Maserati introduced a luxury SUV at the Detroit Auto Show – the second time in nine years. The difference this time is that the executives plan to build it. Chrysler Group's Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit will build the luxury Kubang SUV, which will be built on the same platform as the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The SUV will be exported throughout the world. This SUV will be powered by an engine built in Italy by Ferrari.
It will be mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Harald Wester, Maserati's CEO, said that his company will also develop the interior parts. Fiat S.p.A. (Chrysler Group's parent company) owns Ferrari and Maserati. In 2003, Maserati had presented a luxury SUV concept in Detroit but the vehicle never got the green light.
The concept vehicle on display in Detroit is the same one that had its global debut this September at the Frankfurt auto show. Maserati has yet to release the pricing, specifications, and name of the SUV.
There is currently no SUV in the lineup of the luxury performance brand but Wester explained that an expansion into the segment was required for Maserati's development. He said that it’s now the right time to build this Maserati model.
The new Maserati Levante combines superb off-road capabilities with the already outstanding on-road handling of Maserati cars. As it is, the Levante is laden with an assortment of performance-oriented elements. For instance, the new Levante has the lowest center of gravity in the luxury SUV class and extensively employs lightweight materials.
In addition, it features an ideal 50-50 weight distribution as well as an unparalleled level of agility in its class. Moreover, the Levante has an aluminum "double wishbone five-link" suspension layout that includes electronically controlled Skyhook shock absorbers and standard Air Springs. This suspension layout, along with the Torque Vectoring system and the intelligent Q4 All-Wheel-Drive system, allows the new Levante to deliver a whole level of comfort and handling both on-road and off-road.
This new SUV is also provided with off-road equipment. Serving as the heart of the Levante is the latest iteration of the Maserati petrol and diesel 3-liter V6 engines. Customers could choose between any of the two petrol V6 engine featuring the latest GDI and twin-turbo. The 350hp V6 petrol allows the Levante to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just six seconds and reach a top speed of 251 km/h.
On the other hand, the 430hp version allows Levante to accelerate from nil to 100 km/h in only 5.2 seconds and achieve a top speed of 264 km/h. The 275hp common-rail turbo-diesel version, meanwhile, features direct injection technology and reduced dwell time injectors to allow the Levante to dash from a standstill to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds and reach a max speed of 230 km/h, while consuming just 7.2 liters per 100 kms (New European Driving Cycle or NEDC).