Maserati dives into the super SUV market, hot on the heels of Bentley and Lamborghini, with the much-anticipated Levante.
Combining cutting edge design and piles of power in a model targeting a whole new market segment, Maserati is the latest luxury auto marque to blur the lines between sports car and sports utility with the release of the Levante, an SUV with a capital S. Promising to continue the brand’s sporting character, the Levante, which was officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last year, represents Maserati’s most significant new model in years.
The design of the Levante features clear associations with the Maserati brand and its distinctive Italian character, and takes its cues from the Ghibli, which provided the SUV’s platform: the aggressive front introduces new, tapered headlights separated into two elements, with the upper headlight unit connected to the radiator grille. Maserati’s design signature is clearly visible on the sides: the three iconic air vents on the front wings, the trapezoidal C-pillar with the “Saetta” logo and the large, frameless door windows. The rear is dominated by the very tapered back window and a streamlined shape, both typical of a high-performance sports car.
At a technical level, the Levante’s chassis is designed to combine outstanding on-road performance with unrivalled handling, even on very low-grip surfaces, and an excellent off-road performance and ride. Four engine options include the Ghibli S’s twin-turbo, a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 404 horsepower that’s expected to get this stylish SUV to 100km/hr in 5.5 seconds; and the range-topping 3.8-liter V8 from the Quattroporte GTS that cranks out 523 horsepower. A European-certified diesel version and Maserati’s first ever hybrid model will also be available. It’s expected the Levante, even with the V8, will still be slower than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S or the BMW X5M but you don’t buy an SUV for street racing.
The new SUV also boasts a high level of content as standard, with all versions featuring sophisticated electronic suspension with controlled damping and air springs; “Q4” intelligent all-wheel drive; and an 8-speed automatic transmission specially calibrated for the new model. www.maserati.com