Levante: The Maserati SUV

Sam Kessler (Online Editor)
Come March, the Turin-based marque will showcase their answer to the luxury SUV concept...

The concept of a luxury SUV is one that, as little as a year ago, drew plenty of sceptics ready to denounce it. After all, an SUV is a practical, functional vehicle, why would the likes of Bentley make one? Enter the Bentayga however – not to mention Porsche’s entry into the field – and the doubters have gone a little quiet.

More and more marques are embracing the SUV concept as a way to showcase their own spin on functional luxury and, ahead of the Geneva Auto Show, its Maserati’s turn. Already one of the more practical supercar marques – the Quattroporte is a surprisingly versatile beast – Maserati’s Levante is set to draw as many headlines as Jaguar’s SVR.

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First off, it has to be said that the Levante will be pure Maserati. The company has access to a number of SUV specialists, not least of which is Jeep, so there was always the worry that they’d get a little outside help. Fortunately the entirety of the car has been conceived and built by the Italian marque.

As pretty much any modern, sporty SUV, there’s something of the Porsche Cayenne in the Levante’s proportions, but with signature Maserati touches taken from a number of their most famous models. The front is dominated by Maserati’s large grille and slim headlights giving it a face reminiscent of the marque’s superlative Ghibli. The three iconic air vents on the front wings, trapezoidal C-pillar and the large, frameless door windows all nod to the marque’s design heritage.

Despite its generous shape and the interior space necessary for the utility part of SUV, the flowing lines and touches of aerodynamism make it far sportier than your standard school runner. A roof spoiler and a performance exhaust set up illustrate the fact just as eloquently.

The Levante won’t be in the same performance league as Maserati’s more sporty numbers, but it certainly won’t be slow. The top-spec V8 in the Levante 450 won’t allow it. Despite its relative bulk, the SUV can manage 62mph in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 164mph.

Given that this is meant to be a comfortable ride, expect the same level of finish as the Quattroporte; sumptuous leather upholstery complete with signature Maserati detailing and solid, well-equipped dashboard, all with the extra space an SUV allows. That comfort is sure to be enhanced all the more by the Levante’s sheer ease of drive.

Sophisticated electronic suspension with controlled damping and air springs, which can be set on several levels and “Q4” intelligent all-wheel drive and 8-speed automatic transmission help make the Levante sure-footed on any surface.

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Prices are yet to be announced, but given the prices of Maserati’s current range it should be somewhere in the region of £60,000. The full info will be released in March when the Levante attempts to steal the show in Geneva.

That said, this isn’t Maserati’s only new release this year; indeed, their range is set to be revolutionised by the end of the decade, with new hybrids in the works and a contender to Jaguar’s F-Type. The Levante however is their most important by a good margin. We’re looking forward to our first test drive.

To make an enquiry about the Maserati Levante, CLICK HERE.

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