Maserati’s first SUV is an impressive initial stab at the performance SUV segment, but even its hottest variant, packing 424 horsepower, is no match for rivals like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and upcoming Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVR. To that end, Autocar is reporting that the Italian luxury brand is working on a range-topping Levante GTS.
While the standard Levante and Levante S use turbocharged V6 engines, the GTS is set to use a Ferrari-built V8 (shared with the Quattroporte GTS). The twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter mill will churn up 530hp and 523 pound-feet of torque – figures that closely resemble the 520-hp Cayenne Turbo, but fall short of the Turbo S’s 570-hp boast.
The Levante won’t just pack a big engine, either. Maserati will tune the SUV’s suspension, chassis, and steering for increased stiffness and responsiveness. We can also expect a brake upgrade to counteract the potential bump in momentum. Like other Maserati models (especially those with V8 motors), the Levante GTS will sound the part of a performance vehicle as well.
Aesthetically, more aggressive bodywork, larger wheels, and unique trim will distinguish the Levante GTS. Look to the Quattroporte GTS for exterior styling cues. Inside, as is the trend for hotted-up rides, carbon fiber trim will cover a few surfaces and sport seats will feature more bolstering. Nothing says sporty like kidney-squeezing chairs.
The addition of a pair of cylinders will likely add a bit of weight, but the extra power will drop the GTS’s 0-to-60 mph performance below the Levante S’s 5.0-second benchmark. We’d wager a sprint in the mid-four-second range and a theoretical top speed of 170-plus mph (though an electronic limiter may cap that at 155 mph).
With the Levante S starting at $83,800, the range-topping GTS should nestle just under $100K before any options are considered. That may sound like a huge chunk of change, but considering the Cayenne Turbo commands $116K out of the gates, it may prove a relative bargain.
If a V8-powered Maserati SUV doesn’t suit you, the upcoming hybrid may be more your style. Maserati will reportedly mate a 3.0-liter V6 with an electric motor (derived from the Chrysler Pacifica) for about 33 miles of all-electric driving.
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