• 2016 Maserati Levante

The Italian Trident goes big

LISTEN 20:39

We saw Maserati’s Kubang Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, and just a short time later, Maserati confirmed that a production version would eventually grace showrooms. It may have taken five years, but Maserati finally pulled the sheet off of the Maserati Levante and marked its entrance to the flourishing SUV market at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. On the outside, Maserati’s new SUV/Crossover is brilliantly stunning and puts the BMW X6, for example, to shame in terms of styling. Inside, there is no mistaking the Levante as a Maserati, since the brand took styling cues from its sedan lineup. Leather upholstery is standard, with a high-grade leather used on upper trim levels, there are 12-way adjustable seats up front, and an 8.4-inch display in the dash. Under the hood, there is a total of three engine packages available ranging from 275 horsepower up to a decent 430.

The whole purpose of the Levante, aside from entering the SUV/Crossover market, is to boost sales up to 50,000 units a year globally. That’s a pretty tall order for a vehicle that some fear strays a little too far away from the brand’s roots. With models like the BMW X6 and the Porsche Cayenne as main competitors, the Levante has some work to do. So, now we’re left with this questions: Is the Levante worthy of its trident badge, and can’t it really stand up against its German Rivals?

The truth is that we don’t know yet, but check out our review below to find out for yourself.

Updated 03/31/2016: Maserati dropped a series of new video for its new Levante SUV. Hit "play" to watch them!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Maserati Levante.

Exterior

2016 Maserati Levante High Resolution Exterior
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Shortly after issuing a shadowy teaser image of the Levante’s front end, Maserati released four official images ahead of an official debut in Geneva. Overall, our initial rendering was pretty close. As expected, the Levante pulls styling cues from the Ghibli (which provides the SUV’s platform), as well as the original 2011 Kubang concept. Of course, the design patents that hit the Interwebz earlier in 2015 didn’t hurt our predictions, either.

All in all, the Levante is a muscular crossover that makes the BMW X6 look downright ugly by comparison.

All in all, the Levante is a muscular crossover that makes the BMW X6 look downright ugly by comparison.

Designed in Turin, you’ll find a swath of traditional Maserati styling elements. Up front is the Trident’s trademark face, including a grille inspired by the Alfieri concept, and a pair of air intakes in the lower fascia connected by a slim cutout just below the grille. The “feline-shaped” Bi-Xenon headlights come with optional LEDs for the daytime running lights, and LEDs are also available for the turn signals and twin fog lights. The fog lights sit below the headlights, and are neatly cut and shaped, leading the eye toward the front fenders. Creases in the hood give it an aggressive look.

In profile, the first thing you’ll notice is the trio of side air vents just above and behind the front wheel wells. There’s a trapezoidal C-pillar, and the roofline is gently sloped for a more coupe-like appearance. There are frameless doors, and a variety of choices for wheel designs. Standard equipment includes 18-inchers, while 19-inchers are standard for the range-topping model. All are made from a lightweight alloy, and additional 19-inch, 20-inch, and 21-inch designs are available.

The rear fenders bulge out, increasing the visual weight of the rear end. We were a little off the mark when it came to the tail, but not by much. The LED taillights wrap into the flanks, and a trailing roof spoiler juts out from the rear window. The lines are all quite rounded, and quad exhaust tips bookend an underbody skid plate.

Tested in a wind tunnel in Turin, the Levante’s slippery shape is aided by an active Air Shutter

Needless to say, Maserati certainly did a good job developing the Levante’s exterior, especially when you look back at the original spy shots. Not only does it look good, the automaker also claims best-in-class aerodynamic efficiency with a drag coefficient of 0.31. Tested in a wind tunnel in Turin, the Levante’s slippery shape is aided by an active Air Shutter in the front grille – a first for Maserati.

When it comes to colors, options abound. The roof rails and skid plates are offered in either silver and gloss black, while the body panels get 13 different hues. These include two solid colors (Nero and Bianco), three metallic colors (Grigio Metallo, Grigio, and the new Verde Ossido), two “metallescent” colors (Grigio Maratea and Champagne), five mica colors (Nero Ribelle, Blu Passione, Blu Emozione, and the new Rosso Rubino and Rame), and one pearlescent color (Bianco Alpi).

