A breath of fresh air among SUVS
Levante looks every bit a Maserati with nice surprises
What is luxury without expression? Many automakers boast a wide variety of luxury cars, but few of them, especially utility vehicles, hit the right note in terms of personality and true desirability.
It’s good then, that passionate automakers like Maserati are slowly coming out with sexy alternatives to the status quo. The 2018 Maserati Levante not only looks expressive but drives that way, too. And beyond the stylish and technical bits, there’s also a lot of potential for driving joy.
Let’s start with the striking exterior design. It’s unmistakably a Maserati, which means it’s gorgeous and it can indeed sport porthole vents on its side fenders and get away with it. The side profile is its defining characteristic, however, as the Levante sports a slick silhouette that is much less utilitarian looking than anything from Range Rover and less frumpy than the Porsche Cayenne.
The exterior is eye-catching enough to warrant the price tag and the interior leaves a great first impression, too. Our Granlusso tester was outfitted with the optional super-swanky Ermenegildo Zegna Silk upholstery to go along with bright brown leather. The folks in the front two seats will certainly feel pampered, and a pair of adults in the back will also be OK with features such as heated seats and power window shades, as well as an option for four-zone climate control.
Behind the wheel, the Levante is a blast as soon as you trigger the push-button ignition and the engine boils over, bubbling and burbling with an intoxicating growl. That growl is further enhanced when the car is switched into one of the two sports modes, and it goes from a bark to a roar between
3,000 r.p.m. to the 6,500 r.p.m. redline.
The power delivery is also satisfying. In S guise, the engine makes 424 horsepower and
428 lb-ft of torque. Depending on the mode, peak figures can arrive early at 1,750 r.p.m. in sport mode, or comes right after
4,500 r.p.m. in the normal mode. On windy roads, it’s hard to ignore the size and weight of the car, so don’t expect this SUV to be a sports car, even if it has a Maserati badge.
The Levante is a gorgeous vehicle that’s full of surprises. With so many bland utility vehicles with no personality, the Levante is a breath of fresh air.