Maserati Levante SUV Mule Spied, Reportedly Ditches Jeep Chassis
In-House Development of Premium SUV to Counter “Rebadge” Label
In its early stages of development, when it was still being called the Kubang, as the concept was named, it was believed Maserati’s first SUV would share most of its dirty parts, minus its engine and drivetrain, with the WK2 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a rumor not denied in the least by management. At one point, it was even proposed that the Kubang/Levante be built in Michigan, at the Jefferson North plant on the same line as the Grand Cherokee. However, based on these most recent spy shots, it appears Maserati is having a change of heart with the Levante and will instead base it off a modified Ghibli or Quattroporte platform.
Perhaps there was some concern that building the Levante in the U.S. on a modified Jeep platform would cheapen the bespoke, hand-crafted image the brand is trying to build. However, platform sharing is nothing new or unique in the premium SUV realm, with the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne having shared a platform for over a decade and the forthcoming Bentley SUV likely to share some parts or development with the next-generation Audi Q7. The WK2 Grand Cherokee itself shares some DNA with the last-generation Mercedes-Benz ML, with some of the development of it and its predecessor WK done under Daimler management.
In terms of powertrain, the Levante is expected to get a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V-6 standard, with a 3.8L twin-turbo V-8 optional, engines shared with the Ghibli and Quattroporte. Output will likely top 400 hp for the V-6 and more than 500 hp for the V-8.