Maserati is in the midst of resurgence. Not long ago, the Italian automaker was struggling to make sales with just two vehicles in its portfolio: the GranTurismo and the Quattroporte. Both models were beautiful is sound and appearance, but were not without flaws. Then, last year Maserati introduced the Ghibli sport sedan and totally redesigned Quattroporte to rival Germany’s best. In the same year, the Alfieri concept was revealed as a direct challenger to the Jaguar F-Type.
Maserati is refocusing on not only a gorgeous lineup and soulful engines, but on luxury, reliability, and scalable platforms to reach new segments and open the brand to a broader client base. Enter the Maserati Levante, which was previewed by the Kubang concept, and which we now know will debut in January at the North American International Auto Show (a.k.a. the Detroit Auto Show).
This is perhaps Maserati’s most important model yet, not just because the SUV market has surpassed the sedan segment in sales, but because if the product is a strong contender in the luxury crossover game, the Levante could push Maserati to success much like Porsche experienced after introducing the Cayenne.
To say the luxury crossover market is heating up would be a massive understatement. Now the veteran, the Porsche Cayenne has been extensively refined and performs far more like a sport sedan than an SUV. Meanwhile, the BMW X5 and X6, with 552 horsepower M versions may have inflated over the years, but their depth of engineering is hard to match. Mercedes-Benz’s new GLE — especially in AMG trim — has yet to be tested. As with all AMG versions, however, we can expect its engine – in this case a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 — to be one hell of a sales pitch. In addition, Jaguar will be introducing the F-Pace with an SVR derivative making over 500 horses.
The Levante will counter with attractive styling, and a range of potent engines. Options will include a twin-turbocharged V6 in 345 hp and 425 hp flavors, a range of diesels making between 245 hp and 335 hp, and, the top dog, a 552hp V8.
Buyers with between $60,000 and $200,000 to spend on a luxury performance crossover will have a slew of options. Right now, there isn’t a clear winner in terms of aesthetics, performance, or luxury, but let’s be honest, there are far worse problems than too many great vehicle choices.