As it happened before with the Porsche Cayenne, when it was revealed that Maserati would present its first SUV model, the initial reaction of the brand`s followers was skepticism. Fans of the Trident brand questioned if a road car would be able to preserve the identity of design, luxury, and sportiness characteristic of the brand. The good news is that, despite its size and its 4×4 capabilities, the Levante proves to be a true Maserati.
Equipped with a 3,000 cc engine and 6- V cylinders of 430 hp in its more powerful version, the Levante can accelerate from 0-60 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 5.2 seconds, and it has a top speed of 165 mph (264 km/h). These excellent stats are made possible by a modern automatic transmission and 8-speed dual clutch.
The exterior design shows curves and muscular lines, as well as an aggressive front that uses a grille of the Alfieri prototype with a prominent trident emblem, accompanied by elongated headlights shaped like a feline eye on either side.
The sporting identity of the model is evident in its three-side vent port fenders, in the huge alloy wheels with low-profile tires, and on its roof, which descends toward the rear of the car.
Finally, and following its sprinter style, the rear end of the SUV offers stylish wrap-around LED headlights, a fixed spoiler that continues from the roof to improve aerodynamic performance, and four large tailpipes.
Inside the new model, the predominant materials are leather, carbon fiber, aluminum and polished wood. And as it is usual in Italian vehicles, the company offers a huge variety of customizations with 28 combinations of upholstery available, among other options.
The center console, meanwhile, boasts an enormous 8.1-inch touch screen where you can set preferences and manage the vehicle`s entertainment and connectivity systems.
Concerning safety technology, the model features electronic traction distribution, stability control, automatic braking assistance to prevent frontal collisions, motion sensors, and perimeter cameras that monitor the area surrounding the car, adaptive cruise speed, warning of change lanes, and six airbags.
This model will be available in Europe in May 2016, and in North America after September of the same year.
The Maserati Levante offers the luxury design and sporty performance characteristic of the brand in a family vehicle that allows drivers to enjoy any terrain, with the style and personality that only Italian design can achieve. ■