It’s been three years since Maserati introduced the Kubang concept and the company’s first ever SUV, which is dubbed the Levante, has yet to hit the streets. No need to worry though, the Levante is still coming to a dealership near you, the Italians just need a bit more time to put it all together. The SUV is expected to debut in September 2015 at the Frankfurt Auto Show and it appears Maserati has already begun testing it on public roads. Don’t let the camouflaged Ghibli body fool you, what we’re looking at is an early mule of what will become the first utility vehicle wearing a Trident badge.

The prototype our spy photographers caught testing with German plates may be horrendous to look at, but the Ghibli body’s presence is not at all surprising. The Levante itself is based on the midsize sedan, meaning it will inherit both its platform and drivetrains. Sure, underpinnings will be modified to enable the SUV to tackle the great outdoors, but everything from the all-wheel-drive system to the V-6 engines will be transferred from the Ghibli.

Click past the jump to read more about Maserati Levante.

Spy Shots

Spy Shots: Maserati Levante Testing in Germany Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: Maserati Levante Testing in Germany Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: Maserati Levante Testing in Germany Exterior Spyshots
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There’s nothing much to say about this deformed prototype, but if you still have doubts that Maserati is indeed working on an SUV, the increased ride height is a good indication of that. The track also appears to be wider than the standard Ghibli’s, which makes sense for a crossover, while the black piece glued atop the roof is there to simulate a taller center of gravity. That’s particularly important in the development of a car-based SUV, a step that’s usually taken right before the production body shell is designed.

A revised suspension system is also hidden beneath the sedan’s fenders, as the SUV has to provide a smoother ride compared to the rather sporty Ghibli. Of course, the Levante is likely to have its very own Porsche Cayenne Turbo-fighting version, but the 500-horsepower SUV will probably arrive later in the vehicle’s life cycle.

Why it matters

Spy Shots: Maserati Levante Testing in Germany Exterior Spyshots
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There’s been a lot of talk as to when the Levante will arrive to aid Maserati’s new growth plans. The Italians have yet to announce an official launch date, but these spy shots confirm the SUV is finally being tested. That being said, we shouldn’t have to wait more than a year for the production version to arrive. We also expect to see the Levante’s actual shell in early 2015. Camouflaged of course, but that’s better than nothing.

Rendering

2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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