Another notch on the belt of the big-buck SUV brigade clicks into place following the reveal of the production Maserati Levante.
From the side the Levante looks SUV-generic in shape, but with details that link it to its Italian maker. Three square air vents on the front three quarter panels, flared rear haunches, the ‘Saetta’ logo on the C-pillar and frameless doors give a nod to the Quattroporte with which the SUV will shares its drivetrains.
The front styling is more aggressive than that large sedan, though, owing more to the medium-sized Ghibli with its small and piercing headlights giving way to a grille with bold vertical indents.
The rear is far smoother in its lines except for the aggression of the quad exhausts. Even Maserati calls the front “aggressive” and the rear “tapered”.
Maserati is keeping powder dry on drivetrain specifications, except to say that an eight-speed automatic will be standard, with a choice of petrol or diesel availability.
No prizes for guessing it will likely take these from the Ghibli and Quattroporte stable, including 202kW/600Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 and 243kW or 301kW/500Nm or 550Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol. The 390kW/650Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 may get a start, too.
Every Levante will also get ‘Q4’ all-wheel drive system and adaptive suspension with air springs.
“At a technical level, the Maserati Levante’s chassis is designed to combine the outstanding on-road performance typical of every Maserati with unrivalled handling even on very low-grip surfaces and an excellent off-road performance and ride,” the brand claims.
The Italian competitor to the Volkswagen Group’s Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne is confirmed to start rolling off the Turin production line in the second quarter of 2016 for Europe, before going global late this year.
Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!