The Maserati Levante was by no means alleged to have a V8. Like its Ghibli sedan sibling, Maserati’s SUV was solely slated to make use of V6 energy, in 345- and 424-horsepower states of tune. However some artful Italians determined to see if the Quattroporte GTS’ three.Eight-liter V8 may match beneath the SUV’s hood, and presto, the 550-horsepower Levante GTS and 575-horsepower Trofeo had been born.This Ferrari-built V8 feels proper at dwelling in Maser’s midsize SUV. And after every week of testing a GTS mannequin in and round Los Angeles, I can not think about shopping for a Levante with out it.V8, v greatI’m keen to check the extra highly effective Levante Trofeo, however because it stands, I’ve no complaints in regards to the GTS’ 550 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. Maserati quotes a Zero-to-60 mile-per-hour time of four seconds flat, and exhausting acceleration is accompanied by the type of sonorous wail you’d count on from an eight-cylinder engine made in Maranello.

Pretty as the large, steering column-mounted paddle shifters are to make use of, I want to let the Levante select its personal journey. Shifts are buttery easy whereas cruising, or sharp and exact when working with aggression. Go simple on the throttle and the eight-speed automated will shift with effectivity in thoughts, and also you would possibly hit the EPA-estimated freeway gasoline economic system score of 18 miles per gallon. However in case you’re like me, and also you spend each waking second scary the engine to sing the tune of its folks, you may see numbers far nearer to the 14-mpg metropolis score — if not much less.

Not gonna lie, I used to be type of anticipating the Levante GTS to be a one-trick pony of straight-line brute drive. However a day romp within the canyons close to my default picture shoot location revealed in any other case. With the GTS in its Sport setting, the air suspension lowers, the dampers get stiffer and the steering wheel provides a pleasant serving to of heft to its motion. Do not get me fallacious, that is nonetheless a high-riding, four,784-pound SUV, but it surely’s no slouch alongside the winding roads of California’s Angeles Nationwide Forest. The SUV pitches and dives beneath braking, however the stoppers themselves — carryover Brembo items from the Levante S — keep sturdy. There’s acceptable quantities of physique roll when cornering exhausting, however the non-obligatory Pirelli P Zero tires supply super grip.It may need Maserati logos, however this three.Eight-liter, twin-turbo V8 comes from Ferrari. Molto bella!
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The GTS comes customary with 20-inch wheels, however you’ll be able to possibility 21s (as seen on my check automotive) and even 22s. I used to be initially apprehensive that the upmarket 21s would spoil the trip high quality over poorly surfaces Los Angeles metropolis streets, however fortunately, the adaptive suspension does a pleasant job of softening as much as filter out pavement imperfections whenever you’re simply working errands round city. And in contrast to fellow Italian hot-ute Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the Levante GTS is not a herky-jerky mess whenever you’re simply attempting to get via the Goal car parking zone. The throttle, brakes and transmission all cool down and behave like excellent gents. The Levante GTS is just not an always-on beast that you simply consistently need to tame.Having spent a while in Porsche’s third-generation 2019 Cayenne Turbo, my intestine says it is the SUV I would decide for spirited drives. Its chassis has higher general steadiness, and its steering is a bit more direct. Land Rover’s Vary Rover Sport SVR is one other good possibility, with its personal mix of ripsnorting V8 grunt, however the Maserati feels tighter and nimbler when pushed exhausting. I would even be remiss to not point out Maserati’s company stablemate, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which in 707-horsepower Trackhawk guise is a full $30,000 lower than the $119,980 beginning MSRP of the Levante GTS, and shares a whole lot of the identical inside switchgear and tech.In profile, the Levante GTS has a tall, sporty wagon vibe that I actually like.
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Excessive lux, however a little bit too familiarIt’s no secret that a whole lot of the Levante’s inside is made up of Fiat-Chrysler elements bin tools. In case you’ve ever sat in a Grand Cherokee, you may acknowledge the flip sign stalk, engine begin button, headlight controls, window switches and numerous objects on the middle stack. Different plastic panels and stylized bits of trim — just like the high-gloss fake carbon fiber on the middle console — do not feel all that premium, both. A lot of this cabin simply feels prefer it’s been ripped from an SRT-badged Jeep.However that is to not say the Levante is not comfy and splendid. Wonderful leather-based trims the game seats, which come customary with heating and air flow. A mushy Alcantara headliner appears to be like good above my head, and the aforementioned shift paddles are completed in aluminum, and really feel nice in opposition to my fingertips. Passengers in each rows of seats have ample lodging, with a lot of head- and legroom, even for taller people.

