There’s been no secret that Maserati is working on an SUV derived from the Kubang concept of 2011, although original plans to have it on sale in 2014 have fallen by the wayside. The latest rumors suggest the Levante SUV will take its bow at the Detroit show in January 2016, but in the meantime patent drawings that provide the first glimpse of the production car’s styling have surfaced.

While the side elevation retains much of the Kubang’s shape, the nose has been given a more aggressive look with reverse-rake headlights and a toothy grille. The rear has lost some of the concept’s slope in favor of increased luggage space.

Kubang SUV concept

Underneath, there’s expected to be a combination of bits from the Fiat-Chrysler empire, with much shared with the all-wheel-drive Q4 versions of the Quattroporte and Ghibli. The engines are expected to range from a 410 bhp twin-turbo V6 to a 530 bhp V8, also with a pair of blowers, and all transmissions are expected to be eight-speed autos.

With SUV sales continuing to boom worldwide, and even the likes of Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin announcing that they intend to field 4wd, five-door models in future, it’s an area that Maserati simply can’t afford to miss out on. However, the firm has been keen to establish that the forthcoming Levante won’t share its architecture with the Jeep Cherokee, instead using bespoke Maserati parts to help retain its status as a high-end brand.

Having seen the styling in the leaked patent drawings, the car’s biggest problem might not be the technology it’s based on but the overall shape. While the nose has the presence and style that suits the firm’s image, the profile and rear have a generic look that could as easily appear on a Mazda as a Maserati.

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