Exterior Dimensions

Length 5,003 MM (196.96 Inches)
Width 1,968 MM (77.48 Inches)
Height 1,679 MM (66.10 Inches)
Wheelbase 3,004 MM (118.26 Inches)
Front Track 1,624 MM (63.93 Inches)
Rear Track 1,676 MM (65.98 Inches)

Interior

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Maserati took cues from its sedan lineup when crafting the Levante’s cabin, and the similarities are obvious. The layout and look are practically identical, excluding the enlarged dimensions, of course.

Controls include buttons for the various drive modes, a new rotary knob, and a switch for the air suspension. An analog clock is mounted high on the dash, with wood, carbon fiber, and aluminum making the list of trim materials. The roof is lined in Alcantara, as are the upper pillars, ceiling light surround, and front sun visors.

As you might expect, leather upholstery is standard

As you might expect, leather upholstery is standard, with even higher-grade skin used on the top-range model. Go for for the Full Leather Package, and the door panels and dash get the material as well. Contrast stitching for the seats and headrests is available.

Front passengers enjoy solid lateral support bolsters in the seats. Drivers get electric six-way adjustability, while passengers get four-way manual adjustment, although electric six-way adjustability for the passenger is available. Electric memory functions are also optional.

Anyone looking to cruise is encouraged to look into the 12-way electrically adjustable Comfort Seat. Alternatively, Maserati also offers a 12-way electrically adjustable Sport Seat for even more support when throwing it through the corners. Heating and ventilation are available up front, while heating is also available in the rear.

Running it all is an 8.4-inch touchscreen display.

Infotainment includes app support, HomeLink, and AHA functionality. Running it all is an 8.4-inch touchscreen display. Auxiliary, USB, and SD card inputs are standard, as is a 7-inch diver’s display mounted in the gauge cluster.

Making music is a standard Base 8-speaker stereo. Options include a 14-speaker unit from Harman Kardon, or a top-range Bowers & Wilkins Surround System with 17 speakers.

Dual-zone climate control is standard, including a sensor that monitors exterior air quality and a sensor for interior humidity levels. Four-zone climate control with rear control is available.

Practicality comes in the form of nearly 20.5 cu-ft of rear cargo room, enhanced by a 40/60 rear split bench. There’s a standard power tailgate, controllable via rear-mounted buttons, the key fob, or a button on the dome light. Maserati also offers several accessories for your lifestyle activity of choice (snowboarding, biking, surfing, etc.).

There are 28 total interior color combinations available at launch, including optional two-tone leather.

Drivetrain

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There are three engine packages available for the Levante, all of which are 3.0-liter six-cylinders. This includes two twin-turbo gas units (created in Maranello by Ferrari), and a single turbo diesel (the diesel won’t come stateside). Let’s look at the fastest first.

Available on the Levante S model, the range-topper offers 430 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 428 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. A sprint from rest to 62 mph takes 5.2 seconds, while top speed is 164 mph. Fuel consumption is rated at 10.9 liters/100 km.

Next up is the non-S Levante, which is equipped with 350 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 369 pound-feet of torque 4,500 rpm. A run to 62 mph takes 6.0 seconds, while top speed looks like 156 mph. Fuel consumption is 10.7 liters/100 km.

“Sport” mode drops the ride height, stiffens the suspension, sharpens the throttle, and opens up the exhaust bypass for better loud noises.

Finally, there’s the more economical Levante Diesel, which comes with 275 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 443 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. Acceleration is 6.9 seconds to 62 mph, with a top speed of 143 mph, but fuel consumption drops considerably to 7.2 liters/100 km.

Each engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox from ZF. There are multiple modes to fit just about any driving situation, each offering unique settings for the engine, transmission, suspension, and electronics.

First up is “Sport,” which drops the ride height, stiffens the suspension, sharpens the throttle, and opens up the exhaust bypass for better loud noises. Next is “Off-Road,” which raises ride height to an impressive 10.8 inches. Then there’s “I.C.E.,” which stands for Increased Control & Efficiency, and was designed for low-grip conditions, higher fuel economy, and comfortable cruising thanks to gentler gear changes, floaty suspension, softer throttle response, and no overboost.

One final note on the drivetrain – Maserati is offering an optional tow bar if you’ve got some hauling to do, and the Levante is capable of towing nearly 6,000 pounds.

