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The Jeep-based Maserati Kubang drops at Frankfurt 2011

We have known for some time now that Maserati was planning to unveil a new luxury sport utility vehicle at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and as the huge German event has begun, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee based Maserati Kubang has met the world with a look that is very distinctly all-Maserati.

Whenever you hear about a new model being based on an existing, popular model, there is the concern that the new model will be nothing more than a rebadged version of the first but that doesn’t appear to be the case with the new Maserati Kubang what-so-ever. The front and rear fascia display styling similar to the other current Maserati products; especially with regard to the huge grille opening sporting the Maserati trident logo so there is no resemblance to the Jeep (or Dodge Durango) in those areas. Along the side, the new Maserati ute has sheet metal that is distinctly its own with sharp body lines running through the middle of the vehicle. Even the roofline of the Kubang differs vastly from the lines of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, with the Maserati SUV having a much milder slope to the rear glass – almost making it look more like a fastback. The exterior refresh does a great job of giving the Kubang an identity of its own, looking more like a Porsche Cayenne in some ways than it does the Jeep with which it shares a platform.

Maserati has not offered any concrete information on the drivetrain of the Kubang SUV, but they did explain that they would have “a new generation of proprietary engines” designed by former Ferrari Scuderia factory racing team member Paolo Martinelli. Once the engines have been designed and approved by Maserati management, these powerplants will be built by Ferrari in their Maranello facility. There was speculation that Maserati would rely on the same engines as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango with which it shares a chassis, especially since the Pentastar V6 has already been slated for other European duty but today’s announcement clears any question of the Maserati Kubang using Chrysler engines. We do know that this vehicle will feature an 8-speed automatic transmission, but there is no word on whether or not this is a similar 8-speed transmission to the one designed by ZF and currently used by the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300.

The Maserati Kubang is expected to be built at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) alongside the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, so for any units intended for the US market, we can presume that the Ferrari-built Maserati engines will be shipped to Detroit. Ultimately, this means that there won’t be any Hemi-powered Maserati SUVs running around the European countryside. However, this spells good news for the workers at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant as more models mean more shifts – adding job security for those folks.

Have a look at the gallery on the right for a closer look at the new Maserati Kubang SUV and check out the links below for more 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show coverage!

Other 2011 Frankfurt News:
The Ford Fiesta ST Concept debuts at the 2011 Frankfurt show
The Fisker Surf debuts at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show
Lamborghini confirms Sesto Elemento production in Frankfurt
Frankfurt: The 2012 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale
The production form of the 2012 Ford Focus ST debuts in Frankfurt
Subaru Reveals Complete Details on Urbanized XV Crossover at Frankfurt Auto Show
Opel RAK e Concept targets EV affordability at Frankfurt Motor Show