Maserati plans to partner with Jeep and Ferrari for its first sport-luxury SUV.
Maserati put a fresh face on its Kubang concept nameplate and showed a striking, new crossover SUV concept at the recent Frankfurt auto show.
The Italian automaker showed the original Kubang concept in 2003, when few luxury brands were considering a crossover. A truck still may seem bipolar for this maker of hand-tooled sports cars and sports sedans, but all the tools are now at hand.
Today, Maserati can reach to the other side of the world to its new sister division, Jeep, and explore an all-wheel drive, sport-luxury SUV. It also has reached out to another division partner, Ferrari.
There may be more “production” than concept to the Kubang. In a release, the company said that an SUV is “a natural direction for Maserati to enlarge its product range and strengthen its presence in the sport luxury market.”
Critics may have scoffed at the thought of a Porsche truck, but the Cayenne crossover (a variant of the Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7) has been a sales salvation for the brand. And now a smaller crossover is planned.
The new Kubang styling was created at the Maserati Style Center headed by Lorenzo Ramaciotti. Maserati insists the essence of the SUV and all major system components will be unmistakably Maserati: style, engine, suspensions, brakes, handling and performance. An eight-speed automatic transmission will be developed by Maserati.
New-generation, high-tech Maserati proprietary engines will be designed in Modena, Italy, and built in Maranello by Ferrari. Engine development will be handled in-house by chief engineer Paolo Martinelli, head of the brand’s powertrain department. He also spent nearly 30 years at Ferrari, where he also served as engine chief of the Formula One racing team.There was no word whether the new powerplants will be V-8s, electrified or smaller-displacement “charged” engines, turbo- or supercharged.
Maserati is actively seeking input on the Kubang. Should it be built?