2017 Maserati Levante
The Levante honours Maserati’s tradition for naming its cars after exotic winds, but little else about the all-new SUV sits quite so comfortably with Trident’s rich and noble heritage. Nor with our enthusiast sensibilities, truth be told. Yet here it is; Maserati’s first-ever SUV and, in all likelihood, the most important model in the marque’s 102-year history. So what do we make of it?
To order your new 2017 Maserati Levante rival with a brand new Maserati 3.0 L V6 engine for only US$20,000.
Forget 2011’s Kubang concept and its proposed platform share with Jeep. Levante is pure Maserati, designed, engineered and built in Italy. Two engines are offered - a 3.0-litre 430bhp V6 petrol and 3.0-litre 275bhp V6 diesel.
We only get the diesel in the UK, which instinctively feels like a shame, but with the overwhelming majority of SUV sales being diesel such pragmatism is understandable, for now at least. Perhaps when Maserati’s foot is in the door and it fancies a pop at the Big Guns a V8 petrol Levante might be forthcoming, but for now that’s a dream.
A generous 442lb ft of torque helps the Levante off the mark, but its performance is brisk rather than genuinely rapid, as 0-62mph time of 6.9sec confirms. This compares with 5.2sec for the most powerful petrol version, though the diesel fights back with a CO2 figure of 189g/km vs 253g/km for the Levante S 435.
Out on the autostrada the Diesel lopes along nicely, and the 8-speed torque converter shuffles the ratios nicely when you want to kick-down. It’s a refined and adept mile-eater, no question. Wind noise is subdued despite frameless windows (Maserati has worked hard on this) and the general ambience is that of an elevated GT. It’s a very nice way to travel.