What is it?
A notoriously long time in the making, the Levante arrives in the UK with the usual sporting SUV fanfare. Like the Jaguar F-Pace and the Bentley Bentayga before it, this is the car touted to grow Maserati sales from low-volume mediocrity to something Fiat can actually boast about. It’s a familiar challenge, and one made all the more difficult not only by the quality of the opposition, but also by its sheer quantity too.
Going by its exterior dimensions, the Levante is a rival for the Porsche Cayenne – but the asking price for the solitary diesel model (£54,335) puts everything from an Audi SQ5 to a 3.0D F-Pace among its competitors. The cost with options of our test car (£70,174 – easily done if you indulge in the many options for personalisation) gets you a Range Rover Sport in decent spec.
The Range Rover actually makes for a decent yardstick as Maserati claims a similarly broad range of virtues for its first SUV, suggesting that the Levante combines “unique” on-road driveability with “leading” off-road comfort. To make good on these claims, the car combines a rear-bias AWD system with self-leveling air springs on a front double wishbone, rear multi-link suspension.
In Europe, the Levante can be had with a choice of twin-turbo V6 petrol motors; in the UK though, we get only the 271bhp VM Motori 3.0-litre V6 diesel and eight-speed ZF transmission from the Ghibli, which the Levante is closely related to.