Maserati introduced the Ghibli by calling it “the absolute opposite of ordinary.” This same phrase has inspired designer Ben Thompson to create a rendering of a new Maserati sports car that may never be produced, but is still generating buzz on automotive blogs all the same.
Thompson designed the Maserati Diatto as a thesis project that would completely defy convention, and his concept demonstrates an incredible amount of thought, right down to the details of the wheels. The spokes are made to guide the eyes toward the Maserati emblem at the center, while the negative space between them provides glimpses of the suspension and in-wheel motor systems. Through clever touches like these and many others, the car’s design points to the immense amount of engineering behind the vehicle.
Thompson carefully considered other aspects of the design as well. For instance, the key resembles the shape of the car and instead of buttons, features a swipe function that people would use to lock and unlock the doors. Meanwhile, the car’s interior has a simplified, sleek dashboard with a small cluster of gauges behind the steering wheel, which itself has mounted paddle shifters for optimal engine control. The Diatto is imagined as an autonomous vehicle boasting the most advanced technology, while also offering a uniquely analog experience for drivers. Its aesthetic is incredibly futuristic, yet still evocative of the power and speed that Maserati has always been known for.
Looking Forward to the Future with a Nod to Maserati’s Past
Thompson’s Diatto is an open-top roadster that mirrors traditional Maserati lines while breaking from convention at almost every turn. What many Maserati fans will likely appreciate about the design is the fact that it does not shy away from looking like a car, as other futuristic designs often do. The prominent wheel flares and long hood give a strong nod to Maserati’s history while simultaneously creating a completely new profile. Viewed from above, the car’s design evokes the trident of the Maserati logo, offering a distinctive viewpoint on what a futuristic vehicle can look like. The exterior blends sharp, Maserati-style lines with smooth contours that make the car unlike almost any other vehicle seen before.
Maserati fans will also appreciate that the Diatto focuses on performance. Maserati vehicles have always married impeccable design and class-defining performance, and this concept is no different. The electric motor designed for the car produces a combined 683 horsepower with a proposed 0-to-60 time of 1.86 seconds and a top speed of 230 miles per hour. These specs have many people wondering when such a vehicle might be ready for a test drive. However, Thompson’s project is only a rendering of a theoretical car, not an official Maserati announcement of an upcoming production vehicle or prototype.
How the Diatto Honors and Builds Upon Maserati History
This unique design in some respects resembles the Maserati MC12, which itself was based on the Enzo Ferrari. The MC12 made waves because it simply looked so different than any other vehicle out there—even the Enzo that had served as its chassis. This 2004 limited-production sports car was sleek and sexy, yet also imposing in a way that has become synonymous with Maserati. The Diatto builds on this basic idea and pushes it into the future. In addition, the Diatto name is a tribute to Maserati history: Alfieri Maserati worked with the racing team of Italian automobile manufacturer Diatto in the 1920s.
When the Diatto 20 Type was introduced at the Milan Exhibition of 1922, the Maserati brothers paid close attention and ended up testing this famous car. When Diatto announced that it wanted to enter the Grand Prix Formula with a two-liter, supercharged engine, the company enlisted the help of Alfieri. He created a light-alloy, eight-cylinder, supercharged engine with dual overhead camshafts. This engine debuted in the 1925 Italian Grand Prix with driver Emilio Materassi behind the wheel. Following the race, the team adjusted the size of the engine, put the Maserati emblem on the new vehicle, and named it the Tipo 26. This model went on to win more than 100 races in the next few years, and these wins helped launch the Maserati brand.
Using the Diatto partnership as inspiration for this rendering makes a lot of sense. The partnership helped Maserati grow into the brand that it is today, just as the Diatto rendering provides a concept that could launch Maserati into the future. In creating the design, Thompson considered the rapid automation of driving and the many benefits that it could provide by giving people more time to focus on other things in life. However, he also noted that automation has its limits, and sometimes people simply need something more visceral in their lives. Maserati has always focused on the raw, visceral experience of driving, and Thompson’s Diatto certainly emphasizes that feeling.