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Premium SUV sales are on the boil

Premium SUV sales are on the boil – the SUV market above $70,000 on fire with a number of new entries. This week Maserati’s Levante arrived and I had a full day of driving on and off the racetrack. Any doubts that the Italian sports car maker could cross the threshold and build a sporty SUV were quickly allayed for the Levante has a very sporty character – Only one engine choice, a 3-litre V6 turbo diesel in three Maserati Levante models that span from the entry model at 140,000 to the higher grade Sport and Luxury variants, both priced at $160,000. The engine pumps out a massive 600Nm of torque with 0 to 100km performance a sharp 6.9 seconds. I indicated last year in my preview that the lack of a petrol engine was a disappointment however the diesel is so strong and responsive it’s a real surprise. – extremely smooth and lively with max torque developed from 2000 to 2600 revs. It feels bullet proof and linked to an eight speed automatic it delivers the sporty character you expect from a Maserati. My choice would be the higher grade Levante Sport or Luxury, both of which come with wheel mounted shift paddles and some nice comfort, convenience and safety additions – the option list is expansive like most European luxury imports and the biggest difficulty will be getting one without some added options – order a Maserati Levante today and you should get one in May.

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