Desert Storm

SLOW Magazine - - Must Go -

The un­fa­mil­iar Ray­ton-fis­sore Mag­num – and, con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, not the Lamborghini LM002 from 1986 – was the first lux­ury SUV from an Ital­ian ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer with su­per­car power. The Mag­num, de­signed by Tom Tjaarda and built in lim­ited num­bers in Italy from 1985 to 2003, was sold in Europe with a range of 4-, 6-, and 8-cylin­der en­gines as a com­peti­tor to the Range Rover. How­ever, the more pow­er­ful United States ver­sion, mar­keted as Laforza, used Amer­i­can V8 mus­cle (some su­per­charged) from Ford and Gen­eral Mo­tors, while the Rambo Lambo with its Coun­tachderived 5.2-litre V12 was the first to use Ital­ian horse­power in this ap­pli­ca­tion.

Now, three decades later, Laforza is back – in the form of the lat­est petrol-driven Maserati Le­vante S.

En­dowed with a Fer­rari-de­signed 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 en­gine, with di­rect in­jec­tion de­liv­er­ing a healthy 316 kw of power and 580 Nm of torque, it is (for now) the most pow­er­ful mid-sized Ital­ian SUV avail­able.

The Le­vante, named af­ter a Mediter­ranean wind, was de­vel­oped by the FCA Group fol­low­ing the mar­ket suc­cess of lux­ury SUVS such as the Porsche Cayenne and Jaguar F-pace.

The first four-wheel drive Maserati, in­tro­duced last year, proved an im­me­di­ate suc­cess. The Modenese man­u­fac­turer sold more than 25,000 Le­vantes in 72 coun­tries around the world in just over a year, qua­dru­pling its sales and mak­ing it the high­est-sell­ing Maserati in that time. It blew into South Africa last year, but only in diesel guise. And while the VM Mo­tori V6

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