A luxury SUV with a distinctive character and genuine exclusivity.
In its latest development the legendary Italian manufacturer Maserati has thrust its famous silver trident well and truly into the heart of the luxury SUV market, with its first offering, the evocatively named Maserati Levante.
The Levante is based upon the Kubang concept car that debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. It offers drivers and passengers extremely high levels of comfort, luxury and space, backed by outstanding performance, even in the most extreme of driving conditions.
All models come with an eight-speed gearbox, Maserati’s sophisticated intelligent Q4 AWD and a torque vectoring system that ensures a truly exhilarating drive. No small accomplishment perhaps, but as Maserati CEO Harald Wester says, “It should be good, we’ve been working on it for 13 years.”
The Levante uses a tweaked 3000 cc twin-turbo V-6, lifted from the fabulous Maserati Ghibli saloon. The power unit generates 345 bhp in the base Levante and 424 bhp in the S Model, the latter will propel the vehicle to speeds in excess of 255 kmph. The performance gain over the Ghibli is via enhancements in the software plus a new throaty exhaust with its distinctive Italian sports car guttural growl. There’s also a 3000 cc diesel available in some markets.
With all variants, the engine is paired with Maserati’s excellent eight-speed ZF automatic. Coupled with an ultra-impressive throttle response, the ZF is a dream to drive especially when the gearbox downshifts to pitch the revs up into a fatter torque range, providing extraordinary feedback to the driver.
Booted with either 19- or 20-inch wheels and designed with 50-50 weight distribution and the lowest centre of gravity in the luxury SUV market, the Levante is stable and extremely nimble. The suspension is an evolution of the Ghibli’s and uses Maserati’s Skyhook – aluminium control arms with standard air springs that work with electronically controlled dampers to change ride height and adjust stiffness as required. The result is the Levante has five different ride heights, in addition to a separate setting for parking and offers a fantastic balance between comfort, agility and ability.
Ultra High Specification
Even compared to the extremely high specifications seen as standard in the luxury SUV sector, the Levante is fully loaded. From the 538-litre boot to the stylish cockpit, with its colour coordinated interior, the Levante is awash with cutting edge technology and French stitched leather. For those wanting more lavish exclusivity, the optional Zegna Edition luxury package incorporates an interior created by the famous Italian clothier which includes silk inserts on the seats, doors and headliner. For something a bit racier choose the Sport package, with sport seats, a gloss-black grille, 20-inch wheels, shifter paddles and a sunroof, to name just the highlights.
Practical, fast, comfortable and a real head-turner, the new Maserati Levante is sensational and whilst offering a level of perhaps unmatched SUV exclusivity, it remains an everyday vehicle equally at ease with a trip to the mall or powering through twisting mountain roads.
Levante/Levante S: Tale of the tape
Engine: 2979 cc Twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminium block and heads with direct fuel injection
Power: 345/424 bhp @ 5750 rpm
Torque: 500/580 nm @ 1750 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual shifting mode (paddle shift optional)
0-100 km/h 6.0/5.2 sec
Zero to 160 kmph: 13.6/12.3 sec
Standing 400 m: 15/13.8 s
Top speed: 251/264 kmph
Wheelbase: 300 cm
Length: 500 cm
Width: 197 cm Height: 168 cm
Cargo volume: 538 l