Frankfurt 2011: Maserati’s Kubang takes on the Porsche Cayenne

Frankfurt 2011: Maserati's Kubang takes on the Porsche Cayenne

I am in two minds about this new Maserati Kubang. On the one hand it seems entirely rational for Maserati to look on at Porsche’s Cayenne and see a market opportunity, that until now, it has missed out on. But on the other hand Maserati is Fangio, Moss and that famous 1955 Mille Miglia race win along with Dennis Jenks’. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Until today Maserati has been producing saloons, coupes and two- or four-seat convertibles. Whether they were named Quattroporte, GranTurismo or GranCabrio – or, before them, Ghibli, Mistral, Bora or Indy – their common denominator rested in two words: sportiness and luxury.

Times have changed: sportiness and luxury today don’t have just one definition and Maserati believe they can also take the form of a dynamic looking and high performing sport luxury SUV.

They go on to say, “..For some reason SUVs today never seem to offer the kind of uplifting driving pleasure and luxury atmosphere that are two givens of today’s high-end sports and luxury cars.” Really? What about BMW’s X5/X6, Porsche’s Cayenne and Merc’s ML range?

Maserati Kubang competitorsSee no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil…

Maserati would have us believe they are inventing a whole new segment, rather than playing catch-up after underestimating the sustained appetite for SUVs, particularly in developing countries.

Maserati’s press release goes on to say, “..the idea of a sport luxury SUV is not totally new to Maserati. Many will remember the Kubang concept that was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2003. At a time in which few other brands were going in the direction of a sport luxury SUV, Maserati was already thinking to build one.”

Again conveniently forgetting that BMW’s X5 had been launched 2 years earlier, with Porsche’s Cayenne following shortly thereafter.

To further shoot down their credibility, Maserati go on to say that synergies with their sister brand Jeep were the catalyst for Maserati’s own interpretation of a sport luxury SUV. Thankfully they quickly confirm that all major system components of the Kubang will unmistakably be Maserati: style, engine, suspensions, brakes, handling and performance will all be 100% Maserati in continuity with the brand’s core values of sportiness, style, elegance, luxury, performance and craftsmanship.

A new-generation of high-tech Maserati proprietary engines will be designed in Modena by Paolo Martinelli and will be produced in Maranello by Ferrari, whilst an 8 speed automatic transmission with specific performance settings to suit the configuration of suspension, brakes and steering, will be exclusively developed in Modena by the Maserati Product Development Department.