A Ferrari V-8 under the hood makes it just that much better

Maserati’s full-size luxury performance SUV was first unveiled as the Kubang concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011. The production model was then officially unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show as the Levante. When it finally broke cover, the details were impressive - the exterior was pure Italian premium goodness, the cabin was opulent and well-appointed, and a sizable dose of adrenaline lay in wait under the hood. Now, there’s even more fun to be had with the release of the go-faster Levante GTS, which promises tons of performance cues both inside and out, as well as Ferrari-style grunt with every stab of the loud pedal.

Revealed at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K., the Levante GTS is offered as the penultimate model in the Levante lineup, slotting in just below the Levante Trofeo. As such, the GTS looks to bring much of the same good stuff, but without the over-the-top approach of the SUV flagship. Read on to find out how it manages a balancing act like that.

Updated 07/13/2018: The Maserati Levante GTS is here! Check out our full written review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Maserati Levante GTS.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS Exterior Styling

  • Aggressive styling components make it stand out
  • Takes inspiration from the Levante Trofeo
  • Black trim instead of chrome
  • Optional Full LED Matrix headlights
  • Optional wheel sizing up to 22 inches
  • Quad exhaust tips in the rear
2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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Many of the GTS’ updates take their inspiration from the top-dog Levante Trofeo, creating an all-together unique appearance.

While the standard Levante certainly looks the part of a refined, powerful, Italian sports machine, the GTS ups the ante with a selection of new body components that help it stand out from the standard model. Many of these updates take their inspiration from the top-dog Levante Trofeo, upgrading certain styling elements to create an all-together unique appearance.

It all starts in front, where we find the the lower fascia was reshaped to offer larger, taller side intakes, as well as a more prominent lower intake. All three incorporate a fine black mesh insert, as opposed to the wider slats used in the standard Levante. The large central intake also gets a slight reshape, but keeps the large vertical slats of the standard model. However, the finish on these is done up in a black color, rather than the chrome seen on the lower trim levels.

Meanwhile, the headlight housings keep the same thin, drawn-back shape as before, but the options list offers them with new Adaptive Full LED Matrix lighting elements. Sitting centrally on the hood is the requisite Trident badge.

Moving to the sides, the GTS makes its presence known with set of new wheel designs. Sizing on these blinged-out rollers range between 20 and 21 inches in diameter, but if that’s not enough rim for you, both the Levante GTS and the Trofeo get an optional, exclusive 22-inch wheel package that comes with an Orione design and forged aluminum construction.

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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Maserati’s characteristic vented fenders add extra sportiness just behind the front wheels.

Maserati’s characteristic vented fenders add extra sportiness just behind the front wheels, while the window trim surrounds replace the standard model’s polished components with black trim.

Moving around to the tail, the Levante GTS is quite close in appearance to the standard Levante model, but there’s still a few bits and pieces to once again help it stand out, starting with a newly reshaped rear bumper, which also happens to take its inspiration from the Trofeo. The quad rounded exhaust tips remain as is, but the center section between them uses a metal-like skid plate design, as opposed to the body-colored body components seen before.

Finally, Maserati is offering the Levante GTS with a selection of 11 different exterior paint options.

Overall, the GTS gets a look that’s more assertive than the standard model, trading roundness and curves for sharp edges and pointed angles. The whole thing gives off a good amount of that GT-inspired aggression Maserati was shooting for.

That said, we were expecting slightly more from the GTS, especially with regards to active aero components. Because after all, we believe downforce starts to become a bit of an issue that can’t be ignored when you’re pushing more than 500 horsepower at more than 180 mph.

Still, we’re happy with the way it looks, and overall we have a hard time faulting the GTS’ aesthetic. On balance, we’re happy to report that we’re quite pleased with how it came out.

