Ferrari power drives Maseratis new Levante S

Powered by a twin turbo V6 petrol engine, the new Maserati Levante S is the halo member of the Italian marque’s luxury SUV family.

Powered by a twin turbo V6 petrol engine, the new Maserati Levante S is the halo member of the Italian marque’s luxury SUV family.

Maserati’s claim that the Ferrari-built powerhouse delivers sports car-rivaling performance – 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds – holds some validity, as our drive at the Levante S’s launch recently showed.

Power maxes out at 321kW @ 5750rpm, while peak torque of 580Nm of torque in Sport mode kicks in @ 1750rpm and stays true until 5000rpm. The engine’s specific torque of 194Nm per litre is the best in the luxury SUV class, Maserati says, as is its specific power (107kW/litre). In Sport driving mode, the exhaust by-pass system provides the soundtrack usually reserved for a red-blooded sports or GT car, complete with blip on gear changes.

Maserati’s Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive comes as standard across the range. The system is developed to deliver a typical Maserati rear-wheel drive experience, even in low-grip road conditions. In a matter of 150 milliseconds, it can alter the front/rear torque split from 0:100 to 50:50 percent.

Factor in also a mechanical limited-slip differential, active air suspension with five selectable ride heights, performance tyre and Brembo brake packages, and the Levante provides the platform to do the twin turbo V6 justice.

Basically, only on tighter back road bends does the Levante S feel like the 2.1 tonne SUV it is. Otherwise, it steers and grips impressively and rides the bumps compliantly.

Typical of the Maserati brand, the interior is a fusion of style and refinement. As well as the base model S, there are higher specification GranSport and GranLusso variants (priced accordingly), but just how luxury or sport personified you want is up you. There are no less than five interior trim choices, seven different alloy wheel styles and four brake caliper colours amongst a plethora of personalisation choices.