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Maserati Levante SUV: a surprise package

Last year when I previewed Maserati’s first foray into SUV’s, the Levante, I suggested the lack of a petrol engine would perhaps limit its appeal however after driving it this week on and off the track the 3.0-litre V6 turbo is a surprise package – with 600 Nm of torque it’s just so strong and willing, very responsive, providing the sports performance one expects from a Maserati.

The Levante good looking, immediately identifiable as a Maserati, beautifully finished with a list of bespoke options that lets you personalise it to your own taste. Initial demand has been strong however the importer suggests an order today would mean a May delivery. Three models – the entry Levante at $140,000, with the Sport and Luxury models at $160,000 the ones to own, both gaining paddle gear selectors on the eight speed automatic. The Q4 drive system send 100 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels in normal conditions but when slip is encountered directs 50 percent of the drive to the front wheels. There’s five different drive modes, the air suspension provides 8cm of ride height movement and in the rain this week in race track conditions the stability and handling of the Maserati Levante was top class – with perfect 50/50 weight balance. Ride quality on three wheel sizes 19, 20 and 21 inch is far superior to similar wheel sizes on Jaguar’s new F-Pace SUV but I do prefer the dash layout on the Jag, the wide colour touch screen better than the smaller 8.4cm screen on Levante. I’m David Berthon

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