Maserati KubangEnlarge Photo
Maserati has ambitions plans to boost its annual sales to as much as 50,000 units per year in the mid to longer term, up from less than 7,000 units sold last year. To do so, the automaker intends on two brand new model introductions.
One of these is the recently revealed 2014 Ghibli sedan, which goes on sale later this year. The other is the Levante SUV, which was previewed in 2011 by the Kubang concept car and is expected to be revealed late next year as a 2015 model.
The Levante name comes from Via Emilia Levante in Bologna, Italy, where the Maserati brothers first dreamt of the company that today still bears their name. And, with Maserati’s centenary taking place next year, the use of the Levante name on the SUV seems appropriate; it hints at the past while also serving as a bridge to Maserati’s future.
As we’ve reported for some time, the Levante will share a platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. However, it will feature its own engines and be produced in Italy rather than the Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit as originally envisaged by Maserati.
According to a report from Edmunds, demand for the Jeep Grand Cherokee means capacity at the vehicle’s plant is too tight to include the additional run of Levantes expected. The Levante is expected to be Maserati’s top seller, just as the Cayenne SUV is the most popular model in the Porsche lineup. Previous estimates have put production figures between 10,000 and 15,000 units annually.
Power will come from the same assortment of engines fitted to the 2014 Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans. This means a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 with 404 horsepower in the base model and a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 with 523 horsepower in a range-topping model. The Ghibli’s 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel will also be offered in the Levante overseas.
The only transmission will be an eight-speed automatic. Interestingly, the report claims the Levante will use Maserati’s Q4 all-wheel-drive system rather than the existing setup found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This is due to the Levante being tuned more for sport handling rather than off-road prowess.
With a reveal scheduled for next year, we should be seeing the first spy shots for the 2015 Maserati Levante very soon.