We’ve seen prototypes of the new Maserati Levante out and about for some road testing in Germany and cold-weather testing in Sweden, but so far, the camo applied to its exterior has done an exquisite job of hiding the new SUV’s true lines. Now, however, we get a black-and-white peek at Maserati’s upcoming crossover, thanks to a leaked set of design patent images the marque filed in Australia early last month.

Visually, the design stays true to the original styling first previewed in 2011 with the Kubang concept. That particular SUV, which broke cover at the Frankfurt Motor Show, was a fresh take on the first Kubang concept that Maserati served up way back in 2003. 

Reports indicate the Levante will come with four engine options. For the U.S. market, Maserati could offer a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 producing 410 horsepower, and a top-range twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 producing 530 horsepower. Meanwhile, the Europeans might enjoy a diesel engine and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Routing the power will be a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The Modena-based Maserati Product Development Department is responsible for developing the performance settings on the suspension, brakes and steering. Grip will come via Maserati’s new high-performance AWD system.

Production is slated to begin in March, 2016, with an expected annual sales target of 37,000 units by 2018. 

Continue reading to learn more about the Maserati Levante.

Why it matters

With the Levante expected to make its official worldwide debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January of next year, we finally get our first glimpse at what a production version should look like. Believed to be built off the Quattroporte and Ghibli platform, influences from these two vehicles can be seen in the exterior design.

The Levante will place Maserati on a growing list of high-end sports-car makers currently working on SUV/crossovers to complement their existing lines of performance vehicles.

 

Starting in the front, the fascia is very much in line with Maserati’s current design language. The headlights are slanted downward aggressively, bracketing a large central air intake that sits above a pair of smaller side intakes connected in an unbroken line across the bottom of the bumper. The hood line is long and sloped, with muscular creases across the top.

The profile is equally reminiscent of Maserati’s sedans. Trios of stylized vents adorn the front fenders, leading back to a creased shoulder line and lower skirt line. These feed into a rounded and tall rear fender line, which accentuates the rear axle with a raked appearance, adding girth and visual mass to the tail. 

The roofline is obviously extended to meet the large rear hatch, terminating in a small duckbill spoiler. Below this, we see the taillight design has been carried over from the sedans, with each light cut in two by the hatch door. Further horizontal creases give the rear a bit more visual width, while a quad, rounded exhaust sticks out from the bumper with two tips per corner. 

The Levante will place Maserati on a growing list of high-end sports-car makers currently working on SUV/crossovers to complement their existing lines of performance vehicles. Lamborghini, for example, is currently developing the Urus, while Aston Martin will build the DBX. 

The reason? Chalk up all this sporty tall-stance insanity to the unrivaled success of the Porsche Cayenne, which quickly became one of Stuttgart’s all-time bestsellers after it was brought to market in 2003, plus the seemingly insatiable appetite for such body styles in the U.S. and China.

2016 Maserati Levante

2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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The Levante draws its name from Via Emilia Levante in the Italian city of Bologna, where the Maserati brothers created their company in 1914. With such a clear allusion to the sports-car manufacturer’s original roots, you can bet this crossover will come packed with the firepower necessary to compete with rivals like the Cayenne and BMW X6 M. In addition to influences from Maserati’s four-doors, the Levante is expected to borrow its electronic architecture from Jeep and Chrysler. Rumors said it would be built at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, but due to high demand for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it is now believed that production will take place in Italy.

Read our speculative review here.

Source: Autoguide

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