Shortly after Maserati unveiled the Kubang concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, rumors began circulating that a production version would be offered. Shortly after, Maserati confirmed that a production version will indeed be offered, but the production version will drop the Kubang name in favor of Levante.
The SUV takes its name from the Via Emilia Levante in Bologna, where the Maserati brothers, almost a century ago, dreamed up the company that today still bears their name.
The Levante will be offered with three engines: a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine delivering 410 horsepower, a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 engine with 530 horsepower and a turbo-diesel engine only offered in Europe. All the three engines will be mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and will send their power to all four wheels via Maserati’s new all-wheel-drive system.
Until recently, it was rumored that the Levante would be built at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit alongside the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but due to the huge demand for the Jeep SUV, this isn’t a possibility. Instead, it will be produced in Italy.
The Levante will be unveiled in 2014 - just in time to celebrate Maserati’s centennial.
Image Note: The above image is a TopSpeed rendering and not an official image of the Levante
Update 5/21/2013: A report by Edmunds has revealed more information on the Levante’s production home and drivetrain.
The Levante might be the first SUV hailing from the trident-bearing company, but it will enter a market that is stuffed to the gills with SUVs. The Porsche Cayenne just happens to be one of them.
The Cayenne is currently in its second generation and by the time the Levante hits showrooms, it will likely have already received revisions. The model will receive a series of updates on the exterior and the interior. Also revised will be the current engine lineup, which will see some minor output increases.
The Levante will aim against the high-end versions of the Cayenne, like the Turbo S and its 4.8-liter powerplant with 550 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque.
gallery: Porsche Cayenne
Maserati said the Levante will be a blend of the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne, so it will likely have both models in its crosshairs.
The X6 is also about to enter its second generation in the 2015 model year. BMW will focus on reducing weight, so the new X6 will be about 330 pounds lighter. The engine lineup will see a few updates too, as the entry level version will make use of a four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower and the top version plans to get a 405-horsepower straight-six-cylinder engine.