It has been known since last year that Maserati was working on an SUV based on Chrysler architecture. The car, the Maserati Kubang, was recently shown at the Detroit Auto Show.
Purists need not worry
When it comes to luxury brands, few are in same class as Maserati. The brand is quintessentially Italian; its cars have as much passion and flair as they do horsepower. The brand has few peers among premium luxury performance cars.
Thanks to Chrysler being mostly owned by Fiat, Fiat brands are uniquely poised to enter the U.S. market, and Fiat includes Maserati. According to USA Today, Maserati is showing off the Kubang, the crossover SUV that is going to be made in Detroit. Maserati’s CEO, Harald Wester, confirmed the new uber-premium vehicle is going to be made at Jefferson North, a Chrysler plant that makes the Jeep Cherokee.
The United States, USA Today points out, is Maserati’s largest market, though Maserati sold only 2,400 cars in the U.S. in 2011. Still, it makes sense to build in the U.S. The target output is 20,000, a good number of which will be shipped overseas, similar to BMW’s Spartanburg, S.C., plant, which produces X-series SUVs for export.
Though it will be built in Detroit, the Kubang will not be a Jeep with the Maserati trident slapped on the front. The engine, according to AutoWeek, is going to be made in Maranello by Ferrari as will the eight-speed transmission.
The engine hasn’t been announced, but the Maserati SUV is getting its own bespoke motor, according to the Boston Herald. The company only offers a 4.7-liter V-8 in its current range, according to Maserati’s website, the most powerful of which produces 444 horsepower. The chassis, though, will be uniquely American. Maserati is using the chassis from the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Maserati is one of the most exclusive brands in the world. New models on the Maserati of Beverly Hills website start at more than $130,000. The Kubang isn’t an off-roader, and if the price is typical of Maserati, other sporty SUVs will be cheaper. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo, for instance, starts at $107,100 and produces 500 horsepower from a 4.8-liter V-8. That’s the top-of-the-line model; the base starts at $48,200.
BMW’s M division currently has the MX5 and MX6, which start at $87,250 and $90,300, respectively. Both feature BMW’s xDrive system and get 444 horsepower from BMW’s 4.4-liter V-8. Mercedes has the ML63 through its AMG division. The ML63 AMG produces 503 horsepower from its 6.3-liter V-8 and is a relative bargain at $92,590.
Maserati of Beverly Hills: http://www.maseratibeverlyhills.com/index.aspx
Mercedes AMG: http://www.mercedes-amg.com/?lang=usa#/home