remember the Biturbo? Is Chrysler crazy to reincarnate this car?