Geneva to Dubai in 7 days – this should be probably the fastest regional launch to follow in the wake of a world premiere, in recorded local history. The Maserati of SUVs is here. Yes, already. It was exclusively previewed at the One & Only Royal Mirage today – behold the Maserati Levante.
The name was inspired by a warm, Mediterranean wind that can change from mild to gale force in an instant – just what the first SUV of Maserati purports to be. “This is the first ever SUV by Maserati, so it is a complete game-changer, particularly for the UAE. Maserati is renowned for exotic sports cars, so our mission was not just to build an SUV, but to build a Maserati.” said Hossam Hosni, General Manager Luxury Auto at Al Tayer Motors.
The Levante continues the legendary evolution of the sedan platform by Maserati. The car chassis has been developed to offer unique on-road drivability and competitive off-road capability. Introducing what most ‘sporty crossovers’ only talk about, the Levante combines spaciousness and coupé lines while achieving a segment benchmark in its co-efficient of drag (Cx 0.31) which is the same as that of a Maserati Quattroporte 2014. The sporty heritage continues to be expressed in the use of lightweight materials, the ideal 50:50 weight distribution and lowest-in-class centre of gravity.
The Levante is not one filled with vanity and bravado; it can handle diverse terrains while delivering best in class comfort and meticulous handling on rough terrains, snow and ice. The aluminium “double wishbone – five link” suspension layout comprises standard Air Springs and electronically controlled Skyhook shock absorbers. The Levante features the intelligent Q4 All-Wheel-Drive system and the newly introduced Torque Vectoring system.
The signature sound is bound to follow you in the Levante, too. As assured by the latest version of the Maserati 3-litre V6 engines with twin turbo, having presented exceptional performance in the Ghibli and Quattroporte models. The top tier gives 430 hp and the other 350 hp. The former gets to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds while the latter takes 6.0 seconds – both impressive stats for an SUV. The top speed for both the vehicles are 264 km/h and 251 km/h respectively. The eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox provides seamless comfort and fast gear shifting. You can select from four drive modes: Normal, I.C.E., Sport or Off-road.
The Levante reminds one of the Range Rover in the options present: Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Forward Collision Warning and Brake Assist System, Lane Departure Warning, Surround View camera, the capacitive 8.4″ Touch Screen display with brand new rotary control and a high level of customisation.
A new state-of-the-art production line was set up exclusively for the Levante in the historic Mirafiori plant. However, the exclusive preview notwithstanding, eager buyers will have to hold their breath for three more months, before the Levante will be available in showrooms.