Did you hear that Maserati is planning a new SUV that’s based on a Jeep Grand Cherokee and will be built in Detroit? True. And it’s not even April 1.
When you’re Italian car giant Fiat, and you own both Maserati and Chrysler – makers of Jeep – you look at all the ways you can to maximize your assets.
Maserati unveiled its Kubang concept sport-ute at the recent Frankfurt auto show in Germany with the promise that it’ll be a true red-blooded Maserati when it goes on sale in 2013.
That means while most of the greasy bits, like the chassis 4×4 drivetrain will come from Jeep, it’ll have an engine that will be built in Italy by Ferrari, and suspension and steering developed by Maserati.
And you shouldn’t poo-poo the idea of Jeep underpinnings. The latest Grand Cherokee SRT8 has a monster 6.4-liter V8 under its hood that delivers 0-60mph in 4.8 second acceleration and a top speed of 160mph. Take it to a racetrack and it can embarrass more than a few Porsches.
Of course the idea of a Maserati SUV is nothing new. Back at the 2003 Detroit auto show, Maserati pulled the silk off a Porsche Cayenne-rivaling luxo SUV that it also called the Kubang. Evidently Kubang is the name of a warm Javan wind.
While nothing came of that original Kubang, this one is destined for the showroom, albeit coming a little late to the $100,000 luxury sport-ute party.
In the metal, it certainly looks dramatic enough, with its gaping Maserati-style grille, swoopy roofline, and swept-up body line over the rear wheels. But as with the coupe-like BMW X6, expect more sport and less utility.
But you have to ask the question whether the world really needs a Maserati 4×4 when there are such classy rivals already out there – think Range Rover Sport, think Porsche Cayenne, think Audi Q7? Especially one built in Motown rather than Modena.
We’ll find out in 2013.