Maserati Levante SUV (2016): a peek inside Maser's 4x4 | CAR Magazine

Maserati Levante SUV (2016): a peek inside Maser's 4x4

Published: 25 January 2016 Updated: 25 January 2016

Spyshots of Maserati SUV
► New Levante launches in 2016
► Latest photos glimpse interior

CAR’s spies have once caught the new Maserati Levante SUV in pre-production testing, and have this time gained a clear view of its interior.

Behind the drapes and data-gathering gear, much of the cabin appears to be remarkably similar to that of the (let’s be honest, slightly underwhelming) Maserati Ghibli saloon, including the door cards, centre console and giant paddle-shifters.

The luxury 4×4 is expected to make its debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2016.

Maserati Levante: a curvier kind of 4×4

The Levante, which will wade into battle against the likes of the Jaguar F-Pace, Porsche Macan and even Bentley’s upcoming Bentayga, will feature curvier design cues than most typical upright-drawn 4x4s, with arcing haunches above the wheels and narrow, elongated lights. It’ll be interesting to find out whether Maserati’s designers have been able to preserve boot space and rear headroom beneath that curved roofline. Ground clearance is generous and Maserati claims the car will offer genuine off-road ability.

Many of the original 2011 Kubang concept SUV’s visuals are tipped to make it onto the production car, including the Maserati GranTurismo-aping tail-light treatment. Under the skin, however, much has changed.

Latest on the Levante from Maserati chief Harald Wester

Maserati will start building the new Levante SUV in February 2016, the company’s chief executive confirmed to CAR in a recent interview. Rather than a platform-share with Jeep (the Kubang was designed to fit around the hard points of the Grand Cherokee), all components will be sourced from within Maserati. The Levante will be built upon the same modular floorpan as the Ghibli and Quattroporte, and constructed at the Fiat group’s Mirafiori factory in Italy.

Engines are also tipped to shared with Ghibli and Quattroporte, with 3.0 V6 and 3.8 V8 power at launch, with diesel variants and a high-performance GTS model also in the pipeline.

Maserati Levante: a crucial car

SUVs account for an enormous proportion of the luxury car market that Maser occupies – as much as half of it, depending on who you speak to – and with Porsche, BMW and, now, Jaguar and Bentley toeing a first foothold, Maserati can’t afford to miss out.

Although 2014 was a record year for Maserati sales, the company posted a 30% drop in profits for the second quarter of 2015. It’s banking on the Levante to pull it out of the dive.

Read more on Maserati’s future product plans from CAR’s interview with chief executive Harald Wester here.

By James Taylor

Former features editor for CAR, occasional racer