Maserati is about to release its replacement for the aging GT Coupe but it knows that to reach its ambitious sales target of 12,000 cars by 2011, it will need several new models. The Italian carmaker is looking at three possible new models, the first of which is a high-end SUV based on its Kubang concept displayed back in 2003. Another option would be to build a smaller mid-sized saloon based on the next-generation 169 sedan from Alfa Romeo.

Maserati is actively considering both cars, but according to Autocar, the option most favored by Maserati bosses is a smaller entry level coupe positioned below the upcoming GranTurismo. To save costs, the small two-seater could be built off a shortened version of the Quattroporte platform, a move that would enable the new model to be priced below the £50,000 mark.

Insiders suggest that, if given the green-light, the new coupe would likely receive a revised version of Maserati’s 4.2L V8, detuned to around 350bhp and mated to a semi-automatic gearbox with paddle-shifters. With the GranTurismo growing in size to rival mega-coupes like the Mercedes CL, there’s definitely a gap in Maserati’s lineup for a new smaller model.