Alongside the inescapable rise of the game utility automobile, a complementary rise of high-performance luxurious SUVs has occurred. From the Porsche Cayenne to the Lamborghini Urus, all the massive efficiency gamers are entering into the sport, and I reckon the 2019 Maserati Levante is about as shut as we have gotten to a Ferrari SUV… at the least, for now.Ferrari-built V6The prancing pony DNA manifests as a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo, Ferrari-sourced V6 that lives within the Levante’s engine bay. You may discover this Ferrari-built engine powering Maserati’s Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans — so far as I can inform, the V6 is completely utilized by Maserati. The base Levante will get 345 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque from this powerplant. Stepping as much as this Levante S trim additionally steps the output as much as 424 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque.
Top trim GTS and Trofeo fashions exchange the F160 for a twin-turbo V8 good for 550 horsepower and 590 horsepower, respectively, however that is a narrative for one more day.The Levante’s Ferrari-built V6 is on the market in 325 horsepower and 424 horsepower variants.
Standing between the V6 and the contact patches are an eight-speed computerized transmission and Maserati’s This fall all-wheel-drive system. The AWD setup encompasses a rear-biased torque break up with a rear limited-slip differential for a sporty really feel, additional enhanced by the Levante’s suspension. Electronic damping management and a five-level peak adjustable air suspension permit the motive force to tailor the handing from firm-yet-comfortable to really-firm-and-dynamic.
Of course, my favourite a part of the Levante’s powertrain is the exhaust, which feels like a finely tuned maelstrom. The Maser feels like a correct unique in its sportiest setting, with a satisfying howl and pops and burbles punctuating every shift. The Levante could be so loud, and so aggressive with it downshifts in sport mode, that it will possibly get a bit obnoxious in case you attempt to drive it on this mode round city. Fortunately, there are extra sedate consolation settings that quiet issues down and make the SUV a lot simpler to stay with.
Zero-to-60 mile-per-hour sprints are tackled in 5 seconds — spectacular for an SUV, however not precisely supercar fast — with acceleration that’s linear, steady and principally drama-free, except you rely the extraordinarily dramatic sound emanating from the exhaust suggestions and engine bay. Handling is surprisingly nimble for an SUV. In its sport mode, the Levante’s suspension hunkers down and companies up its dampers for very flat, agile cornering with gobs of grip supplied by its 265-millimeter-wide Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires and 21-inch wheels.Stylish designThe Levante wears Maserati’s design hallmarks effectively, wrapping attractive Italian styling across the extra upright proportions of an SUV. From the trident grille to the fender vents and sculpted shoulders, the Levante definitely looks like a member of the household that birthed the Quattroporte and GranTurismo. The cabin is luxuriously appointed with high-quality trim and fabric, however a skilled eye will spot all types of Fiat-Chrysler components bin bits peeking by way of. From the switchgear to the instrument cluster to the whole infotainment stack, Maserati selected to not reinvent the wheel with the Levante’s cabin. Honestly, I haven’t got an issue with this — the Levante’s cockpit nonetheless feels luxurious, particularly with elective packages upgrading the appear and feel of the leather-based trim.Our instance featured the GranSport look improve together with bigger 21-inch wheels and vibrant yellow brake calipers.
There are a number of bespoke bits scattered across the Levante’s cabin that make it really feel a bit extra particular, from the analog clock that peeks up from the dashboard to the big, steel paddle shifters. The paddles are mounted to the steering column, not the wheel, and stay stationary when turning, hinting at Maserati’s race heritage. They make a satisfying “ping” with every shift and are simply satisfying to slap throughout heated driving.Off the rack techBesides, the Chrysler Uconnect is a superbly good, absolutely featured infotainment system. Redubbed Maserati Touch Control Plus (MTC+) and sporting a reskinned interface, that is mainly the most recent era of FCA’s 8.4-inch Uconnect tech. It options good navigation and mapping software program, voice command that works effectively, and a customizable interface that may be enhanced by downloadable apps. It’s not as flashy a setup because the Porsche Cayenne’s PCM suite or BMW’s iDrive, however with customary Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, I’ve acquired no complaints about MTC+.
The Levante additionally advantages from FCA’s suite of driver aids and security tech, with accessible adaptive cruise management that works in stop-and-go visitors, lane-keeping help that makes use of steering torque to maintain the SUV between the strains, lane-centering help on the freeway and ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking help. The Levante’s cabin options some FCA components bin bits, however larger high quality supplies and bespoke particulars maintain it feeling luxurious.
An emotional selectionThe 2019 Maserati Levante begins at $76,980 for the bottom, all-wheel-drive mannequin. Another 10 grand will get you 80 further ponies, stepping as much as the $87,980, 424 horsepower Levante S. My instance additionally options the GranSport look improve bundle together with bigger wheels, larger brakes and a sportier look inside and outside. As examined, you are about $11,000 in what are primarily visible upgrades that deliver this automobile to an as-tested value of $103,845.
While you may definitely skip a few of these aesthetic choices, type and efficiency are sort of the entire level of the Levante, so I’d in all probability spec mine very equally to this one. As costly as it’s, the S is a candy spot within the lineup earlier than reaching the $120,980 GTS and $169,980 Trofeo — uber-expensive upgrades which might be much less an train in how a lot it’s best to spend and the way a lot you must spend.The 2019 Maserati Levante S faces a few of the stiffest competitors within the enterprise, together with the Porsche Cayenne S which is fairly a lot better in each approach with sharper efficiency, a extra luxurious cabin and smarter expertise. But the Cayenne is also costlier when comparably outfitted. The logical selection could be to go along with one thing just like the BMW X5 xDrive50i or the Audi Q8 for lots much less cash, however in some way these rides do not feel as particular because the Maser.No, the Levante is not one of the best in its class, however with its partaking efficiency and dramatic aptitude it has an emotional, intangible attraction all of its personal.
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