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maserati levante s brings some italian flair to the premium suv class

Maserati Levante S brings some Italian flair to the premium SUV class

The rest of its competitors might be well ahead in the sales game but all is forgiven as the Levante has frameless windows

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

27 Nov 2017

Luxury SUVs are more than just a means of survival now for the premium carmakers. It’s a status symbol for them, more so than for the owners. Furthermore, the heritage associated with these brands dictates a certain level of performance.

Late to the party but fashionably so, Naza Italia has introduced the Maserati Levante S to join the horsepower-SUV feud in Malaysia.

Powered by the marque’s 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 with direct injection, the engine was designed by Maserati Powertrain together with the Ferrari Powertrain development team so you can be assured that it will make plenty of haste on the way to the golf club.

It makes 430hp with 580Nm of torque; luxury class SUV leading figures according to Maserati for specific torque of 194 Nm per litre, as is its specific power of 144hp/l. Coupled with the all-wheel drive system that features a rear limited-slip differential and eight-speed ZF automatic, it will get to 100kph in a scant 5.2-seconds and has a top speed of 264kph.

Maserati has also switched over to an electric power steering system that functions better with the driving modes of Normal, I.C.E., Sport and Off-road. Each mode alters the engine + transmission mapping, suspension and intervention of the electronic nannies.

It stops on a dime with massive Brembo 6-piston aluminium monobloc calipers working on 380mm drilled discs in the front and aluminium 42mm floating calipers with 330mm ventilated drilled discs at the rear.

Extensive use of lightweight materials lowers the centre of gravity and creates an ideal 50:50 weight distribution for improved agility. Aided by the air suspension, Skyhook absorbers and Q4 AWD system, it should leave some mouths agape on the road.

The usual marketing blabber will tout increase comfort and better handling but Maserati is probably the first to claim that the air suspension contributes to improved fuel efficiency by virtue of lowering of the car at speed to reduce aerodynamic drag. It has a drag coefficient of 0.31.

Well played boys.

Naza Italia also took the opportunity to introduce the GranLusso trim for the Levante that emphasises luxury. It has metallic-finish front skid plates and roof rails, the obligatory GranLusso badges on the front wings, body-colour side skirts, black-painted brake calipers and 19-inch Zefiro wheels.

Inside, you’ll find Ermenegildo Zegna silk or full premium Italian upholstery with a Radica open-pore wood trim and leather steering wheel. There’s also a Harman Kardon sound system, illuminated door sills, navigation system and new soft close doors.

If you require more go than show in your Levante, the GranSport trim is what you’ll be after. Piano Black front grille, skid plates and roof rails with GranSport badges on the front wings work with the body-colour side skirts, blue inserts on all Trident and Saetta logos, red brake calipers and larger 20-inch Nereo wheels.

Synonymous with performance, carbon trim inside joins a Sport steering wheel with standard gearshift paddles and power-adjustable Inox sport pedals.

If you need an SUV with frameless windows, the Levante S starts at RM 788,800 and includes a three year warranty with no mileage restriction plus a Maserati Premium Service Plus of three years or 60,000km, whichever comes first.