The popularity of sport utility vehicles has definitely made an impact on the upper echelon of auto manufacturers. Try to name one that doesn’t offer an SUV?
Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini all sell SUVs. So does Maserati, which added the luxury midsize Levante to its stable of vehicles four years ago. The upscale SUV certainly wasn’t made for the masses, evidenced by the price range – $76,100 to $170,100.
Price is an obvious factor in terms of sales for the esteemed Italian auto manufacturer. There were 5,483 Maserati Levante models sold in 2017 and a year later the figure dipped to a meager 1,475.
Part of the Italian-American car giant, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Maserati has traditionally put one aspect at the forefront – performance. Even though it values other aspects, Maserati’s engines are its greatest asset. With that in mind, it’s no accident that the 2019 Maserati Levante possesses some serious power.
All Levante models come standard with eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive (called Q4). Its engine lineup features some performance-laden twin-turbocharged V6 and V8 options. The horsepower starts at 345 and goes as high as 590 hp in the top-of-the-line engine.
We didn’t have the most powerful Levante, but the standard engine still offered extraordinary performance. Push the Levante a little bit on a rather deserted open road and one can get the speedometer close to triple digits very easily.
The standard Levante engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter, V6, with 345 horsepower and an optional 424 horsepower. It’s quite powerful in normal mode and goes up a notch when the sport mode is activated. It feels faster than 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. The top speed is reportedly 156 mph.
Naturally, the more impressive performing engine is the twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter, V8 that generates 550 horsepower (optional 590 hp) and 538 pound-feet of torque. It’s two seconds quicker than the standard engine, clocked at roughly 3.9 seconds going 0-60 mph with a ceiling speed of purportedly 187 mph.
Considering its performance, this should come as no surprise that where the Levante doesn’t excel is fuel economy. The standard engine gets 15-21 mpg and the optional one is 15-19 mpg. But a huge gas tank (21.1 gallons) will mean trips to the pumps won’t be frequent.
2019 Maserati Levante
- Performance: twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter, V6, 345 horsepower; twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter, V8, 550 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 15-21 mpg; 15-19 mpg
- Price estimate: $76,100 to $170,100
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 4 years/50,000 miles; roadside assistance: 4 years/50,000 miles; corrosion: 4 years/50,000 miles
One doesn’t expect the same exquisite handling in the Levante that its sports cars or sedans possess. Yet the Levante still resides in the top tier among SUVs. It is extremely nimble and responsive on challenging roads and can do the mundane like slipping into a tight space in a parking lot. At high speeds it provides a quiet and stable ride.
What we found a little startling was the Levante interior was not that high tech. While it’s good overall, one expects a little more bling with a luxury brand like Maserati. What was nice to discover is one doesn’t have to dive into the manual to figure out the standard 8.4-inch navigational screen – it’s fairly easy to decipher.
Comfort is another Levante strength. Both driver and passenger are residing in leather upholstery and have 12-way power adjustable front seats with memory (driver only). There are several 12-volt outlets and the armrest bin can keep drinks warm or cool with an air vent that can hold even large water bottles. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
Up front the head and leg room are spacious. That’s not always the case in the second row if three adults are seated. Like most vehicles, two is company and three can be a crowd. Because the Levante is long, one is a bit surprised there’s no third row and the cargo area is only 20.5 cubic feet. A long, stylish front end eats up lots of the Levante length.
Although the 2019 Maserati Levante is an impressive SUV, price is obviously one of its major drawbacks. If price is not a major concern, this is a refined SUV with lots of upside that will be a pleasing purchase.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.