2017 Maserati Levante Review

Levante

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2017 Maserati Levante Overview

Maserati has strongly emphasized that its new Levante is as much a Maserati as any of its luxury-performance brethren. It’s the latest addition to a surprisingly crowded vehicle segment, as more and more high-end luxury and supercar manufacturers give the hyper-luxury SUV a shot. Although a price has not been officially announced by Maserati, buyers should expect the SUV to start around $70,000, which would certainly push it into the upper realm of crossover prices. With the Levante, Maserati is promising GT on-road dynamics and a fully capable and comfortable off-road experience in an opulent SUV.

Maserati has called the Levante a turning point in the company’s history. Its name, claimed to be inspired by a warm Mediterranean wind that can unexpectedly and instantaneously change from mild to gale force, invokes a change of feeling for the company. The SUV comes in three luxurious flavors: your most basic Levante with available Sport and Luxury packages, the Levante S with increased power and driving dynamics, or the Levante Diesel with a turbodiesel V6.

Gas-powered Levantes are powered by the same 3-liter, 345-hp twin-turbo V6 engine that powers the Ghibli and Quattroporte. With that, the SUV can reach 60 mph in about 6 seconds. If that’s just not enough power for your SUV, the Levante S can bang out an a total power output of 424 hp and get up to 60 mph in about 5.2 seconds. But if gasoline just isn’t your thing, the Levante Diesel is powered by a 3-liter turbodiesel engine capable of producing 275 hp that reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 6%.

The Levante has three driving modes: Sport, Off-Road, and I.C.E. Sport mode changes performance dynamics by making the throttle respond better to acceleration, maximizing the over-boost of the turbochargers through the engine's range and opening the exhaust to produce a deep guttural pitch. It also stiffens and lowers the Levante’s suspension a bit to maximize its on-road potential. Off-road mode increases the suspension height by 25 or 40mm to increase ground clearance. Increased Control and Efficiency (I.C.E.) mode is designed to improve fuel economy while also relaxing driving and handling in low-grip conditions.

All versions of the Levante come standard with Maserati’s Q4 all-wheel-drive system, designed to deliver a typical rear-wheel-drive experience while transferring traction to the front wheels on demand. The system can transfer torque from 100% in the rear to an even 50-50 front-rear split in 150 milliseconds. Maserati was also careful to keep the Levante as lightweight as possible. The Levante has a perfect 50-50 weight distribution and lowest-in-class center of gravity. It's also equipped with a standard suspension consisting of four independent air springs to improve ride comfort, safety, and fuel efficiency.

Inside, the Levante emanates luxury with dual-color leather and best-in-class headroom. The instrument panel remains virtually untouched from the Ghibli/Quattroporte layout, and a capacitive 8.4-inch touchscreen display controls onboard infotainment. This system includes AM/FM/DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and satellite navigation, as well as auxiliary inputs, USB sockets, and an SD card reader to allow a user to play music or view images. Audio can be upgraded to a premium Harman Kardon system or a top-of-the-range Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system.

The Levante offers a vast suite of active and passive safety features to ensure the luxury SUV protects passengers as much as possible. Optional safety features include features such as adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go, which constantly monitors the space between the Levante and the vehicle ahead of it, automatically maintaining a safe distance and adjusting as the car ahead slows down or accelerates. Additional systems such as blind-spot alert, lane-departure warning, and forward-collision warning ensure the driver is as aware of the road as possible. The Levante is equipped with the Maserati Stability Program (MSP), an advanced active safety and driver-assistance suite that detects unusual handling behaviors and initiates a series of safety systems to restore control of the car.

With every version of the Levante, you can purchase one of two appearance packages: the Sport Pack, which brings visual cues from Maserati's racing heritage to the Levante’s exterior and interior; or the Luxury Pack, which emphasizes the other part of Maserati’s heritage and elevates the luxurious look of the Levante. The Zegna Edition, an additional option within the Luxury Pack, adds hand-stitched bespoke Ermenegildo Zegna silk fiber inserts over the leather on the seats, door panels, sunshades, and headliner and brings the notion of a premium interior to another level entirely. Clearly, Maserati has made its SUV as luxurious, powerful, and state-of-the-art as the growing competition in this segment is sure to dictate.

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