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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

In updating the Levante, Maserati has made few mechanical changes to keep its car competitive with rivals.

As a 2.1-tonne SUV, the claim that the Levante is ‘built like a classic Maserati sports car’ might have rung a little hollow, though its aluminium-rich platform is shared with the Maserati Ghibli and Maserati Quattroporte saloons rather than anything from Jeep.

Classic chrome-trimmed front grille features active blades that control the flow of air through to the engine intake tract, either improving engine performance or aerodynamic efficiency, and therefore fuel economy

The suspension geometry itself is derived directly from that of the Ghibli (double wishbones at the front, with a five-link rear), albeit with greater travel for rougher trails, heightened spring rates and better control of camber and toe angles to respond to the six different ride heights permitted by the standard-fit air springs, says Maserati.

As before, Skyhook dampers sit at each corner, while most European models – our Levante S GranLusso test car included – benefit from six-piston Brembo brakes at the front axle. Meanwhile, for the revised V8 models that remain slightly further off for UK buyers, Maserati has added a strut brace to reinforce the front half of the chassis, while on all models the rear body structure is predominantly made of steel for greater strength. Those eight-cylinder cars duly tip the scales 60kg more heavily than the V6 versions, though Maserati claims all have perfect 50:50 weight distribution, and the drag coefficient remains among the lowest in the class.

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Modern Maserati is keen to make the most of its relationship with Ferrari, and we are reminded that the 3.8-litre V8 engines on offer – respectively tuned to 542bhp and 582bhp in the GTS and Trofeo models – and the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 sampled here come from the most famous name in the business.

Ours is tuned to 424bhp, though a 345bhp version of the V6 is available too, with a VM Motori-built 271bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 propping up the range. In its quickest guise, the Levante will sprint to 62mph in a scarcely credible 3.9sec, though even the claimed 5.2sec figure for our Levante S GranLusso is far from embarrassing.

All models use an eight-speed gearbox from German firm ZF, with Maserati’s Q4 all-wheel-drive system heavily biased towards the rear axle, even once slip is detected.

A limited-slip differential between the rear wheels also comes as standard, and operates in conjunction with a revised brake-based torque-vectoring system. For the updated Levante, Maserati’s Integrated Vehicle Control system has also been woven into the stability-control electronics. Both engine speed and braking are adjusted on a predictive basis, allegedly nullifying the early-onset understeer inherent to most SUVs.