Maserati’s Levante SUV is now officially on sale in Australia, coming in three model grades with a range of luxury and tech features.
The debut of the Levante saw Maserati sales for January, 2017, increase almost 90 per cent compared to the same month last year, with Maserati Australia saying a further 220 Levantes are on back order for delivery this year – an unprecedented level of interest for a new Maserati.
To accommodate the increased interest fueled by the Levante, Maserati are opening new dealerships in Sydney and Melbourne, while also upgrading existing dealerships Australia-wide.
Maserati’s first SUV is available in three model grades, starting with the standard Levante at $139,990 plus ORCs. The Levante Sport and Levante Luxury are $159,990 each (+ ORCs).
All three variants are powered by Maserati’s common rail turbodiesel V6, outputting 202kW at 4,000rpm and 600Nm at 2,000-2,600rpm. Claimed fuel economy is 7.2lt/100km.
An 8-speed auto is standard across the range, as is the Q4 all-wheel drive system that’s also in the upcoming Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV. A perfect 50/50 front/rear weight distribution is claimed, along with the lowest centre of gravity in its class.
Where the Maserati differs from some others in its class is in its superior interior space and adjustable air suspension. The latter is matched to electronically-controlled “Skyhook” shock absorbers and the Q4 AWD that Maserati says delivers a surprising level of off-road capability.
The air springs are four-level adjustable, which can add up to 40mm to the standard 207mm ride height in ‘Off-road 2’ mode, or lower it by up to 45mm in ‘Park’ mode.
The adjustable Q4 system comes with driver-selectable ‘normal,’ ‘I.C.E.,’ ‘Sport’ and ‘Off-road’ modes which adjust throttle performance, steering response and suspension settings. In normal mode, this system delivers 100 per cent of torque to the rear wheels, but can transfer up to 50 per cent of drive to the front axle in 150 milliseconds. Sport and Off-road are self-explanatory, but I.C.E. stands for Increased Control & Efficiency and provides slower gear changes and more relaxed throttle response to improve fuel economy.
The coupe-like styling of the Levante is on trend for this segment of the SUV market, with elements inspired by Maserati’s Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans.
The standard Levante comes with 19-inch wheels, while the Luxury features 20s and the Sport gets 21s with red brake calipers.
The Sport also gets a piano black finish to the bold grille (metallic on the standard Levante and Levante Luxury) and a sports steering wheel, while the Luxury adds an Alcantara headliner. Both the Sport and the Luxury get body-coloured lower body sections and a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system.
A decent safety package is common to all three model grades, including blind spot assist, hill descent control, braking assist and the ‘Maserati Stability Programme’ that includes ABS, EBD, acceleration slip regulation and drag torque control. Surprisingly, given the Levante’s price, forward collision warning and lane departure warning are extra-cost options.
Kerb weight is 2,205kg and towing capacity is a surprising 2,700kg (braked).
“The Levante will take Australians to places that have never previously seen a Maserati and doing things previously unthinkable for a car wearing the legendary Trident badge, thanks to its unique four wheel drive system and suspension,” said Glen Sealey, Chief Operating Officer of Maserati Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
“First and foremost, whether it is in the city or out in the bush, on a race track or a dirt track, the Levante is, heart and soul, a true Maserati.”