Petrol-powered Maserati Levante S SUV launched

164mph, 436bhp petrol Maserati Levante S hits UK showrooms at £70,755

Maserati has added a petrol engine to the Levante SUV range, with the new S model offering high performance at a starting price of £70,755.

The S joins the 275bhp Maserati Levante diesel, which marked the Italian brand's first assault on the SUV market on its introduction in early 2017. With 426bhp at its disposal, though, the Levante S is far more powerful and competes squarely with the Porsche Cayenne S and Mercedes-AMG GLE 43, as well as the Audi SQ7.

Maserati Levante S performance

With 0-62mph possible in a claimed 5.2 seconds, the Levante S certainly has the performance to match its rivals, thanks to a Ferrari-influenced 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged petrol engine also offered in the Maserati Ghibli saloon. It's linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox from German specialist ZF and four driving modes are offered, including an off-road mode.

Maserati touts the Levante's agility off the beaten track as "surprising", but prowess on a challenging road is the SUV's clear focus, as evidenced by its aluminium double wishbone suspension, which incorporates the company's 'Skyhook' electronic shock absorbers. With an 'intelligent all-wheel drive system' sending power to the wheel or wheels that need it most and perfectly balanced 50:50 weight distribution, impressive grip and handling are claimed.

Attention has been paid to stopping, too, with powerful six-piston brake calipers by Brembo, a name associated with motorsport on two and four wheels alike. A top speed of 164mph completes the performance picture, but all this may just be a taster of what's to come – a forthcoming version is rumoured to use Maserati's more powerful V8 engine.

Trim levels and equipment

Two models will be offered, the GranSport and GranLusso, the latter of which places an emphasis on luxury. It's distinguished by metallic front skid plates, black brake calipers and body-coloured side skirts. A set of 19-inch wheels is standard and GranLusso badges decorate the front wings. Inside, upholstery is offered in premium Italian leather or silk from fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, while open-pore wood trim completes the look.

GranSport cars have a more aggressive look, with a gloss-black front grille, skid plate and roof rails and blue inserts to the Maserati trident insignia, while red brake calipers are framed by larger 20-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the leather sports seats and steering wheel are power-adjustable, while the pedals and gearshift paddles are finished in brushed steel.

Beyond the standard specification, buyers can add an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) safety package, which includes lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring and traffic sign-recognition, along with 'highway assist', which is Maserati's adaptive cruise control system.

Price and release date

The Maserati Levante S is available to order now, priced from £70,755.

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