Chassis And Handling

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The Levante is based on the same platform as Maserati’s sedans, which should help back claims to best in-class on-road handling and best in-class handling on snow and ice, not to mention high levels of practicality and comfort. Of course, there’s also the off-road capability Maserati is talking about.

Curb weight is rated at 4,650 pounds for gas variants and 4,861 for the diesel. This weight is distributed in a perfect 50-50 ratio front to back, and materials like aluminum and magnesium are used to cut mass where possible.

Keeping the shiny side up is the standard electronically controlled air suspension

Keeping the shiny side up is the standard electronically controlled air suspension, which uses geometry pulled from the Ghibli. There are Air Springs and Skyhook shock absorbers, with a double wishbone in the front, and a five-link setup out back. The steering is hydraulic, and uses speed-sensitive power assistance.

Making grip is a mechanical limited-slip differential in back, plus the rear-biased Q4 AWD system. The Q4 system is electronically controlled and uses a multi-plate wet clutch. Sensors monitoring data like wheel speed, steering and yaw angle, engine output, road speed, braking, and driving style feed the system for variable torque splits that can change in as little as 150 milliseconds.

The Levante S gets large, six-piston calipers from Brembo, plus 15-inch drilled discs. In back are 13-inch discs. The non-S Levante and Levante Diesel both get two-piston calipers and 13.6-inch rotors up front, as well as 13-inch discs in back.

Tire sizes vary between the models, with the S getting 265/50 ZR19 rubber in front and wider 295/45 ZR19 tires in back. The other two models have 255/60 ZR18 tires all around. All wheel sizes also come with the option for all-season tires if desired, excluding the large-and-in-charge 21-inchers.

Drivetrain Specifications

Levante 350 hp Levante S 430 hp Levante Diesel 275 hp
Engine Layout Petrol 600 V6, twin-turbo - direct injection (GDI) Petrol 600 V6, twin-turbo - direct injection (GDI) Turbodiesel 600 V6 common rail
Displacement (cc) 2,979 2,979 2,987
Max. Power 350 HP @ 5,750 RPM 430 HP @ 5,750 RPM 275 HP @ 4,000 RPM
Max. Torque 368 LB-FT @ 4,500-5,000 RPM 427 LB-FT @ 4,500-5,000 RPM 442 LB-FT @ 2,000-2,600 RPM
0-100 km/h (sec) 6.0 5.2 6.9
Top speed (km/h) 251 (156 mph) 264 (164 mph) 230 (143 mph)
Gearbox 8-speed automatic ZF AT8 - HP70 8-speed automatic ZF AT8 - HP70 8-speed automatic ZF AT8 - HP70

Safety And Convenience

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High-tech features include adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, forward collision warning, adaptive high beam headlights, brake pressure assist, lane departure warning, a surround view camera, hill descent assist, automatic windshield wipers, a blind-spot monitor, and parking assist. On the more low-tech front, the Levante is also equipped with six airbags.

Prices

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On the U.S. market the new Maserati Levante will be offered in two trim levels: Levante, priced at $72,000 and Levante S priced at $83,000.

There are currently three packages announced for customization. Features of each are listed below:

Sport Pack – black gloss finish for the front grille and skid plates, body-colored rear spoiler, steel door sills, 12-way electrically adjustable sport seats, electrically adjustable sport steering wheel, body colored lower body panels, 20-inch wheels, red brake calipers, gearshift paddles, brushed steel sport pedals.

Luxury Pack – chrome front grille, steel door and trunk sills, Premium Leather or Zegna Edition interior, body colored lower body panels, 19-inch wheels, black brake calipers, Harman Kardon stereo, wood interior trim, 12-way electrically adjustable Comfort Seats, power rear side sun-blinds.

Zegna Edition Pack – premium leather upholstery, plus silk from fashion designer Ermenegildo Zegna (fashion designer). Also includes the Full Leather option.

Competition

Porsche Cayenne

2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S High Resolution Exterior
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The Levante might be the first SUV hailing from the Trident-badged company, but it will enter a market that is stuffed to the gills with performance family haulers. The Porsche Cayenne is one of them. Currently in its second generation, the German SUV has already received its mid-cycle facelift, consisting of a more aggressive exterior, an updated interior, and an array of upgraded and new powerplants.

