James Batchelor of Auto Express has been invited for a special test drive of the ...
James Batchelor of Auto Express has been invited for a special test drive of the new Maserati Levante, the automaker’s much-anticipated mid-size luxury crossover SUV.
Maserati raised some eyebrows when it announced that it’s building its first ever SUV. But you can’t blame the famed Italian luxury vehicle manufacturer because rival firms like Bentley and Alfa Romeo have been producing jacked up cars. Not surprising because SUVs are currently big business.
The Levante is based on Maserati’s Ghibli and Quattroporte saloon, and also on the Kubang concept that was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. It will be powered by two Ferrari-built V6 petrol engines, but folks in the UK will be getting a 3.0-liter turbo diesel V6 instead.
With 275 bhp and 443 lb-ft of torque, the Levante offers spritely acceleration and returns 39 mpg. It also delivers exceptional handling and a chassis that is so beautifully poised. The car feels agile despite its 2.2-ton weight. The four-wheel drive system is also commendable, sending 100% power to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions, only directing power to the front wheels when needed.
The bad news is that the diesel engine simply doesn’t fit Maserati’s diesel heritage. Other than that, the Levante drives and thrills you like a Maserati should. Moreover, it can go off the road like no Maserati before it.
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