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by Brett Davis

The all-new, half-Italian Maserati SUV is set to be unveiled at the upcoming 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. There has been a lot of hype surrounding the new model, yet no spy images or insider sketches have been leaked to give us a clear indication of what the SUV will look like. Even so, according to an Automotive News report in the US, Maserati is getting ready to unveil a concept version of the all-new SUV in a couple of months.

The SUV will be based on the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Maserati officials say it wont be a simple matter of re-badging the car though, they say it will come with all-new panels, bespoke to Maserati, and a fresh interior featuring design layouts traditional to Maserati.

Under the bonnet will be a 4.7-litre V8 Maserati engine producing around 332kW of power, connected to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

A turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V6 is also said to be on the cards, although this variant will likely be reserved for European markets. The diesel unit will apparently be a more powerful version of the Jeep VM Motori 3.0-litre V6, producing around 225kW.

In other Maserati news, Fiat (owner of Maserati and Chrysler) CEO Sergio Marchionne has also revealed a few plans for Maserati’s future line-up. These plans will be centred around ramping up overall annual production at Maserati from last year’s 5675 units, to a target of 50,000 units per year.

To reach this target there is going three new models under development over the next few years, including the SUV, using the Fiat-Chrysler technology and expertise.

One of the new models will be a Chrysler 300C-style vehicle, or a baby Quattroporte, codenamed the M157. The new sedan will be more of a sports car compared with the current Quattroporte sedan, rivalling the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6. Technology will be borrowed from the Chrysler 300C.

Reports suggest it could get a revised version of the Pentastar V6, downsized to 3.0 litres and equipped with MultiAir twin turbocharger technology. Power output is said to be in the 300kW range.

The other new model will be a flagship luxury sedan to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, codenamed M156. Technology could be borrowed from the upcoming Dodge Avenger. The new model will be around 70mm longer than the current Quattroporte, with an overall length of around 5170mm.

Power will come from the same Ferrari-built 4.7-litre V8 to be used in the SUV, with direct-injection, offering around 354kW. The unit will be mated to an eight-speed ZF auto transmission like the SUV.

Both of these new sedans will replace the current Quattroporte. Reports say Maserati wants to provide more of a direct rival to the competitors than the Quattroporte by splitting the model into two smaller and larger sedans. The Quattroporte is generally regarded as too large and cumbersome for a BMW 5 Series-type sports sedan, yet too small – particularly in rear seat room – to be a proper flagship luxury car.

We look look forward to providing full coverage of the Maserati SUV unveiling in the next couple of months. Stay tuned.




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