The Maserati Levante is the company’s take on the latest selling trend. Have they pulled it off correctly? Does it still feel like a true Maserati? Or is it a hopeless attempt at selling more cars?
The Maserati Levante is the brand’s first mid-sized SUV aimed to be a sporty, yet luxurious crossover in this ever growing trend. First and foremost: it’s not a glorified Stelvio. Both cars have been developed separately and on different platforms. Whilst the Levante is built on the same platform as the Maserati Ghibli, the Stelvio is based on the Giorgio platform that’s also used for the Giulia.
I spent a total of 3 days with this car. 3 days that drained my bankaccount but filled me with awe.
The design of the Levante is spot on: it truly embodies the Maserati design. The front is very sporty and aggressive at the same time. It actually reminds me of the face of a fierce Italian telling you to get out of its way. Moving further along the car, the Maserati Levante is shaped with sexy and fluid lines that flow all the way to the big back-end that houses the quad exhaust of the car.
Inside the ‘Italian theme’ continues. The cabin is filled with soft leather and red contrasting stitches. In the back this theme continues and surprisingly there’s a lot of legroom for a car of this size. No possibility of getting claustrophobia in here (we challenge anyone to get claustrophobic in there).
And even the trunk has a few Maserati touches to it. Your typical first aid kit and tools come in a soft leather bag with the Maserati logo stiched onto it. What’s inside it? There’s the typical band-aids and high visibility jacket but also your own premium Maserati branded ice scraper!
With a length of 5 m and a curb weight of 2,1 tonne, the Maserati Levante doesn’t seem to be the type of car in which you’ll be enjoying a good backroad at first. But it’s a Maserati still and with its adaptive air suspension the car is able to adjust its ride height for either off-road, comfort or sporty driving. The Levante is damn comfortable in ‘normal driving mode’ and is amazingly stable on motorways during long driving trips.
But when turned into sport mode, the suspension stiffness increases noticeably. The car still has body roll, after all it’s a big car, but it’s very subtle. You’ll be able to push the Levante around corners in a way you wouldn’t expect from an SUV. All while there’s little to no understeer ever apparent.
The only thing that will give you the impression that it’s still a 2,1 tonne car, is under braking: the nose will dive deep and ABS kicks in quite early. Perhaps a set of larger Brembo brakes like on the Levante S might wipe away that impression.
This is by far the best part of the Levante: the 3.0L V6 is a masterpiece. Producing 350 hp and 500 Nm’s it sends its power through an 8-speed ZF gearbox that is controlled with these oh-so-beautiful aluminium paddle shifters that click beautifully when used. The symphony of explosions that comes out the back is something only Italians are able to produce. Shift it between 3.000 and 4.000 rpm and you get this whale-like burble but shift it above 4.000 and just before redline, and you’ll get this loud bang that’ll resonate through every opera.
Living with a petrol drinking addict
If you’re looking for an economical car that’ll save the planet. Well ehm, you’re at the wrong address. The Maserati Levante will average around 10-12 L/100 km in I.C.E. on the motorway. Take it out of I.C.E. and into sport, place it in a more twisty environment and consumption will quickly rise to 16-17L/100 km. But in return you’ll be getting a lot of smiles per injection of fuel.
But let’s face it: you’re not looking at fuel consumption when you’re buying a Levante anyway, so let’s get back to some more relevant details of living with it on a day to day basis.
Being a big car, it comfortably fits 2 full size adults in the back without any problem. 3 if you push them a little. Inside the cabin is lots of storage space for various drinks or other stuff (in our case that was camera gear) you might be carrying inside the car. And if you’re going grocery shopping or buying a new shelf from Ikea. The trunk is large enough to tackle most of those issues (unless you’re making food for 20 people and the shelf is more like a small house).
Did Maserati succeed at retaining the true Italian soul in their newest SUV? They sure did, it ticks all the boxes required to be a true Maserati: Good looks, an amazing soundtrack and a comfortable, luxurious car that can be thoroughly enjoyed by driving enthusiasts. If you’re a long distance driver, there’s also a diesel version available as well. To keep it short: the Maserati Levante definitely deserves the CJ stamp of approval.