When Maserati first showcased the Kubang concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, speculation began about their first ever SUV. The trident badged brand confirmed the name of the SUV pretty soon after that. Levante; which means “A warm Mediterranean wind”. At the Geneva Motor Show 2016 when Maserati officially unveiled the Levante, it was described just as the name suggests. Although the FCA owned Italian brand will stay focused on building cool sports cars and luxury sedans, but Levante, which is their first ever SUV in the brand’s 102 year history will help the brand to capture a fare share in the rapidly growing SUV market. It will also help the brand to get the fund necessary for making sports cars and luxury sedans.
Although many Maserati fans has been asking whether the brand really needs a SUV to save themselves or not? But that’s a question time will answer. In India Maserati has already entered with their luxury offerings, and Levante is expected to reach the Indian shores January 2017. Before the car reaches in Indian market, let’s take a close look at the car.
Click past jump to read more about the Maserati Levante.
Levante is build on Maserati Ghibli platform, and it takes design cues from both the Kubang concept and Ghibli as well. If we talk about overall design, the car looks angry and muscular. Being a Maserati car it gets plenty of signature Maserati styling. The front grille is inspired by Alfieri concept and holds eight sharp vertical slats with the Trident logo at the middle. Accompanying the grille at both sides are the sleek bi-xenon headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lights. The turn lights integrated to the headlamp clusters and round shaped fog lamps below the headlamps also get LED inserts. The large air dams at both sides of the lower bumper are connected with a sleek cut. At the front bottom the skid plate can be seen. The hood gets several sharp creases running toward the nose, which make the car appear aggressive.
Move to the side profile, the wheel arches look huge, which hold the aggressive looking 18 inch alloy wheels underneath, while the top trims will get 19 inch wheels. The wheels get red brake calipers, clearly an effort to make the car sportier. Interestingly three chrome garnished side vents sitting just behind the front fender and above the wheel arch. The greenhouse area is highlighted with a thick chrome line, the doors come frameless and side profile boasts a thick character line at the lower body. The roofline is sloped toward the rear giving the car a coupe like appearance. Toward the rear a Maserati logo sits just behind the C pillar, and a shark fin antenna can be seen at the rear atop.
Moving to the rear profile it gets a roof spoiler atop, with high mounted stop light. The LED taillights sport a wraparound look and they are connected by a sleek chrome bar running horizontally. The rear bumper doesn’t look muscular and it is the home of quad round shaped chrome tipped exhaust vents.
While crafting the interior the Italian brand took design cues from their range of luxury sedans. There are plenty of similarities with a larger dimension. The three spoke multifunction wheels get several control buttons on it, while the instrument panel gets dual round shaped pods with a LCD screen at the centre. The centre console gets an 8.4 inch touchscreen infotainment system flanked by vertically slated AC vents at both sides and buttons below. The dual tone dashboard gets wrapped in leather with a round shaped analog clock at the centre atop. The front seat armrests can be seen in the images, while the upholstery comes wrapped in premium quality leather. The rear passengers get a centre positioned control panel. The rear seats can be folded to expand the cargo volume, while the standard boot space can hold 580 litres of cargo.
Three different engines will be available as the power source for Levante. The top variant will be dubbed as Levante S, which will get power from a 3.0 litre twin turbo V6 petrol engine under the hood delivering 428 PS peak power and 580 Nm peak torque. It can reach 0-100 kmph in 5.2 seconds.
The second engine powering the non S Levante is another 3.0 litre twin turbocharged V6 petrol motor kicking out 348 PS peak power and 500 Nm peak torque. This will be able to reach 100 kmph mark from standstill in 6 seconds. The only diesel variant will draw power from a 3.0 litre V6 engine which will churn out 273 PS peak power and 600 Nm peak torque. It will reach 0-100 kmph in 6.9 seconds. Transmission duty will be done by an eight speed automatic gearbox in all the variants, while Levante will be equipped with electronically controlled damping with air springs.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
|Specifications||Levante S||Levante||Levante Diesel|
|Engine||3.0 litre twin turbocharged V6||3.0 litre twin turbocharged V6||3.0 litre turbo V6|
|Displacement||2979 cc||2979 cc||2987 cc|
|Maximum power||428 PS||348 PS||273 PS|
|Maximum torque||580 Nm||500 Nm||600 Nm|
|Transmission||8 speed automatic ZF AT8 – HP70||8 speed automatic ZF AT8 – HP70||8 speed automatic ZF AT8 – HP70|
RIDE AND HANDLING
Maserati Levante will have great ride and handling quality, as it is based on the Maserati sedan’s platform. It gets air suspension with air springs and skyhook shock absorbers from Ghibli. The hydraulic steering uses speed sensitive power assistance.
The Levante S front wheels get large six piston calipers from Brembo and 15 inch drilled disk brakes at the front, while the rear wheels get 13 inch disk brakes. The non S Levante and Diesel variant will come with two piston calipers and 13.6 inch disks at front, while the rear will get 13 inch disks.
The Levante will get several safety features like six airbags, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, adaptive high beam headlamps, lane departure warning, brake pressure assist, surround view camera, hill descent assist, automatic wipers, parking assist.
Maserati might launch the Levante in India in January 2017. Expect it to be priced around INR. 1 crore.
Porsche Cayenne seems to be a well equipped competitor against Maserati’s luxury SUV. Available in four different powertrain options Cayenne uses both V6 and V8 engines under the hood, while there is a hybrid powertrain available too. Maximum power output ranges between 262 hp to 520 hp. In India Porsche Cayenne is priced around INR. 1 crore.
Read the Porsche Cayenne review here
Porsche Cayenne Gallery
Maserati fans might not be too impressed with the Levante, but the Italian brand’s first SUV makes lot of financial sense for the brand, which is important for the brand to survive.
Live images from the floor of Geneva Motor Show