Frankfurt: Maserati Kubang Arrives; Looks Nothing Like a Jeep

We’re happy to report that the “leaked” image of the Maserati SUV that surfaced last week is wholly and totally a fake. We thought so, but you never know for sure. Today, Maserati has dropped official pictures of its new concept SUV, the Kubang. Wait, we’ve heard that name before haven’t we?

Yes, we have; Kubang was a concept SUV by Maserati in 2003. The idea for a Maserati SUV was being considered for quite some time, a year after the brand returned to the United States once more. This time though, Kubang previews a production vehicle. Much has changed since 2003 – Maserati now has a platform to base an SUV on.

Thankfully, the Kubang looks nothing like the Jeep Grand Cherokee it shares a platform with. Not that the Grand Cherokee doesn’t look great (it does), but Maserati needs to have a product that is entirely different.

Maserati says the two will share very little other than basic underpinnings: “style, engine, suspensions, brakes, handling and performance will all be 100% Maserati, in picture-perfect continuity with the brand’s core values.”

The main focus of the Kubang will be on driving experience. According to Maserati, none of its competitors in the segment offer “the kind of uplifting driving pleasure and luxury atmosphere that are two givens of today’s high-end sports and luxury cars.” We’ll see if the Kubang can live up to that tall order.

The Kubang of 2011 has a far more aggressive design than the previous concept. Curvaceous body panels dominate; the rear view would definitely have to be our favorite. Other than a press release, specifications aren’t available. We do know a new generation of Maserati-specific engines are being developed in Modena, Italy – where they will also be produced by Ferrari. The work is being led by Paolo Martinelli, Maserati’s Head of Powertrain Department. Prior to work at Maserati, Martinelli served as engine chief of Ferrari’s Formula One racing team. How is that for pedigree? No interior pictures of the Kubang are available yet. No word on when this thing will hit the road; stay tuned.

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