This comes from the Vehicle and Driver difficulty level in June 2023.

Our initial reaction to Maserati’s unveiling of the gorgeous second-generation GranTurismo coupe was quite subdued, and one might even say it was confused. We were curious about the design, which was stunning but recognisable, so we asked, “Is that new?” This sense of bewilderment intensified when we learned that the car manufacturer planned to offer this correct vehicle—a long-hood, quick-deck GT with a traditional profile—in two distinct powerplant configurations. Prospective purchasers have the option of taking a test drive in a battery-electric car or truck or in a coupe equipped with a twin-turbo V-6 internal combustion engine. From the outside, it might not be obvious that the interiors of these vehicles are distinct from one another.

Klaus Busse, the head of design for Maserati, claims that the decision to go in this direction was dictated by a desire to maintain the historic style and dynamic characteristics for which the trident brand name is known. As a result of the decision that was made regarding the positioning of the electric components, he argues that it is possible to preserve the low profile of the vehicle. This is due to the fact that nothing will be placed below the front seats. In contrast to a number of competitors who integrate a height-increasing battery pack in the floor, Maserati’s pack takes up space in the engine compartment, the gearbox tunnel and some location towards the back of the rear seats.

The layout was not primarily created with aesthetics in mind. “When you have the batteries underneath the seats all the way outboard, then the car tends to understeer mainly because you have all of these gravitational forces of the batteries,” suggests Busse. “By keeping the batteries in the central position, you can avoid the gravitational forces that cause understeer and keep the vehicle tracking straight.”

The assembly strains are currently going through a period of change. Even if electric vehicles and internal combustion engines seem to be the way of the future, manufacturers are working to make the transition as smooth as possible.


Despite the fact that the manufacturer plans to make the switch to all-electric vehicles by the year 2030 and will eventually develop layouts that are exclusive to BEVs, the dual powertrain options will still be available until the end of this decade. Along these lines, Maserati plans to electrify its Grecale SUV in the near future.

Multiple Propulsion Systems in One Vehicle

Maserati is not alone in taking this method at all. After debuting the outrageously designed i3 for the 2014 model year and seemingly setting the stage for a rollout of individual electric vehicles from its i subbrand, BMW has changed its approach. Even though it still retains the right to release the occasional one-off focused battery-electric powered design, such as the radically styled and bedazzled iX, its primary strategy is to continue on to build vehicles, such as the 4-series Gran Coupe and the 7-collection luxurious sedan [see “Green Is Good,” page 48], that are able to accommodate a battery-electric, plug-in-hybrid, or an internal combustion engine powertrain.

Domagoj Dukec, the head of layout at BMW, argues that the transition to electrification will not happen overnight. “We imagine that it will not go from one day to the other,” Dukec says. He also notes that the brand name wants to ensure that customers are content with the two ICE and BEV options available to them.

According to Dukec, “For us, the number one promise is that the driving character of BMW will always be very dynamic.” It will be dynamic regardless of whether it is powered by diesel, petrol or a plug-in hybrid, so there is no need to worry about that. Furthermore, if it is truly electric, then it will also be dynamic. ” Because of the adaptability of this system, BMW is able to react quickly to change industry needs and policies by producing more or fewer of any powertrain, depending on the customer’s preference. “The winner will probably be the one who can adapt to this unpredictability,” he says. “The future is unpredictable.”


It would appear that Land Rover is taking a path that is analogous to this one. The company announced that this luxurious off-roader, along with five other members of the Land Rover family, would be available with a regular combustion engine, as a plug-in hybrid, or with an electric powertrain when it unveiled the most recent generation of the Variety Rover for 2022; however, not all of the electrified solutions have yet appeared in the United States.

The automotive industry is undergoing a fundamental shift towards electric vehicles.

Land Rover stablemate A diversified strategy is being implemented by Jaguar, which was an early adopter of BEV technologies with the 2019 I-Rate. It intends to make the switch to an entirely electric lineup within the next ten years, during which time it will launch a variety of brand-new electric options, beginning with luxurious SUVs.

Even Volvo is putting its money where its mouth is. The company has halted development of new internal combustion engine powertrains and has pledged to fully electrify all of its vehicles by the year 2030. As part of this commitment, the company will replace its existing models with battery-electric variants. This plan of action starts with the electrical 2024 XC90 switch, which will finally transform into the XC90. Owen Prepared, the chief of strategic and manufacturer design for the firm, states that “Volvo has almost never been a maker identified predominantly for engines.” This puts us in an advantageous position for the transition that lies ahead.

Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that Cadillac is also going in this direction. It said that the recently redesigned Escalade is its final internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle line, and it has just revealed the electric vehicle that will succeed it, the 2025 Escalade IQ. Moving forward, every new Volkswagen Caddy will be an electric vehicle, exactly as the recently released Lyriq SUV and the Celestiq flagship sedan.


Mercedes Next Takes Two Different Roads

Luxury juggernaut During this period of change, Mercedes will be taking a new street, or more accurately, two roads. In addition to its complete selection of internal combustion engine (ICE) variants, Benz is currently in the process of acquiring a full portfolio of parallel battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The S-course and E-course sedans have electrical doppelgangers in the form of the EQS and EQE sedans, but these folks are developed on their own platform instead of sharing a platform with their counterparts. “Goal architecture justifies a function,” proposes Robert Lesnik, the brand’s head of external design and style, when talking about the divergence between the classic a few-box configuration of Benz’s traditional cars and the arcing bow condition of its electric sorts. Lesnik was speaking of the differentiation between the classic a few-box configuration of Benz’s traditional vehicles and the arcing bow condition of its electric kinds. “That indicates that from the outside, you are capable of seeing that this is not just a standard or recognised motor vehicle,”

Brands that cater to the mass market, such as Honda and Kia, are following a strategy that is analogous to this one. Honda intends for its electrified mid-size Prologue SUV and compact cost-effective electric vehicles to cohabit with the Pilot and the Civic. All of these vehicles will be produced jointly with GM. Kia introduced the electric two-row EV6 and three-row EV9 alongside the equivalent Seltos and Telluride. Both vehicles have three rows of seating. It is possible that both of these manufacturers may continue to produce automobiles with tailpipes beyond the year 2030.

For Mercedes, the parallel track will only continue until the 2020s, which corresponds to a single vehicle technology. After that, the brand intends to switch to an exclusively electric powered lineup, therefore the parallel track will end in the 2020s. “Like a zip on your jacket. It has two sides, and when you open it up, they both unfold,” adds Lesnik. “And by the finish of the decade—the life cycle of one particular car—everything will be electric, and the zipper will return to its original position,”

Editor with Contributing Duties

Formerly a preschool instructor and the director of an early childhood centre, Brett Berk (he/him) has worked for the past ten years as a researcher focusing on youth and families. These days, he writes about the intersection of children and the automotive industry for publications such as CNN, the New York Times, and Popular Mechanics, amongst other people. He is the author of the parenting book titled The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting, and he has been driving and reviewing hundreds of automobiles for Auto and Driver and Highway & Track given since 2008. He is also a contributing editor for these two publications. In addition, he has done work for publications such as Architectural Digest, Billboard, ELLE Decor, Esquire, GQ, Travel + Leisure, and Self-importance Truthful.