Maserati’s first ever SUV was one of the highlights of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show
The Italian luxury brand has used the opportunity to release full details about the new model, which takes its name from a warm Mediterranean wind. Based on the same platform as the Ghibli and Quattroporte, the Levante is offered with three engines – two gasoline units and a diesel. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine is available in two states of tune – 345 hp (350 PS) and 424 hp (430 PS) – while the 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel delivers 271 hp (275 PS).
Maserati's "Q4" intelligent all-wheel drive system is a standard feature, as is an 8-speed automatic gearbox with integrated Start&Stop System. The most powerful gasoline engine in the Levante S allows the SUV to cover the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 5.2 seconds and to reach a maximum speed of 264 km/h. Combined fuel consumption is 10.9 l/100 km, with corresponding CO2 emissions of 253 g/km (according to the European test cycle).
The 345 hp Levante sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 6 seconds and hits a top speed of 251 km/h, with combined fuel consumption and emission figures of 10.7 l/100 km and 249g CO2/km respectively.
Finally, the diesel-powered Levante goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds and has a top speed of 230 km/h. Unsurprisingly, it is the most fuel-efficient model in the lineup, averaging 7.2 l/100 km and 189g CO2/km.
Maserati says the Levante has been developed to offer "outstanding performance" both on- and off-road, with the suspension (double-wishbone configuration on the front axle and multi-link at the rear) playing an important part in this respect. Handling is also enhanced by the electronically controlled damping, which provides five dynamic ride levels (plus one additional park-position).
The automaker boasts that the Levante has the lowest center of gravity in its class, as well as a "perfectly balanced" weight distribution (50-50) between front and rear. A mechanical self-locking rear differential is standard.
Inside, the Italian luxury SUV offers an updated version of the Maserati Touch Control system with an 8.4-inch high-resolution touchscreen and a new rotary controller in the center tunnel. The model is available with a range of driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control with automatic Start&Stop function, forward collision warning, automatic brake assist, and lane departure warning. Optional features also include blind spot alert, surround view camera, and a power lift tailgate.
Built in Italy, the Levante will launch in spring 2016 in Europe and later on in the rest of the world. Prices in Switzerland start from CHF 75,900 – that's about $76,000 in U.S. currency.