The auto industry around the world is going through – for lack of a better term – an SUV love affair. Everyone wants to own an SUV, and every car manufacturer thinks that they can make one. While it’s perfectly acceptable for manufacturers to cater to this demand, it takes courage to take a step back and evaluate all your options in order to secure your future.
Now, every brand has a specific character and attitude that’s reflected in their products – but, with time, things change. Which brings me to Maserati – an Italian brand with a century long reputation of manufacturing some of the prettiest and fastest sports cars that the world has ever seen, not to mention a marque with a rather successful racing history. With SUVs being the need of the day, Maserati has had to step out of its comfort zone. What the world gets in return is this gorgeous SUV – the Levante.
Powered by probably the best sounding diesel engine available on the market, the turbo V6 generates 217bhp and a whopping 600Nm of torque – more than enough for you to have a hair-raising experience from behind the wheel. The brakes also feel more than sufficient to stop the car dead in its tracks, even at high speeds. On the road, the Levante drives extremely well and is always planted. Drop the suspension down to its lowest setting, and it really does feel like a sports car – despite its high seating position. At higher speeds on track, some body roll is apparent around bends. But, on the whole, it’s very well behaved and allows you to carry massive speeds through the corners – as demonstrated by a very impressive lap time.
However, it’s not just the engine that gives you this sense of power. I find it amusing the way lesser mortals jump aside, trying not to get impaled by the Trident on the nose of this monstrous machine as it barrels towards them. Oh, and it rides quite well on bad roads too. The only downside to the Levante is the fact that plenty of the switchgear is taken straight from the Fiat-Chrysler parts bin.
The Levante delivers on all the aspects that we’ve come to associate with a Maserati, albeit with a different approach. Let me put it this way, if anyone ever asks you, ‘What do you drive?’ You’ll never get tired of responding – ‘A Maserati.’