What is it?
It’s the new Maserati Levante – or rather the updated ‘2018’ version of a car that made us all wonder, only last year, if the introduction of a luxury SUV was still such a risk to the reputation of a European sports car maker. It’s time to get real. When that’s a risk so many are taking, how can it be?
The Maserati Levante has already become the biggest-selling car that the Modena-based firm makes, reaching 25,000 owners around the world already in its 15-month existence in production – and for a company that only sold 32,000 cars in total in 2015. This car looks like becoming the bedrock of Maserati’s business for years into the future, just as the Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Macan now are for Porsche. As Maserati’s ex-CEO Harald Wester used to say: “The bigger risk would have been not to make it.”
In light of that, keeping the Levante competitive with its rivals is clearly of paramount importance – and that’s not achieved by sitting on your hands. Which is why, only 18 months after the car was unveiled, we’re already seeing a model-year update. The revision mostly adds safety and convenience features, although there are changes to the car’s styling and trim range hierarchy as well.
The engine range is unaltered – at least in a global sense. There’s a choice between 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged petrol engines of either 345bhp or 424bhp, and a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel with 271bhp. But whereas until now only the V6 diesel engine was available in right-hand drive markets like ours, Maserati has finally made the V6 turbo petrols available in right-hand drive as well. For now, Maserati UK will only offer the 424bhp Levante V6 S alongside the 271bhp diesel – but the less powerful petrol could also come in time.