New Maserati Levante SUV to make Goodwood debut

The Maserati Levante - the company's first-ever SUV - will make its public UK debut at the Goodwood festival of speed

Having made its international public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the Maserati Levante will make its UK public debut at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. When it goes on sale, later this month, it’ll be up against against rivals like the Bentley Bentayga, Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne.

Having been touted for years – originally as the Kubang concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003 – the Levante has had something of a troubled inception. It was originally delayed due to switching production from the USA (where Maserati’s sister brand Jeep – an SUV specialist – is based) to Italy. According to our sister title Auto Express, however, the Levante will not use any Jeep parts.

Maserati boss Harald Wester insisted that the new Levante would be "100% Maserati". He also confirmed that production would begin this month, with deliveries beginning after Geneva.

Maserati Levante design

Styling-wise, the new car borrows heavily – especially at the front – from its saloon siblings with its sharp, slender headlights and concave hexagonal grille. The heavily creased bonnet also takes inspiration from other models in the range, like the Maserati Quattroporte, Maserati Ghibli, Maserati GranTurismo and Maserati GranCabrio. Circular foglights sit just below the headlamp clusters and there are gaping air vents in the front bumper.

Down the side, the doors feature sharp creases, too, while the rear haunches are pronounced. Despite its SUV pretensions, the Levante has a low, swooping roofline, while the roof spoiler and quad exhausts signal its sporting intent. Even though this is an all-new model for Maserati, some of the brand's signature styling cues are present, including triple air vents on each front wing and a large trident badge in the middle of the front grille.

Interior

Inside, the Maserati Levante’s seats are swathed in leather as standard, while you get the option of having two separate shades of leather, too. Much of the rest of the interior will be familiar from other Maseratis, with the same instrument cluster as the Ghibli and Quattroporte saloons and the familiar oval analogue clock on the dash.

The Levante comes with Maserati’s Touch Control Plus infotainment system as standard, controlled by an 8.4-inch touchscreen in the centre console.

Maserati says the Levante is one of the roomiest cars in the class and that it "feels like a first-class lounge", thanks in part to its long wheelbase and wide body. Rear headroom is impressive compared to rivals too, apparently.

In the boot, there’s 580 litres of space with the rear seats in place and all models come with an powered tailgate as standard. Also on the list of standard equipment are heated and ventilated leather front seats, an eight-speaker stereo, cruise control, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control and automatic wipers.

There's also be plenty of scope for personalisation inside the Levante, with two optional packages being available. The Sport pack gives the Levante a more sporting theme, with gloss-black front and rear skid plates, 20-inch alloys, a rear boot spoiler, aluminium gearshift paddles and steel pedals.

The Luxury pack, on the other hand, enhances the Levante’s luxurious feel, with upgraded interior materials, a chromed front grille, steel sill plates, 19-inch alloys and a powerful Harmon Kardon stereo. This model also gets 12-way power-adjustable leather seats.

Engines & performance

Although the car was initially only meant to be getting the 271bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine in the UK, it has recently been announced that a 425bhp turbocharged petrol V6 will join the line-up too. Likely to arrive later in the year, the petrol V6 – developed by Ferrari – will be joined by a couple of plug-in hybrids in as soon as 2018.

The 271bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel will still be the big seller, however. This version will be capable of 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds and will have a top speed of 143mph. Its popularity will be due in the most part to its low running costs, with it managing around 39mpg, while CO2 emissions of 189g/km will mean an annual tax bill of £270 and places it in the 34% Benefit-in-Kind company car tax bracket.

If you go for the top-spec Levante S, powered by the 425bhp engine, it will go from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 164mph. Unsurprisingly, running costs for the petrol model will be much steeper, returning around 26mpg economy on average and emitting 253g/km of CO2. This means you’ll be liable for a £500 annual road tax bill. All Levante models will get four-wheel drive and come with eight-speed automatic gearboxes.

Price & release date

There's also no official word on prices as yet, but expect to pay at least £54,300 for a basic Levante, rising to £61,185 for the top-spec model. The plug-in hybrid models may cost more than £100,000. Orders for the new Levante open later this month, with first UK deliveries expected in the Autumn.

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