The Levante has been around for a while now and we’ve driven every taste the V6 has to offer. So what else could you ask for? A Levante GTS of course.
The Levante GTS harnesses its 530 hp and 730 Nm from the 3.8L V8 developed by none other than Ferrari. Well Maserati, just like us, knows that bigger is better.
Unsurprisingly, just like the V6, the V8 is a masterpiece. It’s smooth and free-revving. And once again, that soundtrack is insane. There’s so much tone throughout the rev range. Most engines generally sound the same but get louder. This not only becomes louder but also lets you explore the depth of the sounds the engine makes. And in a world of OPF’s, noise regulations,… making an engine that sounds this good is amazing. Hats off to Ferrari for this one.
Hooked up to that masterpiece of a 3.8L is an 8-speed ZF transmission which can shift in less than 100 ms. Never is a shift rough or hesitant. The gearbox is very well configured by Maserati. And if you’d like to take control. Hit the gear lever to the left and you’ll have the pleasure of using the best shifting paddles you’ll find. They really make you wonder why other manufacturers go with these bland push buttons behind the wheel instead of this aluminum tactile wonder.
Low center of gravity
As we’ve mentioned before, the Levante GTS has the lowest center of gravity in its class and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
This results in an SUV that is one of the best handling SUVs on the market. Close but the F-Pace SVR still takes the crown. Mostly because the F-Pace is one of the few SUVs that rides on coil springs and the Levante, like most other SUVs, rides on air suspension.
This means it’s able to ride a lot more comfortably than the F-Pace, adjust the height to allow easier entry-access or higher road clearance for off-road.
Not only the height is adjustable but also the stiffness can be changed to change from comfort to sporty driving. There’s still body roll going around corners but it just amazes you by how fast it actually will go round a corner. Finding the limits on public roads is something that will actually cost you your license.
Whilst the Levante GTS has received a bomb of an engine, the looks of the Levante GTS are quite subtle. Design changes are mostly to the lower front fascia and rear bumper. It’s not the most subtle of SUVs but it is very stealthy for a Levante. And I like that very much in a car. Of course, the distinguished looks from the Trofeo are equally nice but there’s just something about sitting at the lights and no one knowing if it’s a diesel or that mighty V8 (only the sound and performance will reveal its true potential).
And with that, the Levante still looks as classy as ever. Even in the more sporty trim.
Design-wise, it’s one of my favorite SUVs on the market. It provides a certain presence with its sporty looks but still manages to stay refined at the same time. Hats off to Maserati for keeping this car fresh and classy over the years.
This is all you need to know about the interior. The optional Pieno Fiore leather is one of the softest, most comfortable leather options I’ve ever experienced.
Furthermore, the interior is different from competitors. The dashboard may be showing its age since they still use analog dials (which I still find cool). But things like Apple CarPlay are standard features on every Maserati. The touch-screen works very nice and intuitive and if you still prefer using dials to navigate, that still is possible as well.
But that’s not where Maserati makes their interiors stand out. No it’s in the fine details. The steering wheel with sensors in them register if you’re holding the wheel when driving with the adaptive cruise control. Leaving the silly jiggling of the steering wheel out like you have in a lot of competitors.
The aluminum column-mounted shifting pedals are a joy to look at and have a great tactile feedback which you don’t get from these bland steering mounted buttons others use.
Next there’s the optional ability to adjust the pedals as well. Meaning you can find the perfect driving position which is most comfortable for you. This is a feature you normally only see in super cars or hyper cars.
Finish is nice and premium as you’d expect in a modern Maserati. There’s plenty of space in the back to seat 3 adults. And the panoramic roof always is an added benefit to make the cabin feel way more spacious.
Sadly however, even though the trunk is 580 L big, if you are bringing all your camera gear. You won’t be able to transport a body in the trunk. Weirdly, the Germans have the edge on that one.
Concluding: is more actually better?
Yes, the V8 really enhances the whole Maserati experience in the Levante. Inside it’s as great as ever but the extra power and torque you get from that V8 is amazing. Also that sound from the V8. Even in the clutter of regulations we live in today, this is one of the best and dynamic sounding engines on sale. The Levante GTS does like to drink quite a lot of fuel. But if you don’t care about that then this is truly on of the greatest and most theatrical SUVs out there.