Maserati SUV mule 1 copy

Just when you thought Maserati had gone quiet about the upcoming Levante SUV, our European photographers have now captured a test mule of the luxury SUV making its rounds in Germany, presumably undergoing durability testing.

The Maserati Levante SUV is set to compete against the likes of other luxury SUVs such as the hugely popular Porsche Cayenne plus two future rivals in the form of the yet-to-be-named Bentley SUV and the Jaguar C-X17 SUV concept.

As this is only a mule, the entire body appears to be nothing more than a disguised Maserati Ghibli with an increased ride height. The only minor aesthetic difference that one can probably spot is the widened wheel arches, which is especially noticeable from the rear.

Don’t let the hump on the roof of the car throw you off, though. From the looks of it, Maserati is probably adding the extra weight on top of it to simulate an increase in the centre of gravity. The Levante will most likely employ a variation of the platform currently underpinning the Ghibli and Quattroporte.

As for engine and transmission options, the likely choices would probably come from the Ghibli range which consists of two petrol and one diesel engine – all three being turbocharged V6 units – paired to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. Expect Maserati’s Q4 all-wheel drive system to be offered as standard.

Come next year, potential Cayenne owners will be spoiled rotten as they can look forward to a plethora of offerings from Bentley, Jaguar and Maserati – with the Levante expected to make its debut in September at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show before being delivered to customers in early 2016.