Despite what it might look like, Maserati is not working on a Mohawk edition of the Ghibli sport sedan. Instead, this strange-looking test mule we caught testing is actually a prototype version of the upcoming Maserati Levante SUV.
The fact that this test mule uses a modified Maserati Ghibli body likely confirms that the Levante will use a version of the same platform that underpins the Ghibli and the Quattroporte sedans, instead of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s platform as was previously announced. That explains why this mule is wearing a strange extension on its roof, as Maserati looks to be testing how this sedan platform handles the extra height and taller center of gravity of a crossover model.
The Levante using the Ghibli’s platform also makes sense given reports that this SUV model will be built in Italy at Fiat’s Turin plant. The company will reportedly invest $1.32 million in this facility to support production of the Maserati Levante, which will be an important model for Maserati as the brand embarks on its ambitious growth plan to increase global sales to 50,000 cars annually by 2016.
While this strange prototype may not give a good indication of what the production Maserati Levante will look like, the Maserati SUV concept from the 2011 Frankfurt motor show (back then it was called the Kubang) likely previews what the Maserati SUV will look like when it debuts sometime before 2016.
We expect the Maserati Levante SUV to use similar V-6 and V-8 powerplants as the Maserati Ghibli models. Both sedans come standard with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine making between 345 and 404 hp, and the Quattroporte GTS uses a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 523 hp. Both rear- and all-wheel-drive versions of the Levante should be offered.
Stay tuned for more news about the Maserati Levante as we learn more about the production version of this luxury SUV.