2012 Maserati KubangEnlarge Photo
Maserati’s Levante has been years in the making, with the first concept previewing an SUV wearing the trident badge appearing as far back as 2003. We’re now at the stage where test mules are running all over Europe, and thanks to a new report we also know when we’ll first see the Levante in its final form—at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show in January.
The latest information was reported by Dutch website Autovisie, which also claims that production of the Levante will start in March 2016, to be followed quickly by a showroom debut. Only a five-seat version will be launched, as a seven-seater isn’t in keeping with the sports luxury positioning Maserati has carved out for itself.
Underpinning the Levante will be a modified version of the platform found in Maserati’s Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans, complete with the automaker’s own Q4 all-wheel-drive system. The styling, meanwhile, will be derived from Maserati’s Kubang concept car from the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. Don’t expect the Levante to be a clone of the Kubang, however, as Maserati’s design language has evolved since then.
As for engines, expect the same turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and 3.8-liter V-8 gasoline units found in the Ghibli and Quattroporte to make their way into the Levante. We’re hearing that power will be up to 444 horsepower for the V-6 model and 572 hp for the V-8. Expect a diesel in some markets and there's talk of a plug-in hybrid model being launched further down the track.
Key rivals for the Levante will be high-end versions of the Porsche Cayenne and Land Rover Range Rover Sport as well as Bentley’s upcoming Bentayga.