April Fool's Joke

Since 2002, every year AutoZine posts a joke on the 1st of April. Here is a collection of the past jokes. Enjoy !

Maserati new supercar: LesMaserables

Maserati is secretly developing a new hybrid supercar based on Ferrari LaFerrari, as AutoZine has learnt today. It will succeed the 2005 MC12, which was derived from Ferrari Enzo in a similar way. The new car is set to be called LesMaserables, as it represents the true spirit of Maserati.

The LesMaserables is designed by Pininfarina based on the Birdcage 75th concept shown in 2005 (pictured below). It is understood that Fiat group design boss Lorenzo Ramaciotti, an ex-Pininfarina man, wants to compensate his former employer with this project after losing the contract for LaFerrari. If the job is adequately done, Pininfarina may have a good chance of rebounding to the top of the automotive design industry and saving itself from bankruptcy.

Judging from the picture we obtained (above), the design is very successful. In designer's language, its fluidic-sculpture proportion and flamboyant-surfacing combined to create a lot of tension around the DLOs, making the M-finesse all the more obvious without distracting the Art @ Science main theme. Do you understand what I mean? er?

A special feature is the hidden door handles, which are hidden so well that owners will need GPS to locate them.

The chassis is practically the same as LaFerrari, although Maserati will fine tune its suspensions, steering, brakes and electronic driving aids to keep its engineers busy. The powertrain will be a bit diffrerent from the Ferrari. It still employs a 6.2-liter V12, but its bore and stroke will be exchanged to boost torque and reduce peak power in order to avoid embarassing Ferrari. Preliminary computer simulation found it should produce 516 horsepower instead of Ferrari's 800 hp, whereas peak torque should be 800 pound-foot instead of 516.

The electric propulsion remains. It consists of a 163 hp propulsion electric motor, a smaller regenerative motor, power electronics and countless of Duracell batteries. However, the battery will be significantly enlarged to enable zero-emission mode, which is absent on the Ferrari. To accommodate the larger battery, Maserati decided to place it in a trailer, which can be custom-fitted at dealers. Hopefully this will enable the LesMaserables to pass crash test easily without resorting to expensive protection housing like the "zero-intrusion" cell of Mercedes SLS Electric Drive.

The biggest departure from the Ferrari is likely to be interior. It will follow Maserati's tradition to favour leather and wood, whereas the use of carbon-fiber will be limited to the wallpaper of infotainment screen. The screen normally displays a big analogue clock, but it can be reconfigured to the face of Cossette, or just any of the Maserati brothers.

In zero-emission mode, the driver will be instructed by the trip computer to stop breathing. Meanwhile, fart detection system will warn the passenger if suspected gas is detected. In case the emission level exceeds preset limit (which depends on Normal, Comfort or Sport mode is selected), it will stop the car automatically, open the door and eject the passenger, then engage launch control and accelerate away at full thrust. The whole process will run seamlessly without the intervention of driver.

At the moment it is not known when the Maserati LesMaserables will go on sale, or whether its production will get the final greenlight. It will depend very much on how many fools place advanced orders. Given sufficient support, I believe Maserati will really make it come true.

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