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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2019 Maserati Levante GTS exterior dimensions
Overall Length 197.6 inches
Overall Width 77.4 inches
Overall Height 66.8 inches
Wheelbase 118.2 inches

2019 Maserati Levante GTS Interior Design

  • Seats up to five passengers
  • Luxury and opulence
  • Optional Pieno Fiore leather upholstery
  • Aluminum trim bits and carbon fiber panels
  • Carryover three-spoke steering wheel
  • Sport pedals
  • Redesigned shifter
  • 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Harman Kardon 14 -speaker stereo
  • 20.5 cubic feet of cargo room
2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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Highlights include sumptuous leather upholstery, a good deal of carbon fiber trim, aluminum control bits, and a soft-touch headliner.

Unsurprisingly, the cabin space for the Levante GTS is more or less identical to that of the standard Levante model. The look and layout and pretty much the same, and both seat up to five passengers total, with three passengers on the rear bench seat and two passengers up front.

The seats get relatively small side bolsters to keep passengers in place, and for the most part, the sitters seem to prioritize comfort over performance. Granted, these aren’t lounge seats we’re talking about, but they do seem to mix both comfort and support in proportions that favor comfort.

The luxury and opulence theme continues everywhere else in the cabin as well, with high-end touches added from front to back. Highlights include sumptuous leather upholstery, a good deal of carbon fiber trim, aluminum control bits, and a soft-touch headliner. Some of the various color schemes offered help to up the sporting aesthetic as well.

Standard spec includes Full Premium leather upholstery, or, as an available option, you can also get yours with full-grain Pieno Fiore natural leather, a material that Maserati claims to be widely praised for its supple feel.

Go for the Pieno Fiore leather option, and you’ll get the choice three colors, including black, red, and tan. The upgraded hide also comes with special stitching for the seats and a double stitching application for the door panels. Maserati added a trio of high-gloss interior veneers as well, giving buyers even further customization possibilities.

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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Drivers get to grips with the same three-spoke steering wheel, but this time, it comes with additional carbon fiber trim around the perimeter.

Drivers get to grips with the same three-spoke steering wheel as the standard Levante, but this time, it comes with additional carbon fiber trim around the perimeter. The lower third spoke is also a bit longer for the GTS. However, the thumb-length buttons for the various infotainment controls look to be identical, as do the paddle shifters on the sides.

In the footwell, drivers will work a set of sport pedals, which consist of a metal outer structure set with rubber inlays. There’s also a metal and rubber dead pedal on the left, which is a nice touch.

Heading into the 2019 model year, the Levante was updated with a redesigned gear shifter, a component that was also added to the rest of the Levante, Ghibli, and Quattroporte lineups. Maserati says this new shifter improves the driving experience thanks to a “more intuitive shift pattern, shorter travel, and improved operation.” The new shifter also offers an easier transition between automatic and manual shifting modes thanks to the relocation of the shifter mode buttons. Maserati updated the climate control system ergonomics as well.

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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On the infotainment front, the Levante GTS brings along the newly enhanced MTC+ infotainment system.

On the infotainment front, the Levante GTS brings along the newly enhanced MTC+ infotainment system, which comes with new graphics to help you navigate the user interface. Providing the inputs is the same 8.4-inch TFT touchscreen as the standard Levante model, while a digital driver’s information screen is mounted between the gauges in the central cluster behind the steering wheel. Providing the tunes is a Harman Kardon audio system rocking 14 speakers spread around the cabin. Adding a little extra classiness is an analog clock placed top and center on the dash.

Finally, the Levante GTS retains its practical SUV character with upwards of 20.5 cubic feet of cargo room, which is identical to the standard model.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS Drivetrain And Performance

  • Ferrari-derived 3.8-liter V-8
  • 550 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque
  • 3.9 kg per horsepower
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds
  • Top speed of 181 mph
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard AWD
2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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Yep, you read that right - the 2019 Maserati Levante GTS comes equipped with a Ferrari-built V-8 engine!

The main draw for the Levante GTS is under the hood, where Maserati threw in a 3.8-liter V-8. It’s the same powerplant used on the flagship Quattroporte GTS, and it once again brings the classic V90 architecture, plus, most excitingly, construction in Maranello by none other than Ferrari.

Yep, you read that right - the 2019 Maserati Levante GTS comes equipped with a Ferrari-built V-8 engine! That’s a pretty solid selling point, if you ask us.

