Maserati Levante preview 1

After making its global debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Maserati Levante has made landfall in Malaysia as its first preview in South East Asia by Naza Italia. The Italian carmaker’s first-ever SUV joins a list of other high-riding vehicles offered by premium brands such as the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and the upcoming Lamborghini Urus.

Before we proceed, the name “Levante” is inspired by a Mediterranean wind that can change from mild to gale force in an instant. This pretty much epitomises the Levante, which “was engineered to master any situation effortlessly.”

Under the hood, the Levante is powered by a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 rated at 350 hp at 5,750 rpm and 500 Nm at 4,500 to 5,000 rpm. A more powerful version of the engine on the Levante S provides 430 hp at 5,750 rpm and 580 Nm at 4,500 to 5,000 rpm. A 3.0 litre turbodiesel V6 is also available, offering 275 PS and 600 Nm.

The engines are paired to a ZF AT8-HP70 eight-speed automatic gearbox with a Q4 all-wheel drive system and rear limited slip differential. Where it counts, the Levante S makes the century sprint time in just 5.2 seconds, while the non-S variant does the same in 6.0 seconds.

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The exterior as you would expect, is distinctively Maserati, beginning with the concave front grille that is also featured on other models like the Ghibli, Quattroporte, GranTurismo and GranCabrio. The top of the grille meets with a pair of bi-xenon headlamps (with LED DRLs), which are linked by a thin chrome strip. Below that, you’ll find the round fog lamps, followed by the vehicle’s lower intakes.

Progressing down the Levante’s sides, you’ll spot the three-hole side vents on the car’s wings, another trademark of current Maserati models, as well as the “Saetta” logo on the C-pillar. The “Saetta” carries on a tradition dating back to 1963, when Maserati first introduced the original Quattroporte (Tipo AM107). The wheels fitted can include 18-inch to 21-inch options (19s here), with different designs.

Viewed from the side, the Levante has a raked roofline that leads to a tapered rear window, all of which helps contribute to a drag coefficient of just 0.31. From this angle, the vehicle’s length of 5,003 mm becomes apparent as well. Other dimensions include a a width of 1,968 mm, height of 1,679 mm, front track of 1,624 mm and rear track of 1,676 mm, as well as a wheelbase of 3,004 mm.

Beneath the sculpted bodywork, the Levante is underpinned by a steel and aluminium chassis featuring a front double wishbone and rear five-link suspension setup, along with a 50:50 weight distribution. As standard, the SUV comes with active air suspension featuring five ride heights and six different modes. This can be further enhanced with the optional Skyhook adaptive dampers.

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Step inside the cabin of the Levante, and you’ll be exposed to a layout that is familiar if you’ve ever sat in a Ghibli. Leather is used to upholster the seats, dashboard and various trim pieces, while soft-touch materials are used in other areas. The colour combination you see here is just one of 28 possible for customers to choose from.

In terms of equipment, the centre stack hosts an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is linked to an eight-speaker sound system, along with the switchgear for the dual-zone climate control system. The centre console meanwhile, is where you’ll find the controls for the car’s chassis systems. For even more customisation, several visual packs – Sport, Luxury and Zegna Edition – can be added, which not only enhance the interior features, but also add to the exterior visuals as well.

Safety and driving assistance include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Rear View & Surround View Camera, Park Assist, and Torque Vectoring.

Naza Italia has yet to confirm the official pricing for the Levante, but it is expected to be launched later in December (this is just a preview). In any case, interested parties can head on over to Naza Italia’s showroom in Petaling Jaya to place a booking.