Levante launches at last
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.