Updates this time around include a new oil pump, a new crankcase, a new auxiliary belt, and new wiring, not to mention new heads equipped with a fresh set of cams, revamped pistons, new valves, and new connecting rods to boot.

Lay into the loud pedal, and this Italian lump will spit out up to 550 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 730 Nm (538 pound-feet) of torque between 2,500 rpm 5,000 rpm. Numbers like that give the Levante GTS a power-to-weight ratio of 3.9 kg per horsepower.

Properly applied, those 550 ponies will propel the SUV to 62 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Keep your foot pinned to the carpet, and the Levante GTS will top out at a maximum of 292 km/h (181 mph). Those are rather impressive performance numbers, and as you probably expect, the fuel returns are significantly less impressive as a result, with estimates coming to 12 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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The GTS can hit 60 mph in about 4 seconds flat, about a quarter of a second slower than the top-dog Trofeo.

Compared to the range-topping Levante Trofeo, the Levante GTS produces around 40 horsepower less and can achieve a top speed that’s 6 mph below that of the fastest of the fast Maserati SUVs. The GTS is also 0.25 seconds slower in the run up to 60 mph.

Still, for a mid-range performance model, the GTS lays down some rather impressive numbers.

Handling the cog swaps is a standard eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF, which offers both a manual mode and fully automatic shifting mode.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Levante lineup includes a diesel making 275 horsepower, as well as a gas-powered base model that makes 345 horsepower. Then there’s the mid-grade Levante S, which makes 424 horsepower, and of course, the range-topping Trofeo, which makes 590 horsepower.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS Chassis And Handling

  • Standard eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-biased Q4 Intelligent AWD system
  • Standard adaptive air suspension system
  • Variable ride height - up to 3 inches
  • 15.0-inch brake rotors up front
  • Curb weight of 4,784 pounds
2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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While stuffing an SUV full of power is a relatively simple thing to accomplish, making the most of it in the corners is another matter entirely.

While stuffing an SUV full of power is a relatively simple thing to accomplish, making the most of it in the corners is another matter entirely. To that end, the Maserati Levante GTS comes with a host of tricks to make it handle less like a burdensome utility vehicle, and more like a sports car.

First off, let’s talk about how the Levante GTS puts all those Ferrari-bred ponies to the ground. For starters, the eight-speed automatic transmission connects with a standard Q4 Intelligent AWD system. The AWD uses a rear-biased torque split, which helps it handle more enthusiastically when powering off a corner, but if there is a loss in traction, the system can also utilize a 50/50 torque split front-to-rear at a moment’s notice.

Complementing the AWD is a standard limited-slip differential, as well as a standard torque vectoring feature.

So then, it can make loads of traction - but what about when it comes time to attack a few apexes? How does it handle something like that? Maserati explains -

“The rigid and perfectly balanced Levante chassis has been tuned to effortlessly handle the immense power of the GTS, providing a driving experience true to the ‘Gran Turismo’ pedigree of this new V8 Maserati of SUVs,” the brand states in a press release.

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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To help it achieve these characteristics, the Levante GTS comes equipped with a full air suspension system, headlined by a set of adaptive dampers from Maserati’s Sport Skyhook series. In addition to modifying internal settings to better suit the driving conditions at hand, the dampers also offer six different settings for the ride height, with as much as 3 inches separating the lowest and highest positions.

The Maserati Levante GTS also comes with standard Integrated Vehicle Control, or IVC, which is the same system found on Maserati’s sedan models, the Quattroporte and Ghibli. According to Maserati, IVC manages to prevent vehicle instability, while also improving safety, and creating a more engaging driving experience.

Throwing the anchor is a set of six-pot monoblock calipers up front, which clamp down on plus-sized 15.0-inch rotors. Meanwhile, the rear gets 13.0-inch rotors.

All told, the Maserati Levante GTS has a variety of features to give it that sought-after sports car feel on the road, but it’s still very heavy, no matter how you slice it. In fact, it’s rumored the V-8 alone adds more than 100 pounds to the curb weight. The final total comes to a ground-pounding 4,784 pounds, and even with the best suspension pieces in the world to manage the heft, that’s a number that’s sure to be felt when slinging through the bends.

Of course, it also bears mentioning that the Levante GTS’ competitors are in the same boat. Check them out in the “Competition” section.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS Prices

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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Maserati’s order books are open now, with deliveries for the 2019 Levante GTS expected to commence in October of 2018.

Pricing for the penultimate Maserati SUV starts at $119,980. That’s certainly not chump change, but it’s still a whopping $50,000 less than the Trofeo, which starts at $169,980.

Meanwhile, the standard Maserati Levante starts at $75,980, while the Levante S starts at $86,980.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS Competition

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

The 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo: An SUV with Attitude and Sports Car Performance High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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When it comes to fast SUVs, Porsche has one of the finest. In fact, the Cayenne is partly responsible for launching this whole performance SUV craze, and as such, it brings loads of good stuff to the table. Porsche offers several variants for the nameplate, including a hybrid, but the Turbo is the one to get if maximum speed is what you’re after. Mounted up front in this beast is a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, which pumps out as much as 541 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. Routed to the ground via an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission and performance AWD system, the Cayenne Turbo can rip to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, as well as achieve a top speed of 177 mph. Pricing starts at $124,600.

Read our full review of the 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Mercedes-AMG GLS 63

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class High Resolution Exterior
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If you’re loving the Maserati Levante GTS for its impressive power and elegant cabin, but crave another row for extra passengers, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 might fit the bill. Equipped with a turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8, the GLS 63 produces as much as 577 horsepower, which hits the pavement by way of a seven-speed automatic transmission and advanced AWD system. Onboard technology is all rather cutting edge, and there are loads of options to make yours even more impressive. The run to 60 mph takes 4.5 seconds, which ain’t bad for a high-end luxury seven-seater SUV. Pricing starts at $125,300.

Read our full review of the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63.

Final Thoughts

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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Not only does the GTS offer the same stylish good looks as the Trofeo, but it keeps the range-topper’s highly impressive Ferrari-bred V-8 to boot.

As popularity in the performance SUV segment continues to grow unabated, the Maserati’s penultimate Levante seems to fit the bill quite nicely. Not only does it offer the same stylish good looks as the Trofeo, but it keeps the range-topper’s highly impressive Ferrari-bred V-8 to boot.

Indeed, while many buyers will inevitably opt for the best that Maserati has to offer, the GTS seems to be the better buy. It might be a bit less powerful and not quite as quick as the Trofeo, but its still no slouch by any measure. We’re also enjoying the interior spec, and to be honest, the extra $50,000 required to get into the Trofeo seems like a pretty big ask.

Even so, when it’s all said and done, the Levante (no matter the model variant) is the sort of SUV that you would buy for the emotional response it provides. Sure, there are other options out there that can provide more performance, or more practicality, or more comfort, all for the same money, but none of them come with the same thrilling styling or Prancing Horse soundtrack as the Levante.

  • Leave it
    • Still rather expensive
    • Faster options out there
    • More practical options out there

Spy Shots

February 12, 2018 – Maserati Levante GTS spied testing in cold European weather

The weather up here in the Northern Hemisphere is still quite chilly, and that means automakers are busy testing out the snow-worthiness of their various upcoming models. Such is the case with the forthcoming Maserati Levante GTS, which was recently spied putting its AWD system to good use in Europe.

Although the test is mule is still covered in camo, we can make out larger intakes in the front bumper, which should do well to keep the V-8 under the hood nice and cool. We’re also expecting vents in the hood, while the stance will be lowered over a larger wheel and tire package. The braking package should also see an upgrade, while larger exhaust tips in the rear will be a nod to the car’s impressive performance potential.

October 6, 2017 - Maserati Levante GTS caught testing in the sunny and hot parts of Europe

2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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2018 Maserati Levante GTS
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Maserati Levante Trofeo grabs Porsche Cayenne Turbo by the throat with V-8 engine Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Maserati Levante Trofeo.

2016 Maserati Levante High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Maserati Levante.

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Jonathan Lopez
Jonathan Lopez
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