by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Maserati ::: Maserati Kubang
PERHAPS I’m in an especially empathetic mood today. There was a time that the mere concept – yes, concept, let alone plan – to build a Maserati sport utility vehicle based upon the underpinnings of a Jeep Grand Cherokee would have, well, sent the rev gauge needle past the limit.
Today, it’s different and here’s why…
SUVs and CUVs are dangerous turf for elite luxury car makers.
Bentley, Aston Martin, and Jaguar were all wise to beat a hasty retreat from adding utility vehicles to their lineups. To be plain: a luxury or sports car icon is playing with fire when it builds and pitches what is essentially a suburban mobile for the wife ‘n kids. Corporate interests are clear, however. Why let the dollars that are going to be spent on a second or third vehicle fly to the competition?
Porsche, in this way, was the first to dare greatly. And sure enough the Cayenne has reaped huge financial benefits while putting little tarnish on Zuffenhausen’s legacy because, in large part, the vehicles actually perform well and the Cayenne has the reputation of being the funnest SUV on the market.
We will expect the same from a production version of Maserati’s Kubang. And nothing less.
The cabin must be suede and leather heaven. The engine must breathe Ferrari-like fire. The Skyhook suspension needn’t be tuned for off-road swagger but rather on-road finesse. In short, it really needs to rock… lest this be just a watered down Jeep by Maserati.