Prototypes for Maserati’s next model, a new coupe-cabrio based on the same platform as the Ferrari California, were first seen testing more than a year ago but soon disappeared once engineers started focusing on completing the car with the prancing horse badge. The last we saw of the Maserati prototypes was back in February when a mysterious GranTurismo with ill-fitting body panels was spotted in Italy.

Heavily disguised cars have now been spotted testing in and around the Nurburgring in Germany, confirming that the smaller Maserati model is still in the works. Both the recently revealed California and this new Maserati model are based on a shortened GranTurismo platform, and both will feature the same folding hard-top.

The new coupe-cabrio will feature the same running gear as the GranTurismo, which means a 405hp (302kW) 4.2L V8 engine and six-speed ZF automatic transmission will feature. Maserati is likely to follow up with a performance ‘S’ addition, which should get the same 440hp (327kW) 4.7L V8 engine as its GranTurismo cousin.

Styling of both cars will be similar as this rendering suggests (the key difference being a significantly shorter wheelbase), and the first production model should appear late next year or in early 2010. Before then, Maserati is expected to launch the convertible version of the current GranTurismo.