The idea is fantastic, of course. Maserati's styling is mostly brilliant, its interiors mostly opulent, and its pricing mostly far better than Ferrari's. Adding in a legitimate dose of 911-esque performance might make one of the best cars available. But therein lies the rub.
Ferrari isn't likely to stand by and watch Maserati produce a car (likely powered by a Ferrari-derived engine) that will impinge on 458 Italia performance territory--as the top end of the 911 range does--for a substantial fraction of the price. Beyond that, the performance-first ethos is more Ferrari's domain than Maserati's, though of late, Ferrari has been edging toward a more balanced mix of luxury, comfort, and speed.
According to the Italian sites that are promulgating the rumor, however, Maserati is in fact working on an all-new GranSport with a mid-engine layout, price under 150,000 euros (meaning likely under $150,000), and performance to rival the Porsche 911 Turbo and Audi R8.
That would give the Ferrari 458 Italia a little breathing room on price, but not much on performance--the current Porsche 911 Turbo is rated at 500 horsepower, 3.5 seconds to 60 mph and a top speed of 194 mph; the Italia scores 562 horsepower, 0-60 mph in about 3.3 seconds, and a top speed of 202 mph.
More interesting yet, the rumors say the mid-engine GranSport idea relies heavily on digging through Ferrari's parts bin for the engine, dual-clutch transmission, and much of the carbon fiber or aluminum chassis design.
Adding a small dose of reality to the idea, Al Volante notes that Harald Wester, Maserati/Alfa Romeo CEO and the man credited with the idea, says it's just a proposal at this point. Will it survive scrutiny from the higher-ups at the Fiat Group? We have hope, but that may be all we have.