The Maserati Levante will compete against a host of relatively new and established luxury players, including the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Infiniti QX70, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLE wagon, the Porsche Cayenne, and the Volvo XC90.
“The Levante will take Australians to places that have never previously seen a Maserati and doing things previously unthinkable for a car wearing the legendary Trident badge, thanks to its unique four wheel drive system and suspension as well as its flexible and versatility body,” Maserati Australia chief operating officer Glen Sealey said.
““But wherever the Levante takes its new Australian owners, they will be travelling like all previous Maserati owners with superlative style, performance, handling and road holding combined with unique levels of personalisation and exclusivity,” he said.
The Maserati Levante will feature only one engine – a 202kW/600Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel – fitted to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. All models will come equipped with all-wheel-drive, and are fitted with air suspension that can adjust through five drive modes and eight centimetres of height difference – important for lowering the car and making it more taut for carving corners, and building in softer-performing off-road clearance.
Prices start from $139,990 for the Maserati Levante Turbo Diesel, and steps up to $159,990 for either the Sport or Luxury models.
Standard equipment includes keyless entry and start, an eight-speaker audio system, leather seats, bi-xenon headlights and a powered tailgate. The Luxury grade adds a 12-way electric adjust front seats, more visual bling and Zegna silk highlights to the cabin, while the Sport grade includes 12-way electric adjust front sports seats, blacked-out features, red brake calipers, gear shift paddles, sports pedals and a power-adjust steering column.
Reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors are also standard.
Maserati predicts the Levante will become the brand’s most popular model, outpacing the Maserati Ghibli small sedan that was reintroduced to the marque’s showroom in 2014.
It’s a formula that has worked well for rivals. Despite its late arrival last year, Jaguar’s F-Pace has accounted for almost 30 percent of the brand’s sales. In contrast, Porsche’s sales of the Macan small SUV and Cayenne mid-sizer snared four out of every five sales for the sports car brand in 2016.