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Maserati Levante makes London debut

By raccars Published

Maserati

The Maserati Levante has been launched at an event in London and is to be priced from £54,335.

The Italian firm's first SUV goes on sale in the UK this month, ready for autumn deliveries. Initially it will be available as a 3.0 litre turbo diesel V6 with 275bhp, with the entry level model priced at £54,335. Buyers can add Luxury and Sport Packs which push up the price to £60,285 or go for the Luxury Pack Zegna Edition, costing £61,185.

Maserati Levante engine choices

A smart Ferrari-sourced petrol 3.0 litre V6 with 430bhp will be joining the diesel unit shortly, after Maserati changed its mind about only selling the Levante as a diesel in the UK, while a plug-in hybrid is due in just a couple of years. The SUV has already been released elsewhere in Europe but the UK release was delayed by right hand drive re-engineering.

Maserati had identified the cleaner diesel unit as the engine of choice for UK buyers thanks to its 189g/km CO2 emissions figure, compared to the 253g/km emitted by the petrol version. While diesels are usually a more popular power plant in the premium SUV market, the petrol version should offer the more traditionally 'Maserati' driving experience that buyers will be looking forward to.

European drivers have access to the petrol unit and a smaller and more economical version of the same with 350bhp. The UK petrol model will be badged the 'Levante S' and is expected to be more expensive than the diesels, with prices likely to start from at least £60,000 for the base model.

Four wheel drive and an eight speed automatic transmission are standard, together with air springs and electronic dampers. The Levante is supposed to offer perfect weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity than any other premium SUV for a genuinely sporty ride and excellent handling.

Levante hybrid

Maserati is aiming to have the Levante plug-in hybrid ready for 2018, using technology from its sister firm Chrysler. Other brands within the group will also have access to the same powertrain. Chrysler has already launched the Pacifica MPV as a hybrid with a lithium ion battery providing 16kWh and a 30 mile range plus a V6 engine. A full charge can be achieved within two hours.

However, Maserati has been keen to point out that otherwise the Levante will be a stand-alone product and it will not borrow from other brands in the Fiat-Chrysler group, not even drawing on Jeep's extensive four wheel drive experience.

What's it like?

The production format Maserati Levante was first seen earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, looking rather like an Italian version of the Porsche Cayenne. The rounded front end features a large grille and slim headlamps sweeping back to each side, with some sporty strakes along the flanks and a roof spoiler at the rear. The cabin is spacious and super luxurious. Leather upholstery is standard but Luxury Pack Zegna Edition buyers can choose silk from the famous Zegna wool mill! The Levante will also debut Maserati's latest 8.4 inch touchscreen infotainment system.

The SUV is certainly a departure from the 102 year old company's standard output but Maserati clearly feels that membership of the booming premium SUV class is important. It is believed that the Levante could boost sales at Maserati by up to 50 per cent. The firm is also planning another sports car, the two seater Alfieri seen as a concept in Geneva a couple of years ago, and believes that its model line-up will be complete with these two new models.

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