Back in February Maserati Australia introduced the Italian brands first ever SUV into Australia – the Levante.
We first got the 3.0 litre turbo-diesel version and I got along to the Australian launch of that offering.
Now comes the Maserati Levante S to complete the line-up and under the bonnet of this one is a more powerful twin-turbo V6 petrol engine.
Producing 316kW/580Nm, the petrol-powered Levante is priced from $169,990, a full $30,000 above the starting point for the diesel version.
For the record, Maserati reckons only about 1 in 10 Levante buyers will opt for the petrol-powered version.
So, what’s the verdict? Which one is better? I have to say the Levante S is my preference.
The Maserati Levante is a head-turner with some of the slickest SUV styling going around.
The bog open-mouthed grilles and the signatures ports on the front guards lead an array of interesting and generally quite unique styling touches.
There’s a nice driver info screen, lovely steering wheel and good cabin storage areas, including a chilled centre console bin.
The door pockets though are a weird shape and don’t really hold more than a drink bottle.
Standard kit in the 2018 Maserati Levante S includes safety systems like lane keep assist, auto dipping headlights, active blind-spot assist and highway assist.
There’s also the clever traffic sign recognition system.
While comfort and convenience features like electric steering adjust, sat-nav, electric tailgate, and heated and electrically-adjustable seats also come as part of the package.
Drive and Engine
The more aggressive twin-turbo petrol better suits the sporty SUV and 316kW gives the model the performance that you really would expect from a Maserati.
My only real complaint is that the engineers have given the Levante S an exhaust system that is just a little too conservative.
It sounds fantastic at around 4,500rpm, other than that you really can’t hear the engine at all.
I’m also pleased to say that our test car felt a lot more settled than the diesel-powered cars that I sampled back in February.
For example, the little rattles and the occasional drive-line ‘thud’ that I reported back after that first drive were nowhere to be seen, heard, or felt this time around.
One of the Maserati Levante’s strong suits is its driving position and generally very good visibility, albeit the rear 3/4 view is a bit obscured (typical of an SUV).
Don’t expect a plush and supple ride – it isn’t.
Mostly due to the low profile tyres, the feel on the roads, even in the highway/cruising suspension modes, is firm.
There’s a nice-enough feel inside, though as noted in the initial review, if you’re familiar with other Fiat Chrysler products you’ll notice a lot of common bits and pieces.
That’s not necessarily a negative though, a lot of these components are better than average.
The Maserati Levante S has not yet been tested by ANCAP.
Not So Good
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Lack of support in seat bases
Facts and Figures: 2018 Maserati Levante S
- Engine: 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 producing 316kW/580Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Safety: Not tested
- Warranty: Three years
- Origin: Italy
- Price: from $169,900