Revealed at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Maserati Levante GTS showed that Maser knows a thing or two about making really fast luxurious cars. SUVs or not. It does not matter to them. The new car features a Ferrari-built 3.8-liter, turbocharged, V-8 with 542 horsepower, can accelerate to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds, and it can hit a top speed of 181 mph. It is the supercar of SUVs. Or as Maserati would put it, the new Levante GTS is the Maserati of SUVs. I like this one better.

While this sounds really impressive, this is not the first time that Maserati smashed a Ferrari V-8 into the Levante. Only a few months ago, the Italian company revealed the Maserati Levante Trofeo with the same V-8 only tuned up to 590 horsepower. That one is a tad faster, a tad meaner, and $50,000 more expensive. Why in hell is the Levante Trofeo so much more expensive than the Levante GTS that is priced at $120,000?

What Does The Trofeo Actually Mean?

Is There Any Meaningful Difference Between The Maserati Levante GTS And The Maserati Levante Trofeo? Exterior
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The Trofeo name on a Maserati has a clear racing heritage and, as part of Maserati sports car ethos, it was reserved only for the most extreme versions of their production cars

The Trofeo Maserati was a one-make racing series which started all the way back in 2003 with the first Maserati racing car called the Trofeo. It was actually a racing version of the Maserati 4200. The Trofeo Maserati racing series focused on offering customers racing opportunities with Maserati-built race cars. With the end of the production of the Maserati 4200, the Italians introduced special GranTurismo MC Trofeo cars. Unfortunately, Maserati discontinued the racing series in 2015, later entering the GT4 competition. Obviously, the Trofeo name on a Maserati has a clear racing heritage and, as part of Maserati sports car ethos, it was reserved only for the most extreme versions of their production cars.

Have no doubt though, the Maserati Levante Trofeo is not a racing car, and it will not have a racing series to compete in. This SUV, in fact, built on the rich Maserati racing heritage in order to project new values for drivers and prove to us that it means business.

What’s All The Fuss About The Maserati Levante Trofeo?

Is There Any Meaningful Difference Between The Maserati Levante GTS And The Maserati Levante Trofeo? Exterior
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Compared with the GTS, the Levante Trofeo comes with almost 600 horsepower on tap.

The Maserati Levante Trofeo is a $170,000 SUV. That is expensive in anyone’s book. Yet, Maserati did try to justify the price with a lot of elements usually associated with supercars. Sporting a 3.9-liter, Ferrari-developed and built, V-8 engine, the Trofeo became one of the fastest Maseratis ever. Bear in mind, Maserati did not have an SUV at all before the Levante. Maserati built its empire developing sports cars and luxury limousines. This only goes to show how excitingly mind-boggling the Levante Trofeo truly is. It is a car to be reckoned with for the likes of the fastest Cayenne Turbo S, or anything Mercedes-AMG and BMW Motorsport can throw out.

Compared with the GTS, the Levante Trofeo comes with almost 600 horsepower on tap. Press the gas pedal hard enough, and the SUV will surge with the urgency of a Ferrari F430 Scuderia. Cracking 60 mph in 3.7 seconds is exactly half a second less than what the Levante GTS can do. At the far end, it will dwarf the GTS once again with a top speed of above 186 mph. Heck, it is an SUV that would put almost every single thing from the Nineties and many of those from the 2000s to shame. We live in a truly amazing time.

Despite these freakish speeds, I still have a question.

$50,000 more... Really?

The Differences Between The Levante Trofeo And The Levante GTS

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The Levante GTS, although sporting 50-ish horsepower less, gained the same setup for the V-8

Nowadays, the name Trofeo definitely stands for something cool and heritage rich. I can see some people putting a price on that. That is how you build a brand after all. Yet, to uphold high standards, Maserati had to shape the Levante on different terms compared with any other Maserati that came before it. First of, that Ferrari-built engine was rearranged - in a manner of speaking - to accommodate the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. Maserati installed a new crankcase, a new wiring assembly, and even a new oil pump as the AWD system required a bit more space and a slightly different setup compared to what one would need in a RWD Ferrari car, or in the Quattroporte for that matter. The Levante GTS, although sporting 50-ish horsepower less, gained the same setup for the V-8. It, too, has the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system and an eight-speed ZF gearbox. I will go out on a limb here and say that the transmission on the Trofeo is probably sharper with, possibly, slightly shorter gearing. After all, 50 horsepower isn’t exactly enough to gain half a second from 0-60 mph for a car the size of the Levante.

