In 2011 Maserati showed the world a sports utility vehicle concept called the Kubang. A new Maserati is always good news and it seems that there will be a production-ready version of the SUV shown at next January’s Detroit Motor Show.
Production will start in March 2016, according to the reports. The really good news is that the company have changed the name from Kubang – which sounds like some sort of questionable nightclub – to Levante, a word that means, in Italian, ‘rising’; as of the sun for example. That conjures up a much nicer vibe. Indeed, I spent a splendid week in the pleasant seaside town of Sestri Levante a long time ago so the name carries the right message.
The Levante will give Maserati a foothold in a rapidly growing segment for luxury crossovers that includes the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport and will expand with upcoming models from Bentley, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce. The Italian brand’s crossover will be offered as a five-seat model only and presented as a practical and functional everyday car that offers high levels of luxury, reports have said.
The SUV is a key part of Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s plan to boost Maserati’s sales to 75,000 in 2018 from 36,500 last year. The U.S.A is Maserati’s biggest market with sales of 12,943 last year, apparently. Maserati plans annual production of 25,000 units of the Levante at its Miafiori plant in Italy. Reports say the Levante will start at about 90,000 Euros (£64653 in proper money), with the top model costing close to 200,000 Euros (£143673).
The SUV will be available with a V6 diesel engine and Ferrari-built V6 and V8 petrol engines that will offer up to 580bhp. A plug-in hybrid variant will follow. The Levante will be underpinned by the modular platform currently used for the Ghibli (coming soon to DriveWrite) and Quattroporte cars.