Maserati, the famous Italian luxury sportscar manufacturer has joined the league of luxury SUV manufacturer with the recently revealed Levante SUV. This is the first raised car from the Maserati and the company has released the first set of official images for the SUV. The SUV is expected to make its public debut at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, slated to happen next month.
From the first set of images, the SUV looks like a solidly put together piece of metal, much inspired from the Porsche Cayenne. The dramatically sculpted bonnet, trademark yet enlarged form of Maserati front grille, tapered headlights and large front air intakes makes it very appealing car. Then there's company's signature three air vent design on the front fenders, frameless door windows, slanting roofline, roof mounted spoiler and four exhausts, to complete the look of this neat looking SUV.
The C-pillar features a 'Saetta' logo, first seen on the Ghibli and now other Maseratis. The overall design is inspired from 2011 Kubang concept car, which signalled the Maserati's intent to enter the SUV market. There are no official interior images as of now, but a couple of leaked images suggest that the Levate will get the steering-wheel mounted paddles for the automatic transmission and a large central infotainment screen.
Mechanically, the Levante SUV will be powered by the same engines doing their duties in the Ghibli and Quattroporte. Though nothing is officially confirmed, reports suggest that the Levante will be using a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine from the Ghibli and Quattroporte along with the 3.0-litre V6 diesel motor. The power will be transferred to all the four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and Maserati’s ‘Q4’ all-wheel-drive system.
Reports also indicate that the petrol models will be badged as 'Levante 350' (confirming 350bhp output) and 'Levante 430' (430 bhp output). While the 350 is claimed to accelerate from 0-100 kmph in 6.3 seconds with a top speed of 243 kmph, the powerful 430 will do the sprint in 5.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 264kph. The diesel motor is claimed to complete 0-100 in 6.9 seconds with a top speed of 230kph.
Chances are that the Levante will also feature a V8 powerplant from the Quattroporte, and will be the range-topping performance model. The luxury SUV market is picking up with a rapid pace and companies like Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini are all joining the wagon to reap the maximum benefit out of it. Maserati will do the same by improving its annual sales to around 70,000 units by 2018.
Once launched, the SUV will rival the likes of the Mercedes GLE, BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne. There is no speculation on how much it will cost, but expect it to be at par the Cayenne's price.
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