When pressed into cargo-hauling SUV obligation, the Levante is loads in a position, with 21 cubic ft of area behind the rear seats, or 57 cubic ft with the again bench folded. That stated, because of their extra upright shapes, the Land Rover Vary Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne supply extra capacious boots. One thing to think about if it’s good to routinely must haul whereas hauling ass.It is comfortable and properly appointed, however you may discover a whole lot of acquainted Fiat-Chrysler switchgear and tech contained in the Levante’s cabin.
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Uconnect tech, with one annoying quirkAs Andrew Krok stated in his latest Maserati Ghibli evaluation, “borrowed tech is sweet tech.” I can not fault Maserati for utilizing dad or mum firm FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system — with its massive icons, colourful graphics and quick response instances, it is a system that is tremendous simple and intuitive to make use of.

However in a quirk that is distinctive to the Levante, there’s one irritating anomaly about this Uconnect setup. As a result of Maserati incorporates the stop-start system’s on/off button within the backside row of shortcut buttons, it means one thing from the usual Uconnect menu needed to be eliminated. The icon that did not make the reduce? Navigation. If you wish to entry nav, it’s good to faucet the middle Maserati icon to dive right into a management panel, and you will find navigation in that bigger financial institution of icons. That stated, given how tough the stop-start system is, I am glad its on/off swap is well accessible.On the very least, embedded navigation is customary, in addition to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. A bevy of driver help tech, then again, is all bundled in a $1,590 driver help package deal that features adaptive cruise management, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping help, a 360-degree digital camera, ahead collision warning and visitors signal recognition. It is definitely not remarkable for luxurious automakers to cost further for these non-obligatory extras ( you, Porsche), however at $120,000 to begin, it appears bizarre to upsell this security tech.These 21-inch wheels are a $2,200 possibility.
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How I would spec itStill, at $119,980, the Levante GTS comes actually properly outfitted. I additionally love the GTS-specific design parts just like the body-colored entrance splitter and matte black rear diffuser encompass. In truth, I feel the Levante is without doubt one of the best-looking Maserati merchandise, full cease. And contemplating how attractive the Ghibli and Quattroporte are, that is saying one thing.I would paint my Levante GTS in Blu Emozione, and have the inside accomplished up in Cuoio brown leather-based. From there, I am going to take a set of 21-inch, gloss black wheels ($1,800), the aforementioned driver help package deal ($1,590) and the non-obligatory matrix LED headlights ($1,890; bi-xenon lamps come customary). That places my excellent GTS at $125,260, which is not an enormous step up from the mannequin’s base MSRP.The Levante GTS is a compelling different to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo or Vary Rover Sport SVR.
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A worthy contender$120 massive is some huge cash, however not absurd when you think about the aggressive set. A Porsche Cayenne Turbo begins at $124,600, the Vary Rover Sport SVR is available in at $113,600 and the outgoing Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S prices $109,700. Once more, it is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk that basically provides the very best worth comparability, to me, with extra energy, and the identical switchgear and tech, for $86,200.The one factor these different automobiles do not have, nevertheless, is a Maserati Trident on the nostril. And whilst you can come to your personal conclusion about what that basically means lately, the reality is, for luxurious patrons, the Maserati title nonetheless carries large panache. However not like the Ghibli, the Levante is not only a superb automotive in a category of nice choices. Because of its new V8 coronary heart, the Levante GTS stands tall with the very best efficiency SUVs from world wide. And to suppose, it wasn’t even alleged to occur.

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