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Alongside the inescapable rise of the game utility automobile, a complementary rise of high-performance luxurious SUVs has occurred. From the Porsche Cayenne to the Lamborghini Urus, all the large efficiency gamers are moving into the sport, and I reckon the 2019 Maserati Levante is about as shut as we have gotten to a Ferrari SUV… at the very least, for now.

Ferrari-built V6

The prancing pony DNA manifests as a three.Zero-liter, twin-turbo, Ferrari-sourced V6 that lives within the Levante’s engine bay. You too can discover this Ferrari-built engine powering Maserati’s Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans — so far as I can inform, the V6 is solely utilized by Maserati. The bottom Levante will get 345 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque from this powerplant. Stepping as much as this Levante S trim additionally steps the output as much as 424 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. 

Prime trim GTS and Trofeo fashions substitute the F160 for a twin-turbo V8 good for 550 horsepower and 590 horsepower, respectively, however that is a narrative for an additional day.

The Levante’s Ferrari-built V6 is obtainable in 325 horsepower and 424 horsepower variants.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Standing between the V6 and the contact patches are an eight-speed automated transmission and Maserati’s This fall all-wheel-drive system. The AWD setup encompasses a rear-biased torque cut up with a rear limited-slip differential for a sporty really feel, additional enhanced by the Levante’s suspension. Digital damping management and a five-level top adjustable air suspension permit the motive force to tailor the handing from firm-yet-comfortable to really-firm-and-dynamic.

After all, my favourite a part of the Levante’s powertrain is the exhaust, which seems like a finely tuned maelstrom. The Maser seems like a correct unique in its sportiest setting, with a satisfying howl and pops and burbles punctuating every shift. The Levante could be so loud, and so aggressive with it downshifts in sport mode, that it might get a bit obnoxious when you attempt to drive it on this mode round city. Fortuitously, there are extra sedate consolation settings that quiet issues down and make the SUV a lot simpler to dwell with.

Zero-to-60 mile-per-hour sprints are tackled in 5 seconds — spectacular for an SUV, however not precisely supercar fast — with acceleration that’s linear, secure and principally drama-free, until you rely the extraordinarily dramatic sound emanating from the exhaust suggestions and engine bay. Dealing with is surprisingly nimble for an SUV. In its sport mode, the Levante’s suspension hunkers down and corporations up its dampers for very flat, agile cornering with gobs of grip offered by its 265-millimeter-wide Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires and 21-inch wheels.

Trendy design

The Levante wears Maserati’s design hallmarks effectively, wrapping attractive Italian styling across the extra upright proportions of an SUV. From the trident grille to the fender vents and sculpted shoulders, the Levante definitely seems like a member of the household that birthed the Quattroporte and GranTurismo. 

The cabin is luxuriously appointed with high-quality trim and fabric, however a educated eye will spot all kinds of Fiat-Chrysler elements bin bits peeking by means of. From the switchgear to the instrument cluster to all the infotainment stack, Maserati selected to not reinvent the wheel with the Levante’s cabin. Truthfully, I haven’t got an issue with this — the Levante’s cockpit nonetheless feels luxurious, particularly with elective packages upgrading the appear and feel of the leather-based trim.

Our instance featured the GranSport look improve together with bigger 21-inch wheels and vivid yellow brake calipers.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

There are a couple of bespoke bits scattered across the Levante’s cabin that make it really feel a bit extra particular, from the analog clock that peeks up from the dashboard to the big, metallic paddle shifters. The paddles are mounted to the steering column, not the wheel, and stay stationary when turning, hinting at Maserati’s race heritage. They make a satisfying “ping” with every shift and are simply satisfying to slap throughout heated driving.

Off the rack tech

In addition to, the Chrysler Uconnect is a superbly good, absolutely featured infotainment system. Redubbed Maserati Contact Management Plus (MTC+) and sporting a reskinned interface, that is principally the most recent era of FCA’s eight.Four-inch Uconnect tech. It options good navigation and mapping software program, voice command that works effectively, and a customizable interface that may be enhanced by downloadable apps. It isn’t as flashy a setup because the Porsche Cayenne’s PCM suite or BMW’s iDrive, however with customary Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, I’ve received no complaints about MTC+.

The Levante additionally advantages from FCA’s suite of driver aids and security tech, with accessible adaptive cruise management that works in stop-and-go site visitors, lane-keeping help that makes use of steering torque to maintain the SUV between the strains, lane-centering help on the freeway and ahead collision warning with automated emergency braking help. 

The Levante’s cabin options some FCA elements bin bits, however increased high quality supplies and bespoke particulars maintain it feeling luxurious. 

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

An emotional alternative

The 2019 Maserati Levante begins at $76,980 for the bottom, all-wheel-drive mannequin. One other 10 grand will get you 80 further ponies, stepping as much as the $87,980, 424 horsepower Levante S. My instance additionally options the GranSport look improve bundle together with bigger wheels, greater brakes and a sportier look inside and outside. As examined, you are taking a look at about $11,000 in what are basically visible upgrades that convey this automotive to an as-tested value of $103,845.

When you might definitely skip a few of these aesthetic choices, fashion and efficiency are form of the entire level of the Levante, so I would in all probability spec mine very equally to this one. As costly as it’s, the S is a candy spot within the lineup earlier than reaching the $120,980 GTS and $169,980 Trofeo — uber-expensive upgrades which are much less an train in how a lot it’s best to spend and the way a lot you must spend.

The 2019 Maserati Levante S faces a number of the stiffest competitors within the enterprise, together with the Porsche Cayenne S which is fairly a lot better in each manner with sharper efficiency, a extra luxurious cabin and smarter know-how. However the Cayenne is also dearer when comparably outfitted. The logical alternative could be to go together with one thing just like the BMW X5 xDrive50i or the Audi Q8 for lots much less cash, however someway these rides do not feel as particular because the Maser.

No, the Levante is not one of the best in its class, however with its participating efficiency and dramatic aptitude it has an emotional, intangible attraction all of its personal.

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