Maserati announces Kubang SUV at Frankfurt Motor Show

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Maserati is well known for building exotic sports cars and luxury sedans, so it comes as a surprise that the Italian automaker's latest model will be a sport utility vehicle. At this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, Maserati was in attendance to show off this new vehicle, which it calls the Kubang.

The decision to build an SUV is based off of Maserati's desire to increase its product range. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche made the same decision years ago when they added SUVs to their vehicle lineups.

What's interesting is the fact that Maserati hinted at the idea of building an SUV nearly 10 years ago with the introduction of the Kubang concept vehicle at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show. The development of the production version Kubang is due in part to Maserati's relationship with sibling company Jeep, via parent company Fiat. It's expected that the new Maserati will employ a number of Jeep technologies when it comes to market.

However, the styling, engine, suspension, brakes and handling performance will all be "100% Maserati" as stated by the Italian automaker. The design development of the Kubang was lead by Lorenzo Ramaciotti of the Maserati Style Centre. Paolo Martinelli, Head of the Maserati Powertrain Department will be in charge of developing the Kubang's engine. Martinelli has a wealth of experience having served as the Engine Chief of Ferrari's Formula One racing team in the past. No engine specifications have been divulged as yet, although Maserati has stated that the Kubang will make use of an 8-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, the suspension, brakes and steering will all be developed exclusively in Modena, Italy by the Maserati Product Development Department.

Maserati's decision to build an SUV may upset a lot of automotive enthusiasts who feel that the automaker should focus exclusively on what it's been building for decades, sports cars and sedans. Porsche faced similar criticism when it debuted its Cayenne SUV after decades of building nothing but sports cars. In Maserati's defense, competitors such as Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz have all profited from building SUVs. The Italian automaker has simply decided to seek out its share of this lucrative market segment. As Maserati puts it, "Times have changed: sportiness and luxury today don't have just one definition."
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, SUV, Maserati, Kubang, $99,999+,

Geographic location: Frankfurt

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