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by Tim Beissmann

The upcoming Maserati GranSport will be significantly shorter than the brand’s current sports cars as the Italian manufacturer sets its sights on the Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type.

Maserati CEO Harald Wester admits the current GranCabrio is too big to be a volume player in the sports car market.

“The four-seat GranCabrio is in a segment where even the biggest-selling competitor sells just 2000 a year maximum,” Wester told Motor Trend magazine.

“We need a smaller sports car.”

Maserati-Quattroporte

Both the GranCabrio and its hardtop sibling, the Maserati GranTurismo, measure 4881mm from nose to tail – making them around 400mm longer than the 911 and the F-Type, which both sneak in under 4.5 metres.

Available in both coupe and convertible bodystyles, the new Maserati GranSport will be based on a considerably shortened version of the platform that underpins the new Ghibli (pictured top) and Quattroporte sedans and significantly lighter than any of the brand’s existing models.

Both the 243kW/500Nm single-turbo and 301kW/550Nm twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 engines from the Ghibli are expected to feature in the GranSport line-up, though a dual-clutch automatic transmission appears set to take the place of the new sedan’s eight-speed torque-converter auto. The chassis is also compatible with an even brawnier V8 engine.

Motor Trend reports GranSport pricing will be comparative to the entry-level Ghibli, which is expected to start at approximately $175,000 when it launches in Australia in early 2014.

The design of the new GranSport models is reportedly still being fine-tuned, with production not expected before 2016.