You’re looking at history unfolding – the all new Maserati Levante SUV has debuted at the Geneva Motor Show.
This is the Italian premium brand’s first-ever SUV. Australian buyers can look forward to the Levante arriving locally early next year following its European launch, which is scheduled to take place in May.
The Maserati Levante, like many Maseratis, gets its name from a wind - in this case a warm wind from the Mediterranean.
Styling is certainly unique – dare we say a stylish Italian spin on SUVs – and was done at the FCA Centro Stile studios in Turin. Even from a distance the Levante is distinctly Maserati and is impressively aerodynamic with a Cd of 0.31.
Up-front is a concave grille which Maserati says has links to the Tipo 60 Birdcage; the iconic trident logo is also there as is the sporting brand's signature sharp-looking Bi-Xenon/LED lights.
Profile view provides a coupe-like look courtesy of the frameless doors and the characteristic rear pillars with the ‘Saetta’ logo.
One look inside stamps the Levante as a genuine Maserati. Upholstery choices include premium leather or Ermenegildo Zegna silk made in Trivero, Italy by the Zegna wool mill.
Clearly there’s a cue or two in the dashboard layout from the Ghibli and Quattroporte models, but the Levante debuts Maserati’s new sports steering wheel and the centre stack sees an 8.4-inch touchscreen which can also be driven via the rotary dial on the centre console.
Maserati boldly claims that the all-new Levante will provide best-in-class interior space – at 5.0-metres in total length, the wheelbase is 3.0-metres.The rear seat includes two ISOFIX mounting points and luggage capacity is 580-litres
Power comes from the familiar Maserati range (developed by Ferrari) – two twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines (257kW/500Nm or 316kW/580Nm) or a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel offering 202kW/600Nm.
All drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission and ‘Q4’ all-wheel-drive.
Chassis architecture is shared with the current Quattroporte and Ghibli (but tweaked for the SUV application). Suspension sees a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear with electronically controlled Skyhook dampers and air springs with five ride levels (plus an additional one just for parking).
Claiming the lowest centre of gravity in the segment, a 50-50 front-to-rear weight distribution plus a mechanical-locking rear differential, the Levante promises the driving dynamics Maserati buyers demand.
As per the Quattroporte and Ghibli models, the new SUV isn’t lacking for standard features – adaptive cruise control with auto start/stop, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and automatic brake assist are all standard.
On the options list are items like surround-view camera, blind spot alert, and a powered tailgate.
In Europe there are two extended feature packs (Luxury and Sport) and, as always with Maserati, there are a number of personalisation options.
Maserati’s Australian distributor Ateco Automotive will announce local specifications and prices closer to launch.