Maserati Levante test drive review, the seductive SUV

The Maserati Levante was a turning point in Maserati’s history. This brand new model, which made its World Premiere at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, enabled the Trident brand to access the largest and one of the fastest growing luxury vehicle segment in the world….the SUV. The Levante significantly contributed and continues to do so to the bank balance of Maserati.

Naming It

The name Levante was inspired by a warm, Mediterranean wind that can change from mild to gale force in an instant, mirroring the character of this very first Maserati SUV.


The Maserati Levante is based on the evolution of the saloon platform, designed exclusively by Maserati. The chassis was specifically developed to offer unique on-road drivability and competitive off-road capability, with day-to-day comfort and practicality. The premium Italian SUV was conceived around three main pillars: Design, Exclusivity and Performance.

The Maserati Levante’s design is distinctive and attractive, embracing the aesthetic elements of Italian style. The design brings a new concept to the SUV world, combining spaciousness and coupé lines while achieving the best aerodynamic efficiency in its segment with a Cx coefficient of just 0.31.

Target Market

The off-road equipment completes a product made to surprise cross country drivers in the European continent, however in Malaysia it is different story as Malaysian luxury SUV drivers mostly drive in the big cities and they ‘never’ go off road with their all purpose vehicles. Yes, its selling price makes it a status symbol and a presentation of wealth which is an Asian ‘thing’.

Under The Bonnet

Engine-wise, the Levante is equipped with the latest evolution of the Maserati 3-litre V6 engines. The 2 versions of the twin-turbo petrol engine and the economical turbodiesel are globally acclaimed for their unique Maserati signature sound and for their exceptional performance.

The petrol Maserati V6 engine with latest GDI and twin-turbo is available in two versions: the top of the range 430hp and the exciting 350hp. The most powerful Levante makes it to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds and has a top speed of 264km/h, while the figures for the 350hp version are 6.0 seconds and 251km/h respectively.

The Levante is also available with a common-rail, direct injection turbodiesel V6 with reduced dwell time injectors. The 3-litre engine is capable of 275hp and delivers 0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds and a 230km/h maximum speed while keeping the fuel economy as low as 7.2-litres/100 km under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

Both petrol and diesel versions of the Maserati Levante use the 8-speed automatic ZF gearbox that provides seamless comfort and fast gear shifting, depending on the selected drive mode. The Levante driver can choose between four drive modes, “Normal”

The Maserati Levante has entered the SUV segment with a marked advantage in terms of new features. These features include: Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Forward Collision Warning and Brake Assist System, Lane Departure Warning, Surround View camera, capacitive 8.4″ Touch Screen display with brand new rotary control, plus the AHA function, an addition to the Maserati Touch Control Plus which extends the AM, FM and DAB digital radio with a network connection option: the AHA function dialogues with the user’s network-connected mobile device to give access to on-line services (radio stations, programmes, etc.) while on the move.

Exterior Design

The Maserati DNA is clearly visible everywhere you look, ensuring that the Levante stands out among its competitors. The imposing grille is inspired by the sensational Alfieri concept and is destined to be a signature feature of all Maserati cars from now on. The Maserati Levante is immediately recognisable as a Maserati, even from a distance. The muscular shape of the rear haunches gives it a distinctive and attractive Italian style. The rear pillar is refined by the insertion of the characteristic “Saetta” logo, first seen on the iconic Quattroporte in 1963, and seamlessly follows the shape of the side windows.

Driving This Maserati

Like its ‘sister’, the Ghibli, this Levante at ignition is a sports car. The engine fires up with a growl, a real engine growl, not some digital sounding option like in many new sports cars sold today. The driving position is good and the drivers seat is very comfortable. This new version of the Levante has a new infotainment system and it is user friendly and with faster finger gesture reactions.

So, lets take it it out for a drive. From the first throttle response this SUV jumps to attention as we snake our way through Petaling Jaya traffic in the morning. Once we find a ‘hole’ in traffic we punch the throttle and let the Italian designed and built engine ‘sing’ its tune and it’s a glorious soundtrack to have as you built of velocity. It’s a sports car with SUV stance and we did not need to take it into the dirt to see its off-road ability in person. We maintained our drive on the open highway leaving the city traffic behind. Each kilometer driven increased our enjoyment level and by the time we stopped for lunch we were grinning non-stop as the Levante cornered with authority and exited every fast corner with speeds we normally associate with a sports car or sports sedan like the Ghibli. Yes, this Levante is entertaining and fast and yet it carries its passengers in comfort and is able to take its owners into their farm if necessary of when their pickup truck is at the service center. The Maserati Levante is built at the Mirafiori plant in Turin.

Maserati Levante PETROL V6 Specifications

Engine: V6, DOHC Twin Turbo

Capacity: 2979cc

Transmission: 8-speed semi-auto, AWD

Max Power: 430hp @ 5750rpm

Max Torque: 580Nm @ 5000rpm

Acceleration: 5.2 seconds

Max Speed: 264km/h

Price: RM788,000.00

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