This is not a Maserati made to look like an SUV. This is the Maserati of SUVs. That’s how Glen Sealey, COO of Maserati Australia, explained it to us at this week's Australian launch of the marque’s first ever SUV, the Maserati Levante.
Sporting an adventurous ride height and the same sleek silhouette that Maserati vehicles are renowned for, the Levante will target consumers in the exclusive car buying segment – a group of discerning clientele who are after an ultra premium car which doesn’t compromise on space or exclusivity.
Early reports revealed that Maserati had the option of borrowing the chassis from its sister company at Jeep but opted to build their SUV from the ground up in order to stay true to the Maserati design language and driving dynamics. The results certainly speak for themselves with the big five metre SUV fitting up to five passengers whilst still looking exceptionally compact from the outside.
Powering the new car is a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel which finds its home across all three variants in the standard Levante, Levante Sport and Levante Luxury. Power is rated at 202kW and 600Nm of torque to give a 0-100km/h time of 6.9s before topping out at 230km/h. The fuel consumption for all of this fun? 7.2L/100km.
What differs between the three will be the level of luxury appointments and sports trim that can be personalised to suit just about any customer. That doesn’t mean the car will be a slouch though. Maserati have ensured that the spirit of the trident remains intact in the Levante, having given the SUV a perfect 50:50 weight distribution and an aluminium chassis for ideal handling. There’s also torque vectoring to get the most out of the car’s AWD system with a rear-wheel-drive bias when the front wheels are not required and spirited driving is.
As expected from any luxury car maker, customers will be spoilt for choice with an extensive range of interior fit out ranging from leather to woodgrain to Alcantara to carbon fibre. Ride comfort is paramount in a car like this and as such, Maserati have specced the vehicle with air spring suspension and electronically controlled shock absorbers featuring four different ride height levels to tackle most terrains.
The entertainment front will be headed by a new Human Machine Interface complete with an 8.4″ touchscreen and a host of other electronic safety measures within Maserati’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems which includes Hill Holder, Hill Descent Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Rear & Surround View Cameras and Park Assist.
With orders for the car now open in Australia, pricing for the Levante will start from $139,990 for the standard version before moving up to $159,990 for both the Sport or Luxury versions.