May (possibly) drive well, but will definitely sound excellent.
Italian carmaker Maserati is aiming its crosshairs at a very lucrative segment, seemingly unhappy with the dominance that cars like the Range Rover Sport SVR, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk have on the high-performance SUV segment. This is fitting of course, as even to our minds it would only be sensible that an Italian firm be able to conquer this end of the market with style and panache.
However, reeling from the disappointment that the standard Levante left us with (you can read our review here), it appears that while the company has gone to the trouble of updating and refreshing their nascent SUV, they aren’t going to stop there. A Levante GTS is coming, a snarling V8 brute that will take on the very best in the segment and aims to conquer this segment once and for all.
More than just an engine, the Levante GTS will pack things like a bespoke chassis setup that will put performance above all else, along with the typical aesthetic revisions that will mark out this aggressive high-riding wagon against its less angry siblings. Carbon fibre will, naturally, be applied liberally wherever it can be, and the whole wagon will sit on massive 22-inch wheels that will complement the various styling addenda that will accompany a hotter variant.
Under the bonnet will likely lie a Ferrari-developed bi-turbo V8 engine, similar to the 3.8-litre engine that is presently employed in the lower-riding Quattroporte GTS saloon, where it manages a respectable 390kW and 710Nm. With that sort of power, the Levante GTS would be put smack-bang in the middle of the hottest SUVs out there, like the Cayenne Turbo and the Range Rover Velar SVR.
The hottest Levante will also be the dearest Levante, capping the range that employs V6 petrol or diesel options for motivation. Presently, the Levante V6 S GranSport dominates the lineup, and based on that, the Levante GTS is posited to carry a price tag north of £80,000 on introduction (or $135,000 in our money). At that price, the Levante will have to do battle with cars like the Range Rover Sport (also with a V8, but supercharged) and various other power-monsters that will give the Italian contender a real run for its money.
That said, all that power will amount to nothing if the changes done under the skin aren’t enough to inject the Levante with the Maserati spirit that we know and love. This lumbering, inaccurate luxury family vehicle, presently, doesn’t quite measure up to the segment best, but the GTS may be the turning point. We’ll just have to wait and see, as the Levante GTS is expected to make its debut sometime next year.