Apart from making it the fastest Levante ever, Maserati introduced some special styling changes as well. These include a lot of carbon-fiber as the lower splitter, parts of the front air intakes, the side skirt details, and the rear extractor are made of it. Honestly, I doubt Maserati could do anything meaningful weight-saving wise, but this is a nice racing touch for the most potent Levante. Designers reimagined the bonnet giving it heat extractors and then sprinkled the cylinder heads and intake manifolds with red paint for good measure.

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The interior is a familiar place, only decorated with certain unique touches

None of these things are on the Levante GTS. The interior is a familiar place, only decorated with certain unique touches including Trofeo-badged floor mats, a special clock on the dash, and some sort of special Pieno Fiore leather that apparently no one in the industry uses. Carbon fiber was the material of choice for certain trim decorations as well. This resulted in that precious ambient of action and sophistication.

Interestingly enough, looking at the GTS and the Trofeo interiors side by side, one cannot actually see many differences. Nevertheless, the driver will probably feel them when switching through the modes, especially after stumbling upon a mode called the Corsa. Once this mode is selected, it will sharpen up the engine response, probably release additional growl of the V-8, hunker down the Levante a bit, and make those 22-inch wheels and tires squeal for their life through the bends. Having a Corsa mode obviously means that the Levante Trofeo will behave on the track.

Not that the Levante GTS won’t, mind you. However, with velour floor mats, soft full Premium leather upholstery as standard (Pieno Fiore is optional), and a Harman Kardon Audio system, it does reflect a slightly plusher ambient compared to the dark, hardcore nature of the Trofeo.

The Trofeo And The GTS Are Really Similar But Aimed At Different Types Of Buyers

Is There Any Meaningful Difference Between The Maserati Levante GTS And The Maserati Levante Trofeo?
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The Levante GTS is still an epic ride, and considering its price is $50k lower ($120,000) than the price of the Levante Trofeo, it is the one you should pick.

Obviously, all the differences I have pointed out just now seem almost superficial. The Levante GTS is still an epic ride, and considering its price is $50k lower ($120,000) than the price of the Levante Trofeo, it is the one you should pick.

If I were to speculate, I would say that Maserati released the Trofeo only to be in the similar price ballpark with the Urus or the Bentayga (both of which are actually more expensive). Range Rover tends to do similar things with its extreme versions of its SVAutobiography models. In short, Maserati is trying to snatch a few super wealthy buyers for that segment. On the other hand, the almost equally capable, and definitely equally luxurious Levante GTS dwells among the likes of the Range Rover Sport SVR, the Cayenne Turbo S, or the higher end versions of the Audi Q8.

Conclusion

Is There Any Meaningful Difference Between The Maserati Levante GTS And The Maserati Levante Trofeo? Exterior
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The Trofeo and the GTS are the flagships of the Levante lineup

The Maserati Levante Trofeo is a limited series SUV destined for only a handful of proper Maserati enthusiasts in the U.S. and Canada. On the other hand, the Levante GTS is a mass produced (well, we’ll see) upscale version of the Levante, which, by my train of thought, should have come first. When I write first, I mean before all the V-6 and diesel Levante nonsense. Ok, sorry, they are cool too, but this is Maserati we are talking about here - a company capable of making a Ferrari Enzo slower and selling it for more money (MC12, I am looking at you.) It’s mad, I tell you.
To prove Maserati’s madness to you, get this. The Levante GTS has a better power-to-weight ratio than a Porsche 911 Carrera. Man, they really should have released this one first and mentioned all the others in a PR footnote.

All in all, the Trofeo and the GTS are the flagships of the Levante lineup. Actually, I will go a bit further. With a decade old GranTurismo, not very likable Ghibli, and bigger than ever Quattroporte, the Trofeo and the GTS are the flagships of the whole brand. They are both SUVs which goes to show that if you want the best that Maserati can make, you have to buy an SUV. This is the reality.

Further reading

Is There Any Meaningful Difference Between The Maserati Levante GTS And The Maserati Levante Trofeo?
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Read our full review on the 2019 Maserati Levante GTS.

Is There Any Meaningful Difference Between The Maserati Levante GTS And The Maserati Levante Trofeo? 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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Read more Maserati news.

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