Though Fiat-Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne previously suggested that a new SUV model planned for Maserati would feature a Ferrari engine, something he described as “rock and roll”, there’s word that a Hemi V-8 is more likely to get the tick of approval.

The reason? Most likely costs factors though we’ll probably get some explanation that the Hemi produces more low-end torque than Ferrari’s finicky engines, which in the end is more suitable for getting heavy SUVs to go like the clappers.

The other reason is that the engine has already been designed to fit the platform that will underlie the new Maserati SUV, the same one found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as the recently revealed 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

If the rumors prove true, expect the Maserati SUV to feature the range-topping 6.4-liter Hemi found in the high-performance Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Here the engine produces up to 465 horsepower and will accelerate the big SUV from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds--perfect if you just happen to pull up next to a Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

However, don’t think you’ll be able to take your Maserati boulder climbing or suddenly tow a 5,000 pound trailer. This SUV will be tuned more for speed than off-road duty, thus a sportier suspension setup than its Jeep counterpart will be a given.

Production is expected to take place within the next 12 to 18 months at Chrysler’s Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit. And of course, being a Maserati, prices will likely however around the $80,000 to $100,000 mark.


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