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Maserati Levante V6 Petrol S is here

We have driven the diesel version of the Maserati Levante and it’s overall ability left us impressed, a real alternative to the usual Chelsea tractors on the Sainsbury car park. We did question at the time of the Levante’s launch why a petrol version wasn’t available, to which Maserati simply said they didn’t think the market was there in the UK, well for whatever reason, the Italian carmaker changed their mind and we for one are glad, so here it is, the V6 petrol Levante…

Maserati has received a massive boost in its fortunes from its new Levante crossover. It’s already the firm’s biggest seller, and looking like the base on which Maserati’s future success will be built. Not bad, considering it’s only been around for 15 months. The next crucial step for Maserati is to keep the Levante competitive in its class, and to that end here’s a model-year update just 18 months after the car’s unveil. Globally, the update is mainly to do with safety and convenience features, but there’s a big change for the UK market as we mentioned, with the arrival of the 424bhp 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged petrol engine.

 

Up till now, only the 271bhp V6 diesel has been on offer in RHD markets, but now we’ll also have the 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged petrol unit in its 424bhp S flavour. There is a 345bhp version too, which we may get later. There will be three Levante spec levels from now on, with an introductory model joined by a luxury 19-inch-wheeled ‘GranLusso’ chromey specification and a performance 20-inch-wheeled piano-black with red trimmings ‘GranSport’. On the other side of the soft-close frameless doors, you’ll find a very rich ambience with supple, bright leather on very comfy front seats, legroom in the back is good too, even our 6ft plus representative from Maserati wasn’t scrunched up, despite our best efforts!

New active safety features include traffic sign recognition and lane- and distance-keeping systems. The provision of these systems has necessitated a switch from hydraulic to electromechanical power steering. It’s now lighter at parking speeds, with the facility (in sportier driving modes) to add extra weighting. In ‘normal’ mode on roads the Levante displayed the kind of ride comfort and insulation you’d expect from a luxurycar brand. Pressing ‘sport’ twice sets up the powertrain, drops the standard air suspension by 20mm, stiffens the ‘skyhook’ adaptive dampers and reduces steering assistance. That sequence of events turns the Levante into a genuine enthusiast’s car, certainly the Audi Q7 we encountered couldn’t seem to stick with us on a few B-roads as we continued our test.

Giving a nod to what lies under the bonnet, knowing that it is a Ferrari-developed twin-turbo petrol engine, and your enjoyment goes up by another substantial notch. There’s no noticeable turbo lag, it just wants to go, the pull is keen and the revs flow sweetly. The sound through Maserati’s active sports exhaust is genuine and requires no artificial enhancement. It is a really nice place to be, pulling up at a local restaurant and looking round at some of the other luxury SUV’s around, the Levante just looks that bit more special, combining sporty looks with prestige, if one of those owners came out now and offered to swap keys for one of their 4×4’s I wouldn’t take them on, it’s the Maserati all the way for me…

 

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