The All-in-One Maserati Levante is a Performance Grocery Getter

The Levante S comes to life when the pedal goes down. Around town, it's happy doing errands in docile mode. Maserati photo
Text size

777彩票地址Climbing into a $103,365 2019 Maserati Levante S GranLusso after a week in a 2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited, the SUV felt oddly familiar. The reason for that was clear when I realized that Maserati and Jeep are both part of Fiat Chrysler, and the economy of scale suggests that they share a few things (from the ignition button to the window switches and wiper stalk).?

The Chrysler UConnect infotainment system is carried over, too, though it was easier to use in the Jeep—which didn’t require the driver to press “accept” every time the car was fired up. So what gives? The Jeep starts at $34,595 and the Maserati Levante at $74,485, more than twice as much. Are the made-in-Italy cachet and the famous trident badge worth that much more?

Seat time makes it clear where the extra money goes. Despite being the company’s first-ever SUV, and a car with styling that could get lost amid a sea of other off-road boxes, the Levante is definitely a Maserati at heart. You’re paying for a performance chassis that—when the grocery runs are over—really delivers the goods.

Motivating the Jeep is a 3.2-liter V6 with 271 horsepower; the Maserati benefits from a Ferrari-derived 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces 424 horsepower in the as-tested S model (the base car has “only” 345). Upgrading to an “S” costs $10,000, and if you want even more, spring for the GTS or Trofeo, whose twin-turbo V8s produce 550 and 590 horsepower, respectively. The latter goes for $171,500. A 275-horsepower V6 turbodiesel version of the Levante didn’t make it stateside.

777彩票地址But the test car, even carrying 4,600 pounds without the V8, was plenty speedy. The Levante S can reach 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds, faster than a Mercedes-AMG GLE43. Off-roaders might think the Jeep would ace the Maserati in towing capacity, but no: The Jeep can handle 4,500 pounds, and the Maserati 6,000. I’ve yet to see a Maserati towing anything, but the chassis is extra stiff—it could.?

The differences between the Jeep and Maserati aren’t all that apparent around town, though the big six-piston Brembo brakes on the Italian stallion soon make themselves known. After the errands, I found a clear stretch of highway and Dr. Jekyll turned into Mr. Hyde. The tuned exhaust snarls out some beautiful music, the car hunkers down, and the horizon suddenly seems very close.?

Inside the sanctuary of the Maserati Levante's optional GranLusso interior. Maserati photo

Handling is excellent; the big beast benefits from sharp steering and stays level at the corners. The eight-speed automatic was very capable in “Sport” mode, and you can also shift via paddles. Air suspension is standard and adjustable. Raise it up off road, or lower it down for better aerodynamics at speed. The car can be brought down nearly two inches.?

If you’re going to drive your Levante in anger, you’ll definitely want the $1,590 Driver Assistance Pack, which comes with all the latest safety features: highway assist, lane-keeping, active blind-spot detection, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree view camera, and even something called traffic sign recognition. My guess is that this package will soon be standard, but it isn’t now.?

777彩票地址Our test car benefited from the highest interior trim level, GranLusso, which can be ordered in every version of the V6 car. The Italians, when they’re not building race cars, do interiors spectacularly well. The 1980s Maserati Biturbo, while not a great car, still had the nicest interior of the period, and this Levante follows in that tradition with Ermenegildo Zegna silk and leather two-tone seats (12-way adjustable) and open-pore wood appointments.?

777彩票地址This past summer, Maserati said it would make available in North America a limited edition of 100 cars (50 Levante S SUVs and 50 Quattroporte sedans) with Pelletessuta woven leather interiors for 2020, also from Zegna. The Levantes will be “S” GranSport models, with black interiors and Radica wood trim.?

Bowers & Wilkins provided a $1,950 sound system upgrade in our test car, which almost (but not quite) made up for that annoying “accept” button. The heated seats were quite nice. An upgraded heated wheel is an option, though, as is an illuminated door sill for $200. Fuel economy in the Levante S is, as you might expect when you combine a heavyweight car with a big engine, mediocre—15 in town and 21 on the highway (17 combined).

One way to justify buying a Levante is to see it as two cars in one. It’s the family hauler and the weekend sports machine. Just think of the money you’ll save by not needing a larger garage.?

The Levante is Maserati’s first SUV, but it won’t be its last. In the pipeline is a smaller crossover, priced below the Levante. No carmaker, whatever their history, can afford to be without an SUV lineup these days. Consumers are willing to pay for upscale SUVs, and soon SUVs will also be part of the stable at Aston Martin (mid 2020) and Ferrari (2022).


7072彩票开户 7k彩票网网址 963彩票开户 7073彩票网址 689彩票邀请码 7073彩票注册 8炫彩彩票app 7073彩票登录 66顺彩票app 6d彩票开户登陆