Essais > Maserati plugs a leak and a gap in its range with the Levante

Maserati plugs a leak and a gap in its range with the Levante

 - 01/03/2016

Maserati has been forced to show its hand and its first ever SUV ahead of its official reveal in Geneva next week, thanks to internet leaks.

Even if the reveal hasn't gone to plan, the car in question, the Levante, will be a welcome edition to the premium SUV market and one that, based on initial images and specifications, has managed to meet the desires of crossover customers without jeopardizing Maserati's design language.

The car has a suitably aggressive front grille that clearly shares DNA with the Ghibli and Quattroporte, the company's executive, sporting sedans. Present too are the company's famous circular air vents on either front wing, and the door windows are frameless.

At the back, the car tapers strongly so that in silhouette it looks more like a raised sportscar than a mud-plugging SUV. And although Maserati is still holding some information back -- after all, only exterior images leaked on to the internet -- it is understood that this crossover is more GT than SUV.

It will have intelligent all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission and that power will come from a V6 turbocharged engine in two different states of tune. The initial range-topping 430 will take care of the 0-100km/h dash in just 5.2 seconds, while the slightly more sedate 350 will manage the same feat in 6.3 seconds.

As for stopping what is a high-sided vehicle from rocking and rolling in the bends like a boat at sea, Maserati has gone for an intelligent electronic suspension set-up with adjustable air springs and dampers so that handling feels tight and predictable on the road but then softens up and offers greater wheel travel when heading off the beaten track.

Best of all, this set-up, which will feature a host of specific pre-programmed settings -- i.e., sport, ice, comfort, etc -- will come as standard on all levanter models.

As well as gas, a diesel engine (also a V6 turbo) will also be available at launch -- this spring in Europe and before the end of the year in the rest of the world -- but an out-and-out V8 sports model is also expected to make its debut before 2016 comes to a close.

The Maserati Levante, the company's first SUV in its 100-year history, will make its official debut at the Geneva motor show on March 1 where the company will reveal the car's cabin, its infotainment and safety features and, of course its price.


Photo credits: ©Maserati