Originally launched a couple of years ago, the Maserati Levante has now been re-worked and engineered, assisted by Ferrari, with the end goal of making it really stand head and shoulders above all other SUVs in this luxury bracket.
The Levante is instantly recognisable from a distance, from its imposing grille, which pays homage to historic Maserati cars like the Tipo 60 Birdcage, to the rear end which now looks wider and even more muscular, finished off (on the V8 versions) by those distinguishing oval shape exhaust tips. The car’s silhouette flows along the side of the car from the feline headlights to the characteristic Maserati rear pillar, creating a coupé look that is enhanced by frameless doors – a typical feature of modern Maserati cars.
But the restyling of Maserati’s grand SUV is about so much more than just aesthetics. Meticulous tests in the Turin wind tunnel have resulted in a class-leading aerodynamic efficiency. For example, an Air Shutter in the front grille now controls the air flow to the engine compartment thanks to continuous, electronically-controlled movement of the blades. This provides not only improves efficiency by reducing the car’s aerodynamic drag, but also helps optimise the temperature of the engine.
The most powerful Maserati in history
And as for that power source, the re-engineered 3.8-litre Twin Turbo V8 is the most powerful Maserati engine today, for the first time mated with its Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. This powerplant is an evolution of the unit fitted in the flagship Quattroporte GTS but has been upgraded to now deliver significantly higher power output, from 530 hp in the Levante GTS to 580hp in the Levante Trofeo. Like any modern Maserati petrol engine, the Twin Turbo V8 has been developed in cooperation with Ferrari and is assembled in its state-of-the art factory in Maranello. This is the Maserati engine with the highest specific output in their history.
Thanks to a remarkable weight / power ratio ranging from 3.9 kg/hp for the Levante GTS to just 3.6 kg/hp for the Trofeo, Maserati proudly announce that ‘performance figures have skyrocketed to the higher end of the SUV class and are comparable to those of modern-day supercars’. For example, it takes 4.3 seconds for the Levante GTS to accelerate from 0-100 km/h while the mighty Levante Trofeo needs only 4.1 seconds. A new ‘Corsa’ driving mode with Launch Control has also been introduced exclusively for the ultimate Levante, which is no other than the 580hp Trofeo. Corsa mode is available in addition to the existing Normal, I.C.E., Sport and Off Road driving modes. Alternatively the latest-generation 3.0-litre Twin Turbo V6 engines offer 350hp to 430hp which they claim are both powerful and exciting to drive. These are also manufactured by Ferrari in Maranello.
A cabin of comfort with exclusive materials
The interior design of the Levante is focused either on luxury or sportiness, respectively in the GranLusso and GranSport trims. With the GranLusso for example Ermenegildo Zegna silk combines with three different shades of fine-grain leather (black, tan and red) and 100% natural fibre Zegna mulberry silk inserts on places like the seats and door panels. The Trident emblem on the headrests is embroidered while the dashboard and the armrest are padded with leather. This unique and exclusive silk is made using a patented process in Trivero, Italy by the Zegna wool mill. And with the GranSport trim: the interior has been designed to give ‘a sense of passion and sportiness’ with exclusive elements such as12-way power sport front seats, power-adjustable sport steering wheel with aluminium gearshift paddles, and power adjustable Inox sport pedals.
The dashboard is designed around the 8.4” Maserati Touch Control Plus (MTC+) display. The central console accommodates a new gearshift lever and a revised button cluster for the driving modes, the characteristic double rotary knob for basic infotainment functions and the air suspension height setup switch.
Designed to provide plenty of space for five passengers, in line with a long Maserati tradition, the customer has a wide range of interior customization now even things Pieno Fiore natural leather has been added as a top-end option. Maserati say that Pieno Fiore is like no other leather used in the automotive industry for its natural, soft feel.
It certainly looks like the company have definitely ramped up the power, the luxury and specification to make the Levante a serious and unique, distinctly Italian contender in the increasingly popular luxury SUV market.
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