By MHH International-A prestige car importer
When the first sports utility vehicles, or SUV’s as they have become widely known, first made a tentative appearance in the car market, they blew a wind of change through modern motoring. Now every mainstream brand on Earth has at least one on the books and probably a few more. It was then only a matter of time before the supercar manufacturers wanted to get a foot in the door. Prestige car buyers are now spoiled for choice, SUV-style.
Ferrari have such a vehicle waiting in the wings and Bentley’s Bentayga is well established, closely followed by Maserati with their gorgeous Levante model. At the end of the 19th Century four Italian brothers were lucky enough to be born with the surname Maserati. Inspired by their joint passion for cars and engines, in 1914 they launched the name that one day would become a global name for motoring excellence.
In 1920 the Trident was established as the symbol of the brand. Used on all racing cars in Maserati’s history, the badge and grille have remained a constant over the years and are now recognised to represent style, technology and performance. The Levante signals a turning point in the legend that is Maserati.
As can be seen from the images the front end of the Levante follows the design language that features throughout the Maserati range, including the badge and front grille. The design brings a new concept to the SUV world with a combination of interior spaciousness and coupé-like lines all wrapped up in an aerodynamically efficient shape.
Power is derived from a choice of petrol and diesel engines which, as would expected, put the emphasis on performance. The Levante is equipped with the latest evolution of the Maserati 3L V6 engines. There’re two versions of the twin-turbo petrol engine and an economical turbo-diesel, all three globally acclaimed for that unique Maserati signature sound and for their exceptional power.
The interior of the Levante has the ambience of a five-star hotel thanks to the luxury leather seats. The dashboard and the central console are designed in order to accommodate an 8.4” touchscreen, the cluster of drive mode buttons, a new rotary function selector and the air suspension switch. The instrument panel follows the classic Quattro Porte saloon’s layout and is backlit with white light. Of course, no Maserati would be complete without the elegant touch of the classic Maserati analogue clock located in the centre of the dashboard. The key thing is though, despite all the luxurious appointments, the Levante remains at heart a practical, capable and useful four-wheel drive SUV.
Driving The Levante
This is a special pleasure. Driving through a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shift, the diesel engine offers brisk rather than genuinely rapid performance, reaching 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds which compares with 5.2 seconds for the most powerful petrol version. This means that the Levante cannot possibly complete with Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio in terms of pace but rather makes up for it with style and grace. This is reflected by an impressive blend of ride and handling.
Let’s face it, we do not buy SUV’s to use as sports cars. Maserati has done a fantastic job of making a car that has all the brand attributes but with practicality taking a front seat. Glorious.