What’s a Maserati Levante then?
The first SUV Maserati has built in its 100-year plus history. It’s deeply controversial but, such is the size of the SUV market these days, absolutely necessary.
What do I need to know?
Maserati says the Levante offers “outstanding on-road performance with unrivalled handling.” That’s a very big claim for a car that will play against highly talented opposition like the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport.
There is little technical information to back up those claims at this point. Maserati has only revealed that all models will have air suspension with electronically controlled dampers as standard and “intelligent” four-wheel-drive.
Equally, the engine range hasn’t been announced, but Maserati has confirmed the Levante will be available with both petrol and diesel engines, connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s thought those engines will include a 3.0-litre, twin-turbo V6 petrol in two states of tune, a 3.0-litre V6 diesel and a twin-turbo V8.
Maserati’s stylists have done a good job of integrating the same themes used on the marque’s saloons and coupes into a much bulkier body shape. Trademark elements like the tapered headlights, triple air vents on the front wings and powerful haunches have all been incorporated into the design. We think it looks great in these pictures, though that doesn’t seem to be a universal opinion. We’ll have to wait until we’ve seen it in the metal before passing a final judgement.
Much like the Jaguar F-Pace, Bentley Bentayga and imminent Rolls-Royce SUV, not everyone will like the very existence of a Maserati SUV. It doesn’t fit in with the values of one of the greatest sports car and GT manufacturers of all time, they will say.
But the simple fact of the matter is this: Maserati has an aggressive expansion plan to hit 70,000 sales per year by 2018, which will ensure it’s long-term survival. It can’t reach that target without an SUV. So the Levante must exist if Maserati itself is to exist at all. Remember, it’s widely thought that Porsche may well have gone bankrupt were it not for the Cayenne.
When can I buy one?
The Levante debuts at the Geneva Motor Show next and goes on sale shortly thereafter.
How much does it cost?
Pricing will be announced nearer launch; it will likely be positioned between the Ghibli and Quattroporte saloons, around the £60,000 mark.
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By Only Motors