Maserati Levante

Maserati offers a choice of two different Ferrari-sourced V6 engines in the Levante, each displacing 3.0L and utilizing two turbochargers. In the base Levante, the engine makes 350 hp, which is good enough for a run to 60 in under 6 seconds with a top speed of 156 mph. Opt for the Levante S and power is boosted to 430, while top speed grows to 164 mph. Either way, power is sent to all four wheels through an advanced 8-speed automatic transmission.

All other merits aside, Maserati manages to sell some of their vehicles based on styling alone, and the Levante shouldn't break this tradition. Making an SUV necessitates somewhat macho styling language, but the Levante manages to not overdo it, looking more svelte than its competitors, while still offering lots of little details that catch the eye in pleasing ways. The styling pays off as well, with an extremely slippery, best in class coefficient of drag which contributes to both top speed and fuel economy. In addition, Maserati claims that their new SUV has an ideal 50/50 weight distribution and the lowest center of gravity in its class, both immediately noticeable in the way the vehicle corners.

Standard equipment on the base Levante is fairly extensive, though plenty of optional equipment is still available. Nevertheless, all Levantes come with active air suspension capable of raising and lowering the vehicle to suit conditions, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather interior trim, an 8.4-inch touch screen, plenty of connectivity options for iPhone or Android, bi-xenon headlights and heated front seats that are electronically adjustable. The Levante S adds a few more safety features like a blind spot detection system as well as a Panoramic sunroof.

Maserati takes bespoke manufacturing seriously and there are a ton of options for the Levante, not just in the comfort and convenience department, but in the styling department as well. There are no fewer than eleven different interior color schemes for the seats and dashboard, including a striking shades of red with contrasting inserts. Brake calipers meanwhile can be painted silver, black, red yellow or blue to go along with optional 20-inch or even 21-inch wheels. Four different types of wood are on offer for the interior trim, along with standard piano black and of course, optional carbon fiber. A Harman/Kardon premium sound system offers 10-speakers and 900 watts of power, while an even nicer Bowers and Wilkins sound system is also available. The option list is incredibly extensive with nearly every convenience under the sun on offer, allowing buyers to create the Levante that's perfect for them, while also being a completely unique vehicle. Other standout options include ventilated front seats, a sportier but heated steering wheel, electronic rear window blinds and a heated rear seat.

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Editors' First Take

The Levante Trofeo is one of the more exciting SUVs on sale right now, and for Maserati, it's been successful. So successful, in fact, that Maserati decided to take the Trofeo's secret sauce and apply it to the Ghibli and Quattroporte models, as well.

All three Trofeo models share a Ferrari-designed, cross-plane, 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. This outstanding engine produces 580 horsepower, 538 pound-feet of torque and an exquisite yowl at full chat. The Levante Trofeo SUV uses all-wheel drive, but the Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans only send the V8's power to their rear wheels.

My experience with the 2021 Trofeo range starts at Willow Springs International Raceway -- "the fastest road in the west," as it's known. The Levante feels more at home out on the Big Willow circuit, a super-fast road course with nine turns and a whole lot of elevation changes. Over the course of a half-dozen laps, the Levante impresses with its overall composure, with excellent body control and direct, accurate steering. This might be a nearly 4,800-pound SUV, but it's shockingly easy to place in corners.

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