Forget 2011’s Kubang concept and its proposed platform share with Jeep. Levante is pure Maserati, designed, engineered and built in Italy. Three engines are offered - two 3.0-litre V6 petrols in 345bhp and 424bhp forms, and a 3.0-litre 275bhp V6 diesel. Other markets also get a choice of two V8 petrol models in GTS and mad Trofeo forms, each sharing their 3.8-litre twin-turbo unit with the Quattroporte and produce 523bhp and 582bhp respectively. These engines will roll out in North American and Middle Eastern markets, UK sales have not been confirmed.
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Out on the autostrada the Diesel lopes along nicely, and the 8-speed torque converter shuffles the ratios nicely when you want to kick-down. It’s a refined and adept mile-eater, no question. Wind noise is subdued despite frameless windows (Maserati has worked hard on this) and the general ambience is that of an elevated GT. It’s a very nice way to travel. The petrol V6s are far more vocal, the 424bhp 'S' model even eliciting a fairly good impression of a raspy Italian V6 note. Neither is particularly fast though, and both are very thirsty.
The aforementioned V8s should provide plenty of poke for those wanting extra performance, but with Maserati's focus firmly on other markets, a Cayenne Turbo-rivalling flagship remains irritatingly out of reach.