Higher and higher
Maserati Levante £58,315
WE SAY: MASERATI’S SUV GETS A MAKEOVER AND EMERGES AS A PROPER CONTENDER
Remember this? Hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in the UK, has it? The Maserati Levante is now two years old, and just emerging from a light preen. Nothing fundamental, the Levante is still based on the Ghibli/QP platform, but gains new bumpers, trims and a new engine.
That’s a 350bhp version of the 3.0 twin-turbo V6 that’s already available in the Levante S with 430bhp. That continues, as does another 3.0 twinturbo, this time a diesel with 275bhp. That’s the starting point for Maserati SUV ownership, costing £58,315, while the flagship S weighs in at £72,525. The models Maserati needs are the twin-turbo V8s, the 550bhp GTS and 590bhp Trofeo. No promises. Maser is looking at the business case. It shouldn’t. Those are needed for halo reasons if it is serious about taking on the Cayenne, RRS SVR et al.
Don’t have the diesel. It does a job, and is broad-shouldered enough to support the 2,205kg kerbweight. It’s also smooth and quiet. But it’s never going to make you feel like you’re driving a Maserati. The S, that’s what you want – not the torquiest low down, but raspy and potent, befitting its Ferrari origins. And befitting the crisp and agile way it drives. Not as taut as a Cayenne, but with steering and handling that inspires confidence and delivers enjoyment. At high speeds it’s stable and quiet and the suspension doesn’t make too much fuss of the surface it’s riding over. The whole thing is helped by standard air suspension. It can crouch for high-speed driving, lowering the centre of gravity and cutting drag.
Little known fact: the Levante has an adjustable pedal box. Like a LaFerrari. Pointless? No, it does help the Levante cope with a wider range of body shapes. The gearlever is now more logical to operate and a variety of buttons allow you to tailor the ESP, dampers, height control and Sport mode. Less straightforward is the central screen. You’ll use the rotary knob once, and never again. But don’t let that put you off. The Levante is better than you think. OLLIE MARRIAGE