Maserati’s Cayenne Fighter, the Levante
Maserati is the flagship brand of Fiat S.p.A. They are known for their powerful, luxurious automobiles that compete for mid-range luxury buyers (those wanting more than a Lexus but less than a Rolls Royce). That is all about to change as they ready to challenge the king of luxury SUV sales, the Porsche Cayenne. The challenger will be named the Levante and will fill in an ever important gap many other high-end manufacturers are playing catch-up on.
The elegant design starts at the front with a wide, vertical striped grille inset with the famous Maserati trident. The slim, two element headlights add a bit of a menacing look along with the sculpted lines of the hood. The side view incorporates the three air-vents synonymous with the brand while the frameless door windows add to the typical streamlined, luxury look of the new SUV. Wrapping it all up in the rear the window has a sharp taper to provide an aggressive, sporty appearance.
Like every other sneak peek the automotive industry has given this week, there are no concrete specifications given on the drivetrain or chassis. However, a recent leak states it will come with a 3.0-liter V-6 which puts out 350 and 430hp depending on the model. For those preferring a diesel, another 3.0-liter V-6 comes with 275hp but the more important diesel torque figure is left out. Supposedly these engines will allow the Levante to go 0-62 in 6.3, 5.2, and 6.9 seconds respectively. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a 500+ hp V-8 from Ferrari thrown in the mix as well. Until the full press release comes out I have a hard time trusting any concrete numbers.
Mated to the engines will be the standard 8-speed automatic transmission driving the intelligent all-wheel-drive. Every Levante model will come standard with a plethora of content we don’t know yet as well as electronic suspension with controlled dampening and air springs adjustable to several levels. Maserati says the Levante will combine the road performance typical of every vehicle they make along with great off-road capability and ride quality as well. Honestly though, who in their right mind wants to drive a Maserati off-road? I guess if I could afford one, maybe I would change my mind…
Maserati already has the first cars coming off the assembly line at the Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy poised for a spring launch in Europe, followed by everyone else later in the year. Without any further information it is difficult to say how much of a game changer this SUV will be. However, it’s a Maserati with Maserati styling and power. This will hopefully provide some much needed competition for the Porsche Cayenne. Look for more information on the Levante at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Until then, enjoy the photos of this stunning design.
Photos courtesy Maserati. Full press release available here.