The luxury SUV market in New Zealand is to get another newcomer, this one in the form of the four-wheel-drive Maserati Levante.
Both Bentayga and Levante have geographic meanings. Bentayga comes from a combination of ‘Taiga’ – the world’s largest snow forest that crowns the entire Northern Hemisphere – and ‘Roque Bentayga’, a rugged peak in the Canary Islands. Levante has something to do with the rising of the sun in the east.
The SUV has been described by Maserati CEO Harald Wester not as the company’s most important car but its “biggest business opportunity.”
“I think when you talk about a brand like Maserati, you have to distinguish between the products that have determined the brand’s business opportunities,” Wester said.
The official pictures here show only the Levante’s exterior; interior shots will be released at Geneva. Expect plenty of leather.
There’s a hint of the Porsche Cayenne about the design of the Levante. The large Maserati grille and slim headlights dominate the nose of the car, while creases and flowing lines add some sportiness to the shape. At the back there’s a roof spoiler and steep windscreen, as well as a sporty bumper and exhaust pipe set-up.
Maserati has already confirmed engine choices as a pair of twin-turbo V6 petrol units, a premium petrol V8, and three diesels delivering between 184kW and 257kW. Each engine is Euro6 compliant. Standard is an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
A plug-in hybrid is also expected to join the range. All Levantes will be four-wheel drive. The Maserati Levante is built at the Mirafiori plant in Turin.