2019 Maserati Levante GTS Review By Larry Nutson
2019 Maserati Levante GTS
The House of Trident
By Larry Nutson
Executive Producer and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
My, how the automotive landscape has changed.
As I look back in time I would never have thought that brands renowned for ultra luxury or boutique sports car makers would foray into the SUV market. But today there are quite a number. Porsche was first. And now we have Maserati, Roll-Royce, Bentley and Lamborghini in the SUV mix. Ferrari will soon join in.
Maserati’s Levante is a five-passenger, mid-size SUV. The Levante name comes from a wind that blows across the Mediterranean. Powerful V6 and V8 engines built at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy provide the “push.”
My first exposure to the 2019 Maserati Levante was at a media preview program last summer. I did some brief street driving and also had a hot-lap ride-along in the GTS model around the M1 Concourse race circuit in Pontiac, Michigan.
Following that, in October I drove the GTS at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL.
Levante pricing starts at $76,980 with the GTS’ base price is $120,980.
This time around I had a bit more time to take in the Levante. Living with it on the streets of Chicago for a bit over a week afforded plenty of time to fall in love, or not.
Under the hood of the Levante GTS is a 550-HP twin turbo 3.8-L V8 that’ll push you to 60mph in 4 seconds flat and top things out at 181mph. It’s the same engine as used the flagship Quattroporte GTS. Driving through an 8-speed automatic, the Maserati Q4 intelligent all-wheel drive system puts the power to the ground. What’s not to like about all this.
Even with all that power at your commend the Levante GTS is quite docile and pleasant to motor around on city streets. Its overall dimension is not too large making for comfortable big-city maneuvering. I was a bit cautious about potholes, as the GTS was equipped with the optional Pirelli 3-season summer performance tires mounted on 22-inch rims. Pricey!
Out on the open highway or on suburban or exurban low-traffic roads is where the GTS excels. Add some twists and turns and the fun begins. While quiet on the inside, dynamically the sport character of the Maserati brand shines through. Nicely compliant suspension tuning, easy to modulate brakes and good steering feedback deliver lots of confidence in spirited driving. If you should venture off the beaten path the adjustable air suspension provides more ground clearance. Engage sport mode and it adjusts to a lower ride height for improved aero.
A full contingent of ADAS equipment….advanced driver assist safety technology, is available.
The overall exterior design of the Levante is distinctive and sets it apart from the all-to- often typical SUV design approach. Unique to the GTS is a more aggressive lower front fascia, blacked-out grille bars, and body-color rear spoiler, door handles, and lower molding.
Inside the cockpit the bespoke materials and finishes such as the Piano Fiore natural leather along with carbon fibre trim evoke a certain Italianate feeling. Soft door closures, a Bowers & Wilkens audio system, Alcantara headliner and door pillars and the stitched trident on the headrests are just a small part of the custom interior.
Optioned out, the Levante GTS I was driving had a bottom line of $136,890.
Maserati has been around since 1914 building luxury sports cars and renowned racing cars. Today it is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Of note, a documentary film “Maserati – A Hundred Years Against All Odds” is the first-ever comprehensive film that has been made about the marque and history of the iconic Maserati brand and includes never-before-seen rare and archival historic footage. Watch a clip here, https://vimeo.com/103237314
© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy