Maserati Sounds the Death Knell for Its Ferrari-Developed V8 Engine

Maserati first launched a V8 in 1939, a racing engine designed specifically for Ernesto Maserati's V8RI. Come 1959, a road-going version was introduced with the superb-looking 5000 GT. Ever since, eight cylinders have been the norm for the Modena-based automaker.
Maserati V8 lineup 12 photos
Photo: Maserati / edited
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Maserati's original V8 was discontinued in 2002 with the 3200 GT. Associated with the Prancing Horse of Maranello since 1997, the House of the Trident received a Ferrari-developed V8 referred to as F136. The biggest difference between the Ferrari- and Maserati-spec F136 is the design of the crankshaft. Ferrari stopped using this free-breathing powerplant with the 458 Speciale in 2015. Both companies made the switch to the F154 series, which comes exclusively with two spinny lads.

Once again, Maserati uses a cross-plane crankshaft and Ferrari employs a flat-plane crankshaft. Maserati will stop receiving the F154 from the Prancing Horse of Maranello in late 2023. To celebrate this amazing powerplant and its eight-cylinder legacy, the Italian automaker will unveil special editions of the Ghibli and Levante at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Based on the range-topping Trofeo, said editions come in the form of the Ghibli 334 Ultima and Levante V8 Ultima.

Both the Ghibli Trofeo and Levante Trofeo, as well as the Quattroporte Trofeo, will remain on sale into 2024. As per the press release attached below, Maserati has produced more than 100,000 road-going vehicles with V8 mills to date. Ferrari hasn't said whether it's also discontinuing the F154 in favor of the all-new V6 of the 296 series - or something else – but in Maserati's case, there's no point in keeping the F154 in production due to the Nettuno.

Nettuno is the marketing handle for Maserati's twin-turbo V6, a very impressive lump that's currently used in the MC20 supercar and Grecale crossover. This 90-degree powerplant has many similarities to the F154 mentioned earlier. It's also related to the F154-derived 2.9L twin-turbocharged V6 motor that Alfa Romeo uses in the Giulia Quadrifoglio and Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

The most recent applications for the Nettuno are the second-generation GranTurismo and its soft-topped sibling, the GranCabrio. More powerful and just as torquey as the 3.8L twin-turbocharged V8 it replaces, the Nettuno does feature Maserati-specific heads. It further stands out in the crowd with the help of pre-chamber ignition that burns fuel more efficiently, therefore improving fuel economy and performance.

This lump and the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill that comes standard in the Grecale may be the final internal combustion engines in Maserati's long and illustrious history. Owned by Stellantis, the cross-border merger between FCA and PSA, the Italian automaker wants to sell only electric vehicles from 2030 onward.

Back in March 2022, chief executive officer Davide Grasso had the audacity to tell investors that demand for internal combustion engines after 2030 will be residual. Electric vehicle sales may be on the rise, and emission regulations are slowly but steadily squeezing out ICEVs from the market, but betting on residual demand in the supersport segment is narrow-minded.

Differentiating one's hi-po EV from other high-performance EVs is many times as difficult compared to vehicles with internal combustion engines. And with Maserati's image in shambles after way too many years of woeful quality and poor reliability, going electric will hardly convince well-to-do peeps that Maserati is worth their hard-earned money in this ballooning segment.
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 Download: Maserati at Motor Valley Fest: “Levante, Ghibli and Quattroporte Trofeo, the latest collector’s items”. The Trident’s future is electric (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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