Published on May 10th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Maserati Levante SUV test driven and what we think
You drive your Maserati Ghibli ‘S’ daily to work, meetings, lunches and back. Then on the weekends you take the family MPV out for the mall visits and for ‘punching card’ at the in-law’s place.
Now you need a vehicle to transport your kids to and fro school and your wife wants to be able to have some fun in between the school run whilst being noticed and envied by the other soccer mums in their boring bulky MPVs. So what do you buy for your wife?
Remember, you will also be driving this vehicle on occasion when you are out with the family. This Maserati Levante SUV might just be the answer you are looking for.
Think about it…..the private school car park and the mall valet car park is already filled with German SUV’s. The guys at the golf club all have German SUV’s for the morning golfing runs. You want to stand out, be noticed for your taste in vehicles and have an envious eye on you whenever you drive past. Its time you got yourself an Italian SUV. Like a well tailored Bruni suit, this Maserati SUV has a calling. Not be the fastest on the highway or the hardiest in the next Borneo safari? This Maserati SUV wants to be part of your styling package. An extension of your taste.
Yes, RM888,000.00 might sound like a lot of money, but when you consider the nearest rival from Germany has its price starting from RM820,000, this all new Italian sports SUV starts getting rather interesting. Well, we took it it for a short test drive to find out more.
We already have great respect for the Ghibli S and its abilities so we started our test drive with this Levante on a rather positive note. We had some reservations about the styling and its size. Sitting on the tarmac, the Levante initially looked rather compact and with styling related to the Infiniti QX70 SUV. The similarities end here. We were informed that the head to toe measurements of this Levante is near the Range Rover Sport which means it is actually quite large but the design reduces its heft which is a good thing.
Once inside the cabin we were impressed with the execution of the cabin and the use of high quality materials all around. There was no skimping on costs here. The ergonomics were great and it was very easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. View out was good in all directions and the touch and feel of the knobs and buttons were similar to its sibling, the Quattroporte sports sedan. Maserati interiors have never failed to put a smile on us.
Time to test drive this sexy SUV. We ignited the diesel engine and it just rumbled silently. We used the accelerator to get the engine excited, but it just returned a muted growl. No diesel clatter or ‘noise’. Refined and smooth as we drove the first hour in traffic. We reached the open highway, activated ‘Sport’ mode and then the Levante came alive. Yes, the suspension got tauter, the nose got a little lower to knife it thru the wind resistance, the engine started growling and the steering got more responsive.
Now the diesel engine had woken up and started pushing us to use its 600Nm of torque. In-gear acceleration was quick and with no lag. The engine spun quickly as we increased its speed and it never hesitated. The ride remained pliant and the suspension took in all of the uneven tarmac without delivering it to the cabin occupants.
The 3-litre V6 diesel engine is manufactured by an Italian company called VM Motori who also produces diesel engines for the marine industry, power generation and industrial engines. VW Motori S.p.A. is an Italian diesel engine manufacturing company which is wholly owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles through its subsidiary Fiat Group Automobiles and they in turn own Maserati.
It develops 275hp of power and a crushing 600Nm of torque, 90% of which available below 2,000 rpm. The Levante 275hp accelerates from+0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds and makes it to 230km/h even though it emits just 189 g/km of CO2 and has a consumption of 7.2 l/100 km on the NEDC test cycle.
We returned the Levante to the dealership with just one thought, will Malaysian luxury car buyers accept a premium diesel powered SUV?
Maserati Levante Diesel Specifications
Engine: V6 Common Rail DIESEL Turbo
Power: 275bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 2000-2600rpm
Transmission: 8-speed ZF
Top speed: 230km/h