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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    / #Maserati-Levante / FALL #2016 / #Maserati / #USA

    Better known for high-end sport cars and luxury sedans, Maserati has taken the inevitable step to offer a high-end, coupe-like sporty SUV: the Levante.

    Built on the Ghibli sedan platform, the Levante follows Maserati naming tradition, and is “inspired by a warm, Mediterranean wind that can change from mild to gale force in an instant.”

    Base models start at $72,000, and are powered by a Ferrari-built twin-turbo 3.0-liter #V6 engine making 345 hp. Top-trim S models — which reach skyward from $83,000 — crank out 424 hp. Both are hooked up to an eight-speed automatic. Different drive modes alter the exhaust note, shift points, and suspension firmness.

    Maserati pegs the Levante S hitting 60 mph from rest in a brisk 5.0 seconds while the base model goes from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds Standard equipment includes all-wheel drive and an adaptive air suspension with five height settings, along with forward collision warning with brake assist, lane departure warning, and a surround view camera.

    Rounding out the standard feature list is Fiat-Chrysler’s’ 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen with navigation, heated and vented front seats, and a dual-zone climate system.

    CR’S TAKE While we expect a rich interior, fit and finish needs to be a step up from what we found in our Ghibli S Q4, whose craftsmanship was not up to snuff for a $90,000 car.
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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Maserati’s no-brainer arrives Get used to it: here comes a Modenese luxury SUV / Words Richard Meaden / Photography Roberto Carrer / #Maserati-Levante-S-435 / #Maserati-Levante-S / #Maserati-Levante / #Maserati / #2016 / #Maserati-Levante-275 /

    Levante. At Least the name of Maserati’s all-new SUV feels right, even if the idea feels uncomfortable. The days of rakish Khamsins and pocket-sized Meraks are over, but never has the Trident’s march into the luxury mainstream been more apparent. And SUVs account for half the one million premium luxury sales.

    What’s it like? As SUVs go it’s a lithe-looking thing that trades thuggish bulk for less threatening curves, and it features a plush and pleasingly original interior. The petrol-powered Levante S 435 isn’t coming to the UK but the oil-burning Levante 275 is. Both motors are turbocharged 3.0-litre V6s and both employ the same slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

    Maserati set itself the goal of offering best-in-class ride and handling – no mean feat given SUVs traditionally offer approximations of one or the other. It’s impressive, therefore, to discover that the Levante hits both targets, thanks to an inherently sound 50:50 weight distribution, an all-wheel-drive system that can send 100% of the torque to the rear, a torque-vectoring rear limited-slip diffential, and sophisticated multi-mode adaptive damping – all of which offer a supple ride and surprising poise. This is an SUV you’d actually enjoy threading along a good road. It’s not bad off-road, either, thanks largely to a smart hill descent system and a 40mm ride-height lift.

    A top speed of 143mph and a 0-62mph time of 6.9sec are brisk rather than blistering, but more than adequate for everyday use. Pricing is yet to be announced, but is predicted to be between £53,000 and £55,000. That’s keen for the class, not least given that the Maserati name still carries kudos. The Levante might offend the purists, but it is undeniably an impressive machine. Moreover, if it enjoys the success Maserati predicts (and which it deserves), it will fund the more indulgent GT sports cars we all long to see.
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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    DESIGN
    AUTO ITALIA’S DESIGN CONSULTANT CHRIS HRABALEK DISCUSSES THE FINER POINTS OF AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN

    / #2016 / #Maserati-Levante / #Maserati

    Levante is the name given to Maserati’s 102- year awaited SUV; a vehicle with conceptual origins spawning more than a decade, originally in the form of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s 2003 Maserati Kubang GT Wagon concept, and more recently through Marco Tencone’s in-house effort, the 2011 Kubang concept named after a warm Mediterranean wind.

    The Levante introduces a new era for the Trident intended to push annual sales beyond the 50,000 unit mark. The fact that half of all cars sold in the premium luxury segment are currently SUVs – and with predictions of a further increase to more than 75% by 2020 – is a solid reason why no premium luxury OEM can afford to ignore this lucrative segment. This is why traditional brands ranging from Aston Martin and Bentley to Jaguar and Rolls-Royce have traded their model heritage for a ticket on the SUV development bandwagon; after shaking heads at Porsche management for the past two decades.


    If an OEM wants to survive and continue to build sportscars, they need to give the market an SUV first, it seems. The Maserati Levante is manufactured in three different engine configurations – including one Diesel – with powerlevels ranging from 275hp to 350hp and a list price to start in the low £50,000s. Maserati aims to target the image of the Porsche Cayenne combined with the pricerange of the Porsche Macan, resulting in the Levante as an elegant Italian alternative to a premium luxury SUV such as Jaguar’s F-Pace, et al.

    Designwise, this has translated into traditional SUV proportions combined with surface-treatment and styling-themes quoted from the contemporary Maserati catalogue; namely a sloped coupe-like roofline, muscular rear wings, as well as the Alfieri concept inspired front grille, the trio of air vents on the front wings and a signature trapezoidal Cpillar graphic. Designing by numbers.

    Its not as if there is anything significantly wrong with the styling of the Levante, but at the same time, one would be hard pressed to proclaim it ‘iconic’. Like many of the recent premium luxury SUVs, it achieves its target: a pile of pre-orders and a waiting list higher than most terrains it will end up being driven on. Yet, one wonders, if there will ever be another luxury SUV as unique and significant as Lamborghini’s ‘Lambo-Rambo’ LM002.

    Automobiles in the ’50s and ’60s were built and bought with the knowledge that they will outlive the owner, but today’s products have traded craftsmanship for volume; think ecological canvas bag vs. handstitched leather bag. As successful as the Maserati Levante will undoubtedly become, it also mirrors the attitude of today’s consumption society and for this very reason the Levante is arguably perfect.
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  •   Jethro Bovingdon reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Jethro Bovingdon created this group
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