The Levante SUV, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, sends Maserati in a new direction as the Italian luxury brand celebrates its centenary.
The car will widen Maserati’s potential market as a more practical alternative to the brand’s current sports cars and saloons, a direction already followed by rivals such as Bentley with the Bentayga.
Not the first Maserati to be named after a wind, the SUV is said to reflect its name, the Levante being a warm Mediterranean wind that can quickly change from a light breeze to a major force.
The car’s styling, particularly the front end, reflects the Alfieri sports car concept, unveiled at the Geneva show in 2014.
The Levante is promised to offer all the characteristics of an SUV, but also maintain the performance credentials typical of previous Maserati product. Power options range across a 3-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol engine of 345 or 423bhp, or a 271bhp 3-litre V6 turbodiesel, and all versions will be fitted with an eight-speed auto gearbox and the Q4 intelligent all-wheel drive system.
The most powerful version will produce 0-62mph sprint times of 5.2 seconds and go on to 164mph, while returning combined cycle fuel consumption of 26mpg and CO2 emissions of 253g/km.
The lower-powered petrol has a 6.0-second 0-62mph time and 156mph top speed, similar fuel economy and a 249g/km CO2 emissions figure, while the diesel will return 39mpg, CO2 emissions of 189g/k, for a 6.9-seocnd 0-62mph time and 143mph top speed.
Maserati believes the Levante will also score on its handling, combining a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with a perfect 50:50 front to rear weight distribution and the lowest centre of gravity in its class.
The electronic damping system includes air springs with five ride levels a park level, allowing plenty of options between sporty handling and a high clearance for off roading.
Inside occupants have use of an updated version of the Maserati Touch Control touchscreen-based control system, which combines an 8.4in screen with a rotary control on the transmission tunnel.
UK pricing is yet to be confirmed for the Levante, Maserati currently only stating the price for the Swiss market of its unveiling –75,900 Swiss Francs (around £54,600).