Le­vante launches at last

NZ Autocar - - Fyi -

fter first show­ing a Kubang con­cept as far back as 2003, Maserati has fi­nally launched the Le­vante, its first SUV and a Cayenne, Range Rover and F-Pace com­peti­tor. Like its sa­loon sibs, the Le­vante prom­ises to err on the sport­ing side of the ledger, kick­ing off with a drag co­ef­fi­cient of just 0.31, the low­est in the luxo SUV sec­tor. Contributing to the low Cd are ac­tive grille shut­ters sit­ting be­hind the im­pres­sively sized grille.

Un­der­pin­ning the Cayenne-es­que of­froader is a fet­tled ver­sion of the Ghi­bli and QP plat­form. All ver­sions will have four-wheel drive, while air

sus­pen­sion and torque vec­tor­ing are also stan­dard fit, de­signed to en­hance both off- and on-road dy­nam­ics.

There are three en­gines on of­fer, all dis­plac­ing 3.0 litres. The top petrol unit in the Le­vante S is good for 316kW, and zero to a hun­dred takes just over 5sec, while the 257kW tur­bopetrol adds 0.8sec to the sprint time. CO2 fig­ures are around the 250g/km mark.

A 3.0-litre tur­bod­iesel ver­sion gen­er­at­ing 202kW and 600Nm is said to hit 100km/h in un­der seven sec­onds, and of­fers fuel econ­omy of 7.2L/100km (189g/ km of CO2). All en­gines are mar­ried to an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion is for five oc­cu­pants, and min­i­mum lug­gage space is 580 litres. Base kit in­cludes leather seats, a 21cm touch screen for in­fo­tain­ment, cruise and hill de­scent con­trol, 18- to 19-inch al­loys, cli­mate air and a pow­ered tailgate. A tow­bar will be op­tional, a first for a Maserati. Le­vante’s max­i­mum braked tow ca­pac­ity is a stated 2700kg.

Maserati has its hopes pinned on Le­vante, with a spokesper­son sug­gest­ing it ri­vals the Porsche com­pe­ti­tion for dy­nam­ics thanks to air sus­pen­sion, adap­tive damp­ing and torque vec­tor­ing, and should ac­count for half of its fu­ture sales. Lux­ury car buy­ers into style, sound qual­ity, ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics and ver­sa­til­ity will be at­tracted to Le­vante, the spokesper­son claimed.

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