If you’re looking for a luxury crossover that’s a little different, the Maserati Levante may be right up your alley. This strikingly styled competitor to the Porsche Cayenne is a little more extravagant, brimming with Italian flair and lots of design cues to remind you it’s a Maserati. There are no less than four trident logos in the Levante, one in front, another on the hatch, and one on each C-pillar. You find three little side vents on the front fenders, too, just like in the Quattroporte, Ghibli, and Gran Turismo. For 2021, the Levante gets a refresh, which adds a revised front and rear end that gives it a meaner look.
Since Maserati slots just above your average BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, the level of customizability is just incredible. The Levante, for example, can be had in GranLusso or GranSport configurations, and from there you can personalize to your heart’s content with different leather options including ones from high-end clothing designer Ermenegildo Zegna. Certain versions are even available with silk blend upholstery if the leather is too plebian for you.
Maserati uses its version of the UConnect interface complete with a more vivid display. That means the car retains the user-friendliness of the mainstream unit. You don’t get any funny business happening with this interface, just a snappy, intuitive multimedia experience that’s also highly customizable.
Regardless of which Levante you get, the car has standard air suspension and AWD. Under the hood is a standard 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 good for 345 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque in the standard model or 424 hp and 428 lb-ft in the Levante S. If that’s not enough for you, there’s the Levante GTS with a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 making 550 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque or the Levante Trofeo, which takes the same V8 and bumps the horsepower up to 580. The only transmission available is a ZF eight-speed automatic. Even in the base engine, there’s a lot of aural drama. You even get pops and crackles, something you don’t usually get in a luxury crossover powered by its least powerful motor.
The Levante may have the heart of a Ferrari but the base model doesn’t have the same moves as its more powerful siblings. The fact that it also weighs over two-ton curb weight hinders its agility. You’ll need to go up to more expensive models with stickier tires or if you’re set on the standard engine, but more performance-oriented rubber. Ride quality, on the other hand, is excellent thanks to the standard air suspension. Even in Sport mode, the Levante is surprisingly compliant, which is a nice surprise.
Whereas the German competitors strive for perfection, the Maserati Levante stands out for having a lot of character. No, it’s not the sharpest car in its segment nor is it the most luxurious but at least this crossover has a sense of identity; it’s not a robot on four wheels.
0 to 60: 5.8 seconds
60 to 0: 123 feet
Cabin Noise: B; 70.5 dB
Fuel Economy: B
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