For years, the Exotic SUV has been a market that consisted only of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, which has a starting price of over $100,000. However, through 2015, the market will expand to include options from multiple brands, including: Maserati; Aston Martin; Bentley; and possibly Jaguar. At the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Maserati debuted its Exotic SUV, the 2013 Maserati Kubang.

2013 Maserati Kubang

Maserati Kubang

Source: Maserati.com

The name Maserati has been a long-standing symbol in high-end luxury performance cars. The 2013 Kubang concept SUV is Maserati’s first offering into the lavish performance SUV sector. While the current design is only a concept, Maserati confirms plans to offer a production version. Many rumors have been flying around after its shocking debut at the Detroit auto show. We do know for a fact, the Kubang in production form, will not be offered under the same name. Rumors have been circulating the official production name may be Cinqueporte, congruent with their other model names.

A bold step for Maserati, the Kubang marks their groundbreaking entry to a new automotive segment. Maserati will be competing with such companies as Porsche, Range Rover, BMW & Mercedes-Benz. Maserati’s hopes its Kubang has what it takes to capture their own piece of the pie in the luxury performance SUV market.

About three years ago, Chrysler became the property of the Italian Fiat group of companies. Most car enthusiasts are aware Ferrari and Maserati are apart of this umbrella. However the most shocking news from this merger states the Kubang will be a crossbred with Jeep, based on the Jeep Cherokee chassis. This is a bold move for Maserati, threatening to alter the company’s prestige as an Italian super car maker.

Think about this, a Jeep chassis, Maserati styling, and a Ferrari motor. The result is a child born from an the best of the best lineage. Which raises the question, are consumers going to pass on what they believe to be a polished up Jeep Cherokee, or are they going to fall in love with a thoroughbred Maserati? Interestingly, Maserati doesn’t seem apprehensive this will tarnish their brand name as a high-end luxury automaker. The designers insist its base platform won’t detract anything from the luxury and performance Maserati has always been known for. They claim that performance, handling, brakes, suspensions, engine and style will all be 100% Maserati in picture-perfect continuity with the outstanding values of craftsmanship, performance, luxury, elegance, style, and sportiness.

Just like any other of their high-end offerings, the crossbred Kubang will feature a Ferrari power plant. To ensure the breathe taking feeling Maserati customers are used to, Maserati put the famous engine builder Paolo Martinello, former head of the Ferrari F1 engine development team, in charge of the 450hp engine and power train. Fiat has confirmed the engine will be assembled in Maranello, and married to a Fiat eight-speed transmission. No specific information has been supplied yet about the size or orientation of the engine. Curiously, we are all eager to see how it performs against the 470 horsepower and 465 ft/lbs of torque the Jeep SRT8 delivers.

Straying away from the Jeep Parts bins, the performance brakes, suspensions, and steering were engineered by Modena. The interior design is still undergoing major redevelopment; no interior pictures have currently been released. While the Kubang will share Jeep DNA, it’s safe to say the interior will incorporate all the first class amenities Maserati is known for.

While were all left in the dark as to what styling elements will make their way from the concept car to the actual production version. Head stylist of the Kubang, Lorenzo Ranaciotti, has influenced the modern and sleek lines that encompass the Kubang concept car. The Kubang shares the same front grill from its cousins the Quattroporte and Granturismo. While the overall feel and nitty details, such as the light strip blinkers on the side view mirrors, screams a relationship to your bank account.

Maserati enthusiasts may remember when the first Kubang concept car was revealed in 2003. However the 2003 model never made it into production. Ten years later, the 2013 version has a few similarities. The designers kept the same basic shape, while updating the style with more modern lines and curves. The 2013 concept car also sports more modern design cues within the headlights and taillights. Bold new wheels come equipped standard on the new concept vehicle. Both versions share a similar interest, a far cry from the body styling we are used to seeing from Maserati.

Maserati’s 2013 Kubang offering to the lavish performance SUV sector will be interesting to say the least. Consumer reactions to the hybrid-crossbred lineage will be dictated in the cars first full year of sales. Maserati is confident the crossbred Kubang will maintain the heart and soul of the Maserati brand name. Maserati is anticipating strong sales figures, predicting 20,000 units will be sold worldwide. While little is still known about the final specifications, enthusiasts and potential buyers eagerly await the final production version. Bright things are in store for Maserati in 2013.

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