13/09/2011 Maserati Kubang: High-performance SUV at Frankfurt
A luxury SUV is destined to join Maserati’s line-up, as confirmed by the unveiling of the Maserati Kubang at the Frankfurt motor show.
Maserati says that developing a vehicle in the ‘sport luxury SUV’ segment is a natural direction for the marque to take – and, considering the success of the Porsche Cayenne, it would be hard to argue with that.
The styling of the Kubang is the work of the Maserati Style Centre, headed up by Lorenzo Ramaciotti, while the 8-speed automatic transmission, suspension, brakes and steering will all be developed in-house in Modena. The Kubang will be powered by new-generation Maserati engines designed in Modena by Paolo Martinelli – Head of the Maserati Powertrain Department (and a one-time ‘engine chief’ of the Ferrari F1 team) – and then produced by Ferrari, in Maranello.
Somewhat contentiously, Maserati states that “For some reason, SUVs today never seem to offer the kind of uplifting driving pleasure and luxury atmosphere that are two givens of today’s high-end sports and luxury cars.” Inevitably, they intend to change all that.
Not that the idea of an SUV is totally new to Maserati: remember the first Kubang concept, unveiled at the Detroit show in 2003? Now, with the amalgamation of Jeep into the Fiat Group fold, Maserati has at last been able to take its plans forward – no doubt using Jeep know-how as a catalyst to create Maserati’s own interpretation of a high-performance SUV.