A new prototype for the upcoming Maserati Levante SUV has been spied undergoing testing. As with previous Levante test mules which have been testing in recent times, this particular one utilises the body of the Maserati Ghibli but with some serious modifications.

Some of these changes include flared wheel arches, a raised roof as well as new suspension, wheels and tyres to ensure it sits like a real off-roader. Beneath the skin, this prototype is very likely using an all-wheel drive system.

Last year, speculation emerged suggesting that the Levante will receive the new 525 hp V8 twin-turbo engine from the Quattroporte when it reportedly goes on sale in 2015. This could then be accompanied by other less powerful unit options among them being the 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 from the Ghibli, a diesel V6 and probably the new V8 diesel from Fiat.

Further details about the Levante remain rather scarce but we do know that production will take place at the marque’s Mirafiro plant in Northern Italy. The first bodies are expected to be produced next year. One key point of debate around the new Levante is what platform it will be based on.

Despite previous rumours indicating that the Levante will utilise the same platform as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Levante SUV will in fact use the platform of the latest Quattroporte albeit somewhat modified.

The Maserati Levante is expected to compete with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport and BMW X5. It should also help Maserati achieve its goal of reaching 50,000 annual sales alongside the new Ghibli and facelifted Quattroporte.

[Via Motor Authority]

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