Mini Re­view

Maserati Lev­ante with Man­sory mod­i­fi­ca­tions

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This is some­thing spe­cial! A Fer­rari de­rived V6 twin turbo up­front, a wide body from Man­sory and car­bon fi­bre em­bel­lish­ments very taste­fully done front and rear. No tri­dent Lev­ante has looked so men­ac­ing. The blacked out grill treat­ment brings to mind an­other myth­i­cal crea­ture and I some­how hear him say ‘Luke, I am your fa­ther’. Then the en­gine fires up and I am con­vinced that Darth Vader would drive this when amongst us mor­tals. A crackle and a snarly bur­ble lets you know that the heart of this beast has been or­ches­trated for au­ral bliss. I don’t know any other man­u­fac­turer that spends as much time on the en­gine note like Fer­rari does. Their en­gine noises have been known to in­tox­i­cate petrol heads the world over and Maserati has cho­sen well from sis­ter com­pany Fer­rari for the heart of this beast.

The Maserati Lev­ante has not been the nicest SUV to look at but Man­sory, the Ger­man lux­ury car mod­i­fi­ca­tion com­pany has taken the Lev­ante to the dark side of ag­gres­sion lev­els. This ve­hi­cle turns heads wher­ever you ven­ture and the ex­haust note in sports mode cer­tainly an­nounces your ar­rival. Man­sory have given it a com­plete wide body kit in­clud­ing side flaps and a new grill mask with ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal ac­cents in car­bon fi­bre. The wheel­house ex­pan­sions and door at­tach­ments in­crease the width of the ve­hi­cle and the rear dif­fu­sor which most mo­torists will view, fit in per­fectly with the an­gu­lar quad ex­hausts split on either end. Brown choco­late leather with match­ing wood in­serts shout Ital­ian styling and the feel­ing one gets is one of qual­ity and lux­ury in a very taste­ful ex­e­cu­tion. Not many man­u­fac­tur­ers make seats that cos­set you like the Maserati does and very few are able to with­stand 22 inch wheels on sports sus­pen­sion with­out it pound­ing your kid­neys and lower back. The ride qual­ity is the per­fect bal­ance be­tween lux­u­ri­ous com­fort and dy­namic per­for­mance.

I al­ways won­dered about those tail like barbs on the edges of the tri­dent - Maserati’s em­blem - and I can see how it works. The tail whips it­self out of the front grill and cracks it­self on the cars in front hog­ging the fast lane. Boy, it cer­tainly works. It’s like watch­ing mice scur­ry­ing out the way of this rather ag­gres­sive look­ing crea­ture com­ing up be­hind them. Or is that Stormtroop­ers wish­ing that the light saber is not cracked on their heads? Speak­ing of light sabers, this car is wrapped in frozen white which ac­cen­tu­ates the car­bon fi­bre bet­ter than any other colour.

This is not so much an SUV but more a GT that could tra­verse ex­panses of coun­try or planet in a short space of time in com­fort. The twin turbo V6 has no no­tice­able lag and the gear­box a ZF eight speed has a cog for ev­ery sit­u­a­tion. I don’t know who mea­sures gear changes any longer how­ever for me it’s per­fectly in­stant. Flick the lever and a gear is avail­able, while the en­gine will blip the throt­tle on a down­change and that crackly snarl is there in be­tween changes. Its sym­phony for the en­thu­si­ast driver or for those lis­ten­ing on the side­walk. This is theatre and this is what the Ital­ians bring to mo­tor­ing. The Ger­mans may have per­fected the mod­ern mo­tor ve­hi­cle but the Ital­ians give it soul. In this case Man­sory have done both.

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