Ferrari-built unit will throw it in the ring with segment leaders.
Maserati’s been riding a wave of financial success on the back of its new high-riding SUV, the Levante. While it hasn’t been well-received with critics, the badge-value behind the trident means that it’s been a hot-seller anyway. As a result, the boffins at Maserati have identified that it’s left the performance-SUV end of the market untapped, and are looking to rectify that as soon as possible.
Rectification work will come in the form of the Maserati Levante GTS, which will see motivation from a biturbo V8 supplied by Ferrari that is expected to produce around 390kW of power, which will put the Levante GTS in the same league as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the Range Rover Velar SVR, with the former producing about 404kW and the latter expected to match it. Sales on this end of the market have been picking up, with the SUVs themselves narrowing the gap between high-riding wagons and low-slung sports cars with every iteration.
According to an Autocar report, the Levante GTS will offer a more road-biased suspension setup, with revisions expected for its four-corner air-suspension to offer greater driver involvement at the expense of off-road ability (because really, who ever goes properly off-road with these things). The Levante’s ride will likely suffer because of this, but not by much, given the range of ability that air-suspension tends to afford. Enhanced body control will be greatly appreciated though.
No performance variant is complete without some look-at-me aesthetic revisions, and the Levante GTS will not disappoint. Larger wheels with lower-profile tyres are a given, along with mildly-revised bumpers on either end expected too, likely using carbon fibre to emphasise the GTS’ performance focus. The cabin should also see the standard fitment of a lot of kit too, given that the GTS will sit above the present range-topping Levante V6 S GranSport.
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.
Following the Levante GTS will be the a hybrid variant, expected to come in the form of a plug-in hybrid rather than the typical parallel-hybrid. To make that happen Maserati will lean on fellow FCA brand Chrysler, nicking important drivetrain bits from the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (stop laughing), which will offer about 50km of pure-electric driving range.
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.