Joe Duarte

2013 Maserati Kubang

Maserati’s luxury sport ute concept shares the name of another concept shown at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, though the latest is all newly developed in association

2013 Maserati Kubang

Maserati’s luxury sport ute concept shares the name of another concept shown at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, though the latest is all newly developed in association with Jeep (which Maserati parent company Fiat also now owns).

Maserati says it represents a natural direction for the company, as it aims to expand its product range and attract new buyers. What naturally follows is that the Kubang SUV will be built at some point in the near future.

In fact, Maserati is already saying things like “the future sport luxury SUV will be produced in North America and will represent an important part of the future Maserati range.” Chances are it will be made alongside the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango at the flexible Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit (though for cost purposes it could also be assigned to Venezuela alongside Grand Cherokees made there).

And although the Kubang platform may be Jeep, the essence and all major components (suspension, brakes, steering and electronics) will be wholly developed by Maserati engineers in Modena, Italy to insure the Kubang’s characteristics are unmistakably Maserati – style, engine, handling and performance – in keeping with the brand’s core values of sportiness, style, elegance, luxury, performance and craftsmanship.

Not much is known about what drives the new Kubang, except that new engines will come from Paolo Martinelli - Head of the Maserati Powertrain Department, who has also served as engine chief of the Ferrari Formula One team – and will be produced in Maranello by Ferrari.

Speculation is that power will come from an evolved version of the current 4.7-litre V8 in the GranTurismo S. It is expected to offer up higher outputs than the 434-hp and 360 lb.-ft. of the Grand Tourer. Power control will be handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It also wouldn’t surprise us to see a smaller engine – probably a version of Chrysler’s Pentastar 3.6L V6 (which puts out 290 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque in Grand Cherokee and Durango), seeing as Chrysler will eventually be tasked with building all the engines.

Similarly, not much is known about the underpinnings and inside of the new sport-ute, though the rumoured layout is for five passengers (in keeping with the Grand Cherokee interior, whereas Durango is also available with a third row of seats).

Fact file

  • Year/Make/Model: 2013 Maserati Kubang
  • Competitors: Audi Q7; BMW X5;Mercedes-Benz ML-Class;Porsche Cayenne.
  • Warranty (basic): 4 years/ 80,000 km