Maserati has now brought the V6 petrol engine to the Levante GranLusso in the UK and it will make you fall in love with Maserati again.
You can have two trim versions above the standard Levante: the GranSport, which is more speed orientated or the luxury styled version, the GranLusso.
The Maserati Levante GranLusso sports a 3L Twin Turbo V6 petrol engine, direct injection GDI, dishing out 350bhp, gracefully leaping from 0-62mph in 6 secs, with a top speed of 155mph. It has an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, always smooth and reliable, plus Q4 intelligent all-wheel-drive with rear limited-slip differential. Weighing in at two tons, it stretches out over five metres, but drives like a much smaller and lighter car.
The front suspension is double-wishbone, with adjustable air springs and Skyhook shock absorbers, whilst the rear employs multi-link, adjustable air springs with Skyhook shock absorbers over each wheel. The brakes are red Brembo monobloc calipers.
The exterior is commanding and handsome, oozing gravitas, consistently drawing admiring glances. A beefy front grille with chrome vertical struts frames the Maserati Trident. An aerodynamic, sleek and subtle body, that could do with a little more shaping, but will suit purists of the Italian style. Frameless soft close doors are a nice touch and entry and exit are effortless. The Grigio Marateo or silvered matt grey colour is gorgeous, imparting just the right level of style and revealing the car’s lines upon closer inspection.
The interior is high luxury, the smell of leather and wood waft over as you open the doors revealing plush, layered red and black leather, prompting oohs and aahs of admiration from passengers. The 12-way powered seats are compact, laterally supportive and snug, with excellent lumbar support, superior to much of the competition. Mere seconds are required to set the right driving position, altering the seats angle, distance and steering.
There are six airbags and oodles of space, both front and rear, almost a true five seater. The doors, seats and dash are textured in Ermenegildo Zegna silk and luxurious fine-grain leather with a Radica open-pore dashboard wood and leather steering wheel. The 100% natural fibre Zegna mulberry silk inserts also feature in the roof lining, sunshades and ceiling light fixtures, a unique and gorgeous touch. An exclusive silk made using a patented process in Trivero, Italy by the Zegna wool mill.
The operating system has everything you want in a luxury car, but it’s not as intuitive as it could be, some controls should be accessible with a physical dash button rather than having to scroll through a screen menu to reach them. A small niggle.
The Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system is magnificent, and can be enjoyed by those outside the car, particularly when pumping out MC Solaar at full volume.
The Maserati 3L Twin Turbo V6 is a Ferrari built engine, under the hood of a Maserati. What an onomatopeic fusion, Maserati and Ferrari, don’t those names just susurrate off the tongue, suggesting speed?
In normal mode, the Levante is comfortable and assured, with excellent road holding. There is some lag in the acceleration but this is normal in an off-road car in comfort mode. In sport mode, it’s engine-roaringly responsive and leaps forward like a well fed gazelle, the sort of gazelle that can bowl over rhinoceroses. It is smooth and deliberately so, with all the power you’ll ever need, plus the Levante S is there for those that want to shave another second off the 0-62 mph time. The V6 engine delivers satisfaction, punch, refinement and character. There is faster, but as a package this is hard to beat.
Pick a speed in off-road mode and it will keep that speed whatever the terrain, very handy, especially in a convoy of cars climbing up rocky paths. The Q4 all-wheel drive relies on a multi-plate wet clutch, so it transfers traction to the front or back when needed. In normal mode, the engine’s torque goes to the rear wheels.
The height changes in sport and off-road mode and you can even raise or drop it manually with 5 separate levels.
The electric power steering is tight at speed and soft over rough terrain, handling both with poise and balance, so you get the best of both worlds. The engine response, suspension and braking are predictive and adapt to your driving, tightening when needed, a boon for both easy driving and safety.
The road performance is assured, sporty and confident, with little yaw on even tight corners, giving complete grip over potholed, bumpy country roads. But this is a luxury tourer, not a track car, so it is tuned for poise, not racing. The V6 engine is more than powerful enough for the UK, but if you want to raise the bar, the Levante Trofeo offers a V8 with 580bhp and a 0-62mph of 4.1 secs. Though the GranLusso V6 engine produces a lovely sound through the cabin at high revs.
This is a serious contender in the premium SUV segment and offers a superior interior and assured performance, against its nearest competitors in its price range. You get a lot of badge, opulent Italian luxury, flair and power for the price of £77,705. With a starting price of £62,900, why would you buy a Porsche or a BMW when you can have a much more exclusive Maserati.
The Maserati Levante GranLusso delivers comfort, richness and style in spades, plus it’s an absolute pleasure to drive. A high-end luxury touring SUV for those seeking refinement.
Starts At £62,900
My Levante GranLusso with extras: £77,705