Geneva Motor Show LIVE: Maserati Levante image

Maserati’s first SUV in the brand’s hundred-year history has finally made its eagerly-anticipated world debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

After the Ferrari spin-off from Fiat-Chrysler, Maserati became the company’s high-end marque. With such a prestigious position, the Italian brand has to live up to its expectations. And an SUV is the best bet these days, as the segment is booming around the world. As with many Maseratis from the past, the new car’s name is inspired by a wind: the Levante is a warm Mediterranean wind that can change from a light breeze to an irresistible natural force in an instant. The design features a distinctive Italian character, with an aggressive front that introduces new, tapered headlights separated into two elements, with the upper headlight unit connected to the radiator grille. Maserati’s design signature is clearly visible on the sides: the three iconic air vents on the front wings, the trapezoidal C-pillar with the “Saetta” logo and the large, frameless door windows. The rear is dominated by the very tapered back window and streamlined shape, both typical of a high-performance sports car.

The new Maserati SUV rides on an evolved version of the Quattroporte and Ghibli architecture, sharing the same powertrains. The Levante is fitted with a 3 litre V6 Twin-Turbo petrol engine with either 350hp or 430hp, and a 275hp 3 litre V6 Turbo Diesel. All engines are combined with the “Q4” intelligent all-wheel drive system – which can transfer torque between the axles when required – and an 8-speed automatic gearbox, with the integrated Start&Stop system. In terms of performance, the Levante S (430hp) covers 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, has a top speed of 264 km/h, and provides a combined consumption and emission figures of 10.9 l/100 km and 253g CO2/km respectively.

Maserati Levante Geneva 2016 02 (2)

The brand claims the new SUV has the lowest centre of gravity in its class, a balanced 50-50 weight distribution between front and rear, and comes with a mechanical self-locking rear differential as standard. It also has a double-wishbone suspension on the front axle and multi-link on the rear, combined with electronically controlled damping and four corner air-springs providing 5 dynamic ride levels (plus one additional park-position).

The Maserati Levante is built at the Mirafiori plant in Turin. The first cars have already come off the assembly line with the launch planned for this spring in Europe, to be followed by the rest of the world later this year. The list price for the Swiss market, where the Levante can already be ordered, is 75.900 CHF.