Klaus Busse, 48, is Head of Design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Fiat, Abarth, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati brands. Earlier in the month, he cleared his busy schedule to sit down for an interview with Digital Trends, opening up about what it’s like being responsible for guiding design at an auto marque of Maserati’s history and prestige.
Busse started off by telling Digital Trends he doesn’t feel “restrained” by Maserati’s heritage; he feels “responsibility.”
“When you design a Maserati, you’re designing a future collector’s car. That in itself is a monstrosity of a responsibility that is on your shoulders,” he said. “As a design team, we have identified what we believe is Maserati… We try to express the power of the vehicle – its self-confidence – by using purely the trident logo and the shape of the grille. If you’re in a Quattroporte or a Ghibli, for example, when you’re at a light you don’t need to rev your engine to show how much power it makes because your car wears the trident.”
Asked about how he and his team can evolve this Maserati design language that they’ve identified, Busse said the designers try and stay true to “two fundamental aspects.”
“It’s really the trident that makes the face of a Maserati,” he said. “And then, of course, you’ve got the rest of the car.”
“The rest of the car” is a pretty large category, of course, so to get inspiration, Busse turns to Italian fashion.
“Italian design is not what they teach you in art school, like perfect symmetry,” he said. “It’s something with much more character that can lead to confusion when observed individually but becomes amazing when perceived as an overall statement. This will continue to guide us with Maserati.”
Asked whether there is a specific type of car Klaus Busse would like to design for Maserati, the 48-year-old designer said: “I think the answer is ‘no.’ Look at the Levante. You could say: ‘Maserati did an SUV.’ I’d say: ‘We did another Maserati which happens to have the space and the ride height of an SUV.'”
“When we started the project, we had nothing to refer to,” he continued. “How do you do a Maserati SUV? We don’t. We just do what we do, give it a Maserati face, an elegant body, but instead of having a three-box design we did it almost like a hatchback.”
Maserati’s latest model – the 590-horsepower Levante Trofeo (pictured) – made its debut earlier this year at the 2018 New York International Auto Show. The design builds on that of the standard Levante with a large lower grille, separated side inlets, and hood heat extractors. It’s slated to launch this fall as a 2019 model.
For Digital Trends‘ full interview with Maserati designer Klaus Busse, click here.