The wait is over! Maserati is now unveiling at the Geneva International Motor Show its new masterpiece the new Levante, the first SUV in the Italian carmaker’s history. The Maserati Levante (Tipo M161) is a mid-size luxury crossover SUV based on the Kubang concept car that debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, and built by Maserati at the Mirafiori factory in Turin.
But is it really the first SUV for Maserati? No! Not really! In 2003 the Italians unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show the Maserati Kubang GT Wagon, a 2003 concept car designed by Italdesign Giugiaro, it was presