For years Maserati had to fight to stay alive. When you look around these days a Maserati is no longer an exception in the streets. The fact that the brand has been able to perform this, is a result of many factors. Releasing new cars such as the Ghibli and Levante but certainly also giving existing models the necessary design updates over the last few years, as we saw with the QuattroPorte. One of the newest members of the family is the Maserati Levante GranLusso.
Presenting a totally new SUV in a world that is almost spoiled with this kind of cars and then manage to keep it on the market is one thing. But giving it upgrades is another thing. That’s exactly what Maserati did earlier this year with the presentation of the GranLusso and the GranSport version. We got to drive the first one, with a diesel engine.
Engine and Performance
The engines include two petrol units and one diesel. The step-in petrol engine is a 350 hp strong V6 that pushes the car from standstill to 62 mph (100 km/h) in nothing more than 6 seconds. If you want to go 0.8 seconds faster to the 62 mph marker there’s the Levante S with a V6 engine producing 430 hp combined with 580 Nm of torque (the normal V6 has 500 Nm).
The diesel version, that we drove, comes with 600 Nm of torque combined with 275 hp. Sprint to 62 mph is done in 6.9 seconds. Not bad for a rather heavy car, definitely because you don’t buy a diesel powered Maserati for its performance. Still, if you ask us, a little bit more power on the diesel engine would not be out of place.
Power to wheels is done through the advanced 8 speed ZF automatic gearbox that can be set in at least seven different driving modes. For daily use there’s the ‘Auto Normal Mode’ where the accent is set on smooth driving combined with lower fuel consumption. Bringing the gearbox in ‘Manual Normal Mode’ you will recognize that gears will change closer to the rev limiter either manually by using the paddles or central gearlever.
‘Auto and Manual Sport Mode’ will make the gearchanges faster together with opening the valves in the exhaust to create a sportive sound. Going off road gives you the choice for both manual and automatic off road mode, when it really get’s slippery there’s the last but not least important setting, I.C.E. mode that stands for Increased Control & Efficienty.
The Levante GranLusso redefines the concept of luxury. The detailed restyling of the exterior comes with an Alfieri-shaped front grille, 19 inch Zefiro light alloy wheels and on our test car the red-painted brake calipers. The exclusive interior changes with wood trim and wood-finished leather steering wheel are combined with additional comfort equipment such as four-zone automatic climate control and heated rear passenger seats.
But there’s more, many more. The Maserati Levante GranLusso now comes standard with features such as Adaptive Air Suspension that does a great job when taking the car into the field, active suspension, autonomous emergency braking system, android digital system, BiXenon headlights, intelligent cruise control and blind sport monitoring. In addition you also get Ermenegildo Zegna Silk interiors and steel illuminated door sills. That is just a little part of the big option list for this car.
Back in the summer of 2017, Maserati invited us to do a 1,000 mile drive in a Levante S. The car was surprisingly good. More than a year later Maserati gave us the GranLusso Diesel to drive for a couple of days.
Upon stepping in, i realized a huge difference. The first question I asked myself was ‘where has this car been’. A big difference between earlier Levante models I drove before, the level of luxury that is promised to come with the GranLusso is really there. The earlier described driving modes perform their work as they should, they really do!
When cruising through the traffic on the rather busy motorways of Belgium, the only part that shows the car’s true nature, is the color. The shining “Blu Emozione” fits the Levante just perfect. Nevertheless, many will say that this is not an SUV color, definitely not on a diesel but that is just a personal choice if you ask me.
Being a Maserati it will never lose its exclusivity wherever you go. SUV’s are designed to be bigger, create more space for the driver and passenger. The exclusive part of being a Maserati could be a limitation to use this car as a daily driver, but the Levante GranLusso will take you wherever you want.
Going off road isn’t a problem. When switching on the ‘off-road mode’ you can feel the changing character of the car. Taking it off-road was a must for me, off course I didn’t take it through any deep mud pools but when being out on the field the Levante just does what is expected. It never got stuck!
The Levante GranLusso is yours for about €94,000 but then, logically, the option list will get you in a higher price range. Engine wise, and we mentioned it before, the 275 hp diesel engine could use a little bit of extra power. Definitely thinking of the fact that this car is and stays a Maserati and while also thinking of its competitors. Maybe the Italian engineers should start thinking about raising the diesel engine to 300+ hp. We’ll see what the future brings.