Despite having been available in LHD markets since its international launch around 12 months ago, the petrol-powered Levante was not launched alongside the diesel here in the UK. Rated at 424bhp, the Levante S is no where near Porsche Cayenne Turbo levels of power, but with a 5.2sec sprint to 62mph and a 50:50 weight distribution, it should at least give the 434bhp Cayenne S a run for its money.
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The engine in question is the same 3-litre twin turbo V6 as used in the recently revised Ghibli GranSport, so although not really class leading in any one capacity, it is at least a charismatic unit. The power unit isn’t the only technical upgrade when upgraded to Levante S, also added are larger 380mm front brake discs clamped by six-piston Brembo calipers and a new electric power steering system.
Available in GranLusso and GranSport trims, each follows a slightly different styling direction, with the GranLusso picking up 19-inch wheels, silver bash plates and the Zegna silk interior package. GranSport cars get a different aesthetic, featuring gloss black exterior detailing, larger 20-inch wheels, sports seats, stainless steel paddle shifters and blue inserts in the iconic trident badging.
This clear specification divide between sport and luxury is in keeping with Maserati’s other model lines, so the specification choices stay simple for buyers. At a tad over £70k, the Levante S is only slightly more expensive than the upcoming third generation Porsche Cayenne. While it might well trail the technical tour-de-force of its German rival, there is no denying the Maserati with its trident badge, Ermenegildo Zegna silk trim and questionable interior quality is the more glamorous choice.
Quality suspicions aside, the Levante’s lean chassis and characterful engine might prove to be a tempting alternative to staid German rivals.