The Cayenne is available with both gasoline and diesel engines in the U.S., as well as a hybrid drivetrain. The gasoline range begins with a 300-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 and continues with the 420-horsepower S model and the Turbo, which features a 4.8-liter V-8 rated at 520 horses. The range-topping Turbo S, set to arrive for the 2016 model year, will crank out 570 horsepower. At 240 horsepower provided by a 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel, the Cayenne Diesel is the slowest of the pack. Lastly, the S E-Hybrid comes with 416 horses on tap thanks to its supercharged V-6 unit and electric motor.

U.S. pricing starts from $53,300 for the base model and goes up to $157,300 for the top-of-the-league Cayenne Turbo S variant.

Read more about Porsche’s largest SUV in our detailed review here. More info on the Turbo S here.

BMW X6

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Maserati once said the Levante will be a blend between the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne, so it will likely have both models in its crosshair. The X6 has just entered its second generation as a lighter and generally improved version of its predecessor. Both sleeker and more aggressive on the outside, the X6 also received an updated interior and upgraded powerplants.

A 3.0-liter inline-six with 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet motivates the base version, while the 4.4-liter V-8 pumps out 445 horses and 480 pound-feet in the xDrive50i model. Unfortunately, BMW has yet to launch a diesel-powered crossover in the U.S. Those interested in performance rather than fuel economy can purchase the X6 M, which hides a monstrous, 567-horsepower, 553-pound-feet V-8 under the hood. Zero to 60 mph comes in just four seconds, making it faster than every 2015 M model except the M3 and M4 with the auto transmission. Beat that Maserati!

Pricing for the X6 starts from $59,600 and climbs to at least $102,100 with the M badge.

Read more about the standard X6 here and the astoundingly fast X6 M here.

Conclusion

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When Maserati revived the Ghibli as a four-door sedan in 2013, I felt like the Italians had thrown away their heritage. Turning what was a gorgeous grand tourer that used to compete with the Lamborghini Miura and Ferrari "Daytona" into a rival for the BMW 5 Series made no sense to me.

I feel the same toward the Levante, but much like the Ghibli, this SUV makes a lot of financial sense. I might not like it, but it’s probably Maserati’s best chance to survive and still be able to build sports cars such as the GranTurismo.

  • Leave it
    • Joins an already crowded market
    • Can it really compete against the more powerful competition?
    • Will it really ever go off-roading?

Updated History

Updated 03/25/2016: The new Maserati Levante made its U.S. debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show. The company announced it will start taking orders for its first SUV in April and customers will be able to choose between two versions: Levante, priced at $72,000 and Levante S priced at $83,000.

Updated 03/04/2016: We added a series of new images taken during the car’s official presentation at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Click the "Pictures" tab to check them out!

Updated 03/01/2016: The Levante has officially debuted at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show! Continue reading for all the details.

Updated 02/19/2016: Maserati dropped the first official images of its upcoming Levante SUV ahead of its official debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Continue reading to check it out!

Updated 01/25/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Levante out for a new testing session and this time they were also able to take some shots of the interior.

Updated 10/21/2015: Our spy photographers caught the future Maserati Levante testing at the Nurburgring with almost all its heavy camouflage removed! The new Levante will be unveiled in March 2016 at the Geneva Motor Show.

Updated 09/21/2015: Maserati CEO Harald Wester confirmed that the company’s first SUV - the Levante - will be making its official debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. What’s even more interesting is that the SUV will be offered with a hybrid drivetrain - which will also be offered in cars like Quattroporte or Ghibli starting 2018. (CarAndDriver)

Updated 06/02/2015: Based on the recent details and speculations we created a rendering for the upcoming Maserati Levante. Check it below.

Teaser Image

2016 Maserati Levante
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Spy Shots

January 25, 2016 - Maserati levante reveals its interior

2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Maserati Levante Interior Spyshots
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October 21, 2015 - Maserati Levante testing at Nurburgring

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2016 Maserati Levante
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2016 Maserati Levante
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January 16, 2014 - Maserati Levante testing on snow

2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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November 12, 2014 - Maserati Levante Mule testing in Germany

2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Maserati Levante Exterior Spyshots
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Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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