2016 NYIAS: Maserati Levante

Auto Shows | March 23rd, 2016 by 2
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Luxury SUVs are by far and away the most popular luxury vehicles in the world, especially so in the US market. Regardless of preferred brand, …

Luxury SUVs are by far and away the most popular luxury vehicles in the world, especially so in the US market. Regardless of preferred brand, luxury car buyers love SUVs and the segment is becoming bigger and bigger. It’s getting so big, in fact, that even smaller luxury brands are creating SUVs of their own. Jaguar, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and Bentley all have SUVs in their future. The latest one to join the party is the Maserati Levante.

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Maserati’s new Levante SUV is a strange product for the Italian firm, as the brand has always been more about performance than luxury. This Levante is the exact opposite. While it’s still a high-performanc car and packs a powerful engine, the Levante is all about creature comforts as you can tell by its interior. The cabin of the Levante is genuinely gorgeous, with rich materials everywhere you can touch and lovely leather, wood and metal throughout the cabin. It’s a fantastic design and one befitting a luxury SUV of its price.

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The exterior, however, can’t be given the same praise. Maserati is a great company and is capable of some of the most bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful cars on the road. But the Levante…it’s just not a good looking car. It’s not horrible, but there’s just something off about it that makes it look underserving of a trident on the hood. Maybe it’s just because Maseratis of the last have always been great looking. So maybe the Levante isn’t actually bad looking, but it just failed to live up the expectations of a Maserati SUV. Plus, it kind of looks as if Maserati tried to make an Infiniti QX50.

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In terms of the Levante’s powertrain, it will pack either one of two versions of a 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 engine. The weaker variant develops 345 hp while the more powerful of the two packs 424 hp. That’s more than enough heft to deal in this segment. The 0-60 mph sprint is dispatched in 5.8 and 5.0 seconds, for the stronger and weaker variants, respectively. According to many press drives, the Levante is actually a very fun SUV to drive, with great reflexes and sharp steering.

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However, will the Maserati Levante be good enough to say BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Class buyers? Probably not, as it’s going to cost quite a bit more and it’s unclear if customers will be will to pay the extra scratch for a car that’s most likely going to break within minutes of ownership. It is a Maserati, after all.

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