The Maserati Levante has ushered in a change in season for its brand, representing the very first time the storied trident badge has graced an SUV. The Levante’s vaunted status as a luxurious, athletic, and uniquely Italian example of the tall-bodied breed guarantees that it will turn heads faster than more sedately styled rivals. Standout items such as an available silk interior, beautifully burnished wood trim, and a menacing, Ferrari-esque exhaust note set the Maserati apart even further. Buyers of the Levante will no doubt be delighted with their purchase despite its flaws—which range from limited cargo-hauling capability to obvious and unfortunate parts sharing with lesser Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) products. A Maserati represents an emotional decision on four wheels, and signing your name on the dotted line requires a leap of faith, a passion for driving, and a well-padded wallet.
What’s New for 2018?
The 2018 Levante lineup sees the addition of GranLusso and GranSport trims to both the base Levante and more powerful Levante S models. All models now come with an electric power-steering system, which also allows for the addition of features such as lane-keeping assist and automatic lane centering. Maserati is also offering a new Nerissimo appearance package which delivers a blacked-out aesthetic by way of Nero (black) paint, dark chrome trim, black window surrounds, and black wheels.
What was New for 2017?
The Levante was all new for 2017, adding a much-needed crossover to Maserati’s portfolio. It borrows its muscular styling and purposeful stance from the Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans, as well as its twin-turbocharged V-6, which provides a soulful exhaust note and thrilling forward thrust, especially in the performance-oriented S model.
Trims and Options We’d Choose
The Levante S remains our pick of the range despite its $86,100 entry price—$1050 more than last year. Why are we so willing to spend money on this higher trim? Simple: The 424-hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, which sings a siren’s song while providing strong acceleration. Additional features help justify the cost:
• Panoramic sunroof and 19-inch wheels
• Sumptuous full-leather interior
• Blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and remote start
Opting for the GranLusso or GranSport trims add $5560 to the bottom line, but the additional features that come with either of those do nothing to improve the Levante’s driving experience, so we’ll leave that decision with you.
While the Levante is not the quickest or most powerful performance luxury crossover, it certainly plays one of the better soundtracks. In the real-world hustle, this Maserati’s acceleration is more than adequate.