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Maserati has clocked one of the early surprises of this year’s Geneva show, whipping the covers from this, the not-at-all-ugly Alfieri concept.

It’s a potential vision of a more affordable Maserati than anything in the firm’s current line-up - a bottom-of-the-range 2+2 hatchback to sit below the GranTurismo, and built on a lightweight aluminium platform.

But is it any more than a potential vision? We’d say so. When Maserati CEO, Harald Wester, announced the car, he initially stated, “We’re evaluating it for production.” Then later slipped, “It completes - could complete - the lineup of Maserati.” Oops.

That said, we’ve known about an impending ‘baby Maser’ for a while. TG’s Paul Horrell revealed Maserati was planning an F-Type rival called the Gran Sport last summer. It’s slated for production between the end of 2016 or into 2017, will be rear-wheel drive and powered by the V6 and V8 turbo engines currently found in the Ghibli.

But obviously, for now - and save for an embarrassing slip of tongue - the official word is this is still a concept, named after company founder Alfieri. He was the most prominent of the three Maserati brothers, and the very engineer that founded “Officine Alfieri Maserati” in Bologna a century ago.

Like the swoopy outline? It’s been drawn by Lorenzo Ramaciotti, who says the short wheelbase sportster pays homage to the old A6GCS. He told Top Gear, “The long bonnet, wide shoulders, oval hatch, and kick on the door skins echo the A6.”

We don’t think we’ll hear much on a production Alfieri till at least 2015, largely because the company’s busy working on the Kubang SUV. We don’t mind if you push this one to the front of the queue, Maser…

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