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Maserati’s Cayenne-fighting Levante will finally break cover in Geneva

Maserati Levante teaser
Fiat-owned Maserati is finally ready to reveal the Levante, its first-ever SUV. Designed to take on the hot-selling Porsche Cayenne, the luxurious off-roader will make its official debut next month at the Geneva Auto Show.

A dark teaser image confirms that Maserati’s first-ever crossover borrows more than a few styling cues from the Ghibli and the range-topping Quattroporte. Up front, it features sharp headlights, a hexagonal grille with eight vertical slats, large air dams and a power dome hood. Patent images leaked last year show the fenders are fitted with three vents, a heritage-laced stylistic feature shared with the Quattroporte, the Ghibli, and the GranTurismo.

The Levante needs to pack a powerful punch to compete in the same arena as the vaunted Porsche Cayenne. While technical details are being kept under wraps until the Geneva show, we expect the SUV will be offered with two V6 engines rated at 350 and 450 horsepower, respectively, and 580-horsepower V8 massaged with input from Ferrari. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive will come standard regardless of how many ponies are under the hood.

The spec sheet might look different in Europe. It’s not unreasonable to assume our friends across the pond will have access to at least one turbodiesel engine and even a six-speed manual transmission. However, neither feature is being considered for North America.

Manufactured in Turin, Italy, the Maserati Levante will carry a base price of approximately $100,000 when it goes on sale as a 2017 model later this year. Cheap it ain’t, but Maserati believes it can sell between 10,000 and 15,000 examples of its off-roader annually. Its main markets will be the United States and, of course, China, and the Levante will go a long way in helping Maserati reach its ambitious goal of selling 75,000 cars a year by 2018.

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