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Geneva show: Maserati reveals Levante

Out there: Maserati's all-terrain Levante has finally broken cover in production form and is expected to do well in Australia's SUV hungry market when it arrives early next year.

Levante set to be company best seller in Australia says Maserati


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22 Feb 2016

AFTER 13 years of flirting with high-riding concepts, Maserati has finally unveiled its first SUV production model with the all-new Levante, set to make its debut at the Geneva motor show next month.

While the existing range of Ghibli, Quattroporte, GranTurismo and GranCabrio continue to gain traction in Australia, when it arrives early next year, the Levante is expected to become the best-selling Maserati to date, eclipsing the current best-selling Ghibli.

That prediction puts the trident-badged all-terrain vehicle in a position to sell more than the 29 Ghiblis sold on average each month, but quite how much it can beat the sporty coupe's achievement by will have to wait until 2017.

Last year the car-maker secured 519 registrations, so the Levante could be charged with the task of generating about 1000 local sales or about 80 per month.

Maserati's local distributor European Automotive Imports spokesman Edward Rowe told GoAuto that the Levante was critical to achieve the company's Australian and New Zealand sales target of 1500 per year.

“It is expected that it will become the best-selling Maserati model in the Australian line-up, overhauling the Ghibli,” he said.

“In doing so, it will be key in Maserati reaching the goal of 1500 units a year in the Australian and New Zealand markets in the first year of full Levante availability and supply, which will be 2018 or 2019, depending on supply.” The first official shots of the Levante reveal the use of some classic Maserati features that align with the other four models in the current line-up, such as the large vertical bar grille, triple front wing ports, trapezoidal C-pillar and a coupe like roof-line despite its SUV stance.

No specific technical details have been confirmed for the Levante range, but it is known that the Quattroporte will share its platform, while “both petrol and diesel engines” are likely to be the same turbocharged V6 and V8 petrol and V6 diesel engines of the large sedan range.

The Italian car-maker says that in addition to “outstanding on-road performance”, the Levante will also have “excellent off-road performance and ride” thanks to its Q4 “intelligent” four-wheel drive system.

Power is sent to all four corners via an eight-speed automatic transmission which has been tailored for the car, and each tyre is kept in contact with the surface by switchable air-suspension regardless of the type of terrain encountered.

No interior views have been offered with the official release, but the Levante's cabin is expected to offer the similar levels of refinement of its luxury sedan sibling, including wall-to-wall leather, low noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels, and plenty of comfort features.

A glimpse through its tinted windows hints at a sculpted red leather sports interior with room for five and iconic Saetta trident embroidered into the head restraints.

Pirelli P Zero rubber clothes meaty 21-inch wheels, while braking is managed by red six-piston callipers at the front end and four-pot versions at the back.

The Levante will join a growing entourage of opulent SUV entrants mounting a wave of pressure against the established Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover, including the imminent Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Jaguar F-Pace and an enigmatic offering from Rolls-Royce.

Maserati reports that the Levante has already gone into production and the first examples have started rolling out of the Italian factory in Turin, ahead of the official European launch date in “spring”.

If it wants to beat the large luxury sports segment favourites in sales, the Levante will have to more than triple the performance of the Ghibli to match the Porsche's Cayenne which chalked up more than 100 sales per month in 2015, while the big three German brands (BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz) manage a figure closer to 300.

The company first confirmed it was considering an SUV when the first-generation Kubang concept debuted in 2003, but its continued interest was clear when the name reappeared at the 2011 Geneva show as a second concept.

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