Maserati Levante S was launched after the diesel in the later part of 2017 – Levante allowed Maserati to join the ranks of prestige manufacturers that had an SUV in their model line-up and heralded a revolution for them. The line-up now has three models, including the Levante 350, soon to be joined by the GTS. In the absence of that model the Levante S takes the performance mantle.
The Levante, for Maserati has been an outstanding success with over 90% of buyers being new to the brand. That figure is higher in Australia.
We are reviewing the Maserati Levante S GranSport here, the sport level for the S variant.
Levante S GranSport Exterior –
First impressions are that I actually like the look. Style is subjective and I know others are not as impressed, but the Levante carries itself in such a way that disguises its size. It looks much smaller than it actually is. The blue is particularly striking.
From the front it is unmistakably a Maserati, with the grill and famous Saetta logo through to the long sleek design. The bonnet slopes away which helps with both visibility for the driver and maintaining a sleek proportion. It is accentuated by the flow of the front wings, which emphasize the shape of the engine compartment lid and run into the headlight surrounds at the front. The headlights featuring Bi-Xenon and LED technology then converge with the Trident symbol at the centre of the grille.
There are also muscular, arching front wings bearing the iconic triple air vents along with the ever-present Saetta logo in the steeply tapered, coupé-like rear section. Such details, along with frameless door windows, the subtle spoiler and quad tailpipes, 19 inch alloy wheels all make an emphatic design statement.
Even though the Levante is a touch over 5m long and has a 3m wheelbase, the design is well balanced. Proportion is the key word for the Levante. The overall design is well proportioned.
Levante S GranSport Interior –
Step into the Levante S GranSport and step into a world of luxury delivering a tactile experience. A key element of buying a car like the Maserati Levante is that the feeling is important. Everything is tactile and the visual language screams sports car, despite the fact it is a SUV. Even the key is heavy and feels great to hold. The Italians understand the passion that cars evoke and the Maserati carries this through the entire vehicle design.
There is a definite feeling of sitting in a sports car, with the electronically adjustable handcrafted, sport supportive leather seats, through to the small sports instrument binnacle, the ambiance is sport luxury. In line with a long Maserati tradition, customers can personalise the interior according to their individual taste. A total of 28 interior colour combinations are available.
The interior is richly leather lined and hand stitched, from the seats to the steering wheel, while the front seats are heated (optionally ventilated) and boast 12 way electrical operation with memory. The driver can find their most comfortable position by using the electrical adjustment operating height, depth, backrest, lumbar support and seat angle with two memory positions for the driver. The front passenger seat enjoys same range and means of adjustment.
The dashboard is finished in a grey surrounded by sumptuous leather. The small instrument panel gives the driver everything they need with two large outer dials with a customizable 7” TFT display.
The dashboard and the central console are designed in order to accommodate the 8.4” Touch Screen, the cluster of drive mode buttons, the brand new rotary knob and the air suspension switch.
The instrument panel follows the classic Ghibli/Quattroporte layout and is backlit with white light that contrasts nicely with the warm cabin lighting. The classic Maserati analogue clock is located in the centre of the dashboard. It features a blue background dial with white backlighting. The interior finish is in aluminium with a chrome surround.
Providing excellent feedback to the driver the leather steering wheel is superb. The interior of the Levante is built around a driver interface that is intuitive, uncluttered and simple to use. The driver is the priority, without sacrificing the other occupants.
Major dynamic functions are incorporated into the buttons alongside the gearshift, while other on-board settings can be set using the Maserati Touch Control Plus (MTC+) infotainment system at the centre of the dashboard, or the steering wheel controls for the 7” TFT display.
So the front occupants are well taken care of. As are the rear occupants, more for two rather than three. Given its long wheelbase, the rear passengers have ample room for head, shoulder, and knee and foot placement. The sloping roofline doesn’t impede the feeling of space at all. There are rear air conditioning vents and 12v outlets as well. The outer rear seats include Isofix fittings and are fitted with a central armrest that houses two cup holders. They also come with a heating system as an optional extra.
The rear seats are split 40/60 and the backrests are foldable in order to increase the loading space. The inclination of the seat back can also be manually adjusted to five different settings and the luggage compartment has been designed to provide a large and versatile load space of 580 / 1,625L capacity. With its regular shape, it can easily accommodate large luggage items. There is a 12V power socket in the luggage area plus three more sockets in the cabin.
The standard power tailgate opens and closes automatically without anyone having to physically lift or pull it down. The system has a special anti-pitching function that immediately stops the closing procedure when an obstacle is detected. The electric system can be activated by the buttons on the tailgate, by the car’s remote control and by a button on the dome light panel.
Levante S GranSport features –
19 inch polished alloy wheels, 295/45 ZR19 tyres, Powered rear door, Hand stitched leather interior, Maserati 8.4” Touch Screen, Maserati MTC+ which has SatNav and Digital Radio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Audio System with 8 speakers, Cruise control, Keyless operation, Wipers with rain sensor, Auto-dipping mirrors and Dual zone climate control ventilation.
As you would expect there is a long list of options and genuine accessories available to personalise your vehicle.
Levante S GranSport Engine and Drivetrain –
The Levante S is all about the engine transmission combination. This is a Maserati and you expect performance. First seen in the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli, the petrol engine is a twin turbo V6 with the latest direct injection petrol (GDI) technology developed by the Maserati and Ferrari Powertrain development teams. The engine is built in Maranello by Ferrari.
With power of 316 kW @ 5,750 rpm and a flat torque delivery of 580 Nm @ 1,750 – 5,000 rpm, it delivers a powerful driving experience. In “normal” driving mode, the torque rises to 500 Nm in the lower rev range reaching 550 Nm threshold @ 5,000 rpm.
This drives through an eight speed ZF automatic transmission and allows reasonable performance of 0-100kmh in 5.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 264 kmh. It provides seven dedicated shift modes that can be selected from the cluster on the left of the gear knob: “normal”, “sport”, and “off-road” in both automatic and manual mode and the I.C.E. mode – for Increased Control & Efficiency – that was introduced for the first time in the Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans.
Combined fuel consumption is approximately 12.0 litres/100 km and combined CO2 emission of 273 g/km. Suspension is a multi-adjustable electronic system with Front Double-wishbone, adjustable Air Springs, Skyhook shock absorbers and rear Multi-Link, adjustable Air Springs, Skyhook shock absorbers.
The Levante S rides on 19 inch alloy wheels with 295/45 ZR19 tyres that provide a good balance between handling and comfort. The Levante S features a state-of-the-art braking system where the front system adopts Brembo 6-piston aluminium mono-bloc calipers working on 380 mm drilled discs. Aluminium 42 mm floating calipers with 330 mm x 22 mm ventilated drilled discs are fitted at the rear.
Maserati Levante S GranSport Driving Experience –
From the rich leather interior to the crisp crackle of the exhaust the Maserati Levante is all about the experience. This is an SUV so it will not perform the same as a Quattroporte, but shares the same underpinnings.
On the test drive three things became quite apparent. The first is that even though this is a 5m long, 2000kg SUV it displays a degree of litheness that many a so called sport car would aspire to. The second is that the ride and handling varies from comfort to outright sporty, but is always compliant. The third is that switch the Levante to Sport mode and let fly, not only will you be rewarded by aural delight, but by some of the best handling on a SUV ever. The electronic power steering finds an excellent balance between feedback and control.
With a perfect 50/50 balance and 100% availability of torque to the rear wheels the Levante displays outstanding sport driving characteristics. It’s stunning just how good the Levante is.
In the best Maserati tradition, the engine’s exhaust system is controlled by pneumatic valves to maintain the rich aural signature of the brand. In the default driving mode, the bypass valves are closed for a comfortable and discreet engine sound. In Sport mode, the exhaust valves open, providing the shortest possible exit route for the exhaust gases. This provides the Levante its maximum engine performance and the unique Maserati sound track.
This is an AWD SUV not a 4wd, with a definite rear wheel drive bias. On test I pushed the balance as hard as I dared and there was never a hint of letting go. All the AWD system did was recalibrate front to rear drive balance and kept pushing along. The ride always remained compliant and mid corner bumps or potholes did little to upset the composure.
Levante S features the same sophisticated Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive with rear Limited-slip Differential and advanced suspension that includes adjustable Air Springs and Skyhook shock absorbers. However this vehicle is not meant for any off road driving. It is excellent for some dirt roads, trips to the snow, or to the weekend retreat on the farm. All while providing a thoroughly engaging sporty drive experience.
Levante also has a limited slip differential and torque vectoring to assist in the awesome handling. The torque vectoring function is applicable whilst performing a cornering manoeuvre, where the system distributes more torque to the outer wheels by applying a slight braking force to the inner wheels.
Maserati Levante S GranSport dimensions –
overall length of 5005mm, wheelbase of 3004mm, width of 1981mm and height of 1693mm. Unladen ground clearance is 205mm. Wading depth is N/A Turning circle is 11.7m, Fuel Tank is 80L. Kerb mass of 2205kg. Towing capacity is 2700kg and Tow ball rating is up to 135kg** **must be accounted for in the payload calculations.
Maserati Levante S GranSport Safety –
While the Levante hasn’t been tested by ANCAP, it still features a large array of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems.
These include:- Six air Bags, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Active Blind Spot Assist, Surround View Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Forward Collision Warning Plus, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Path Function, Front And Rear Parking Sensors and Reversing Camera, Hill Holder, Hill Descent Control (HDC), Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC), Maserati Stability Program (MSP) and Full-LED Adaptive Matrix headlights
Highway Assist System (Has) –combines Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Keeping Assist to make life easier on motorways, while achieving level 2 semi-autonomous driving.
Maserati Levante S GranSport fit for purpose –
Prestige sport SUV’s are meant to transport a family in luxury and comfort while providing an engaging drive experience for the driver. They aren’t about outright acceleration nor top speed. More about point to point transport. Here the Maserati Levante S GranSport is amongst the best in the segment.
It certainly isn’t the fastest in the 0-100 km/h times that will be challenged by the GTS coming next year, but it displays a level of sophisticated ride and handling that belies its bulk. However there are few sport SUV’s that are faster point to point than the Levante.
The other thing that is apparent is that the Levante has some character. Many vehicles in this segment will perform but are soulless.
Maserati Levante S GranSport Summary –
Maserati has transferred their traditional sport car qualities to the Levante S and in the wait for the GTS it takes the performance mantle and retains all the characteristics expected of a Maserati. The Maserati Levante S GranSport is a grand tourer in the traditional sense. It will fit 4 in comfort, 5 at a pinch, will accommodate luggage for them as well, will consume kilometres with ease and allow you to travel long distances without fuss.
It is ideal as a family activity sports car. I can see these making many trips to the snow with the skis on top, the gear inside and excited passengers looking forward to a week away and arriving relaxed.
It’s the type of car that allows you to decide to drive to Noosa rather than fly because the trip will be fun. I could see myself travelling long distances in the Levante S and going just for the drive.
This is because the driver also gets more, they get the opportunity to cruise or have a blast, taking in the aural delight of the exhaust crackle and engage in a driving experience that loses little to its pure sports brethren in the range. Maserati Levante engage all of the senses for the occupants. I have become a fan. When you buy a Maserati you are buying the experience.
Also Look at:-
- Style and presence
- Performance, ride and handling
- Sensory delights
The Not so Good:
- Audio Infotainment system looks a little dated
- Poor towing capability
- Thick ‘A’ pillars
Model: Maserati Levante S GranSport
- Model Price From $189,990 MLP*
- Engine 3.0L Twin Turbo V6 Petrol
- Drivetrain 8 Sp ZF AT AWD
- Power 321kW @ 5,750rpm
- Torque 580Nm @ 1,750 – 4,750rpm
- Safety TBA
- CO2 Combined 273g/km
- Economy ADR 11.8L/100 km
- Servicing Maserati Plan
- Tow Rating 2,700 kg
- Tow Ball Rating 130 kg
- Warranty 3 Yrs. / Unlimited km with Roadside Assist
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.
Overall Rating: 82/100
- Behind the Wheel 8
- Comfort 9
- Equipment 9
- Performance 9
- Ride & Handling 9
- Practicality 9
- Fit for Purpose 9
- Towing Ability 5
- Off Road Ability 5
- Value for Money 9
Maserati Levante S GranSport
Maserati has transferred their traditional sport car qualities to the Levante S and in the wait for the GTS it takes the performance mantle and retains all the characteristics expected of a Maserati. The Maserati Levante S GranSport is a grand tourer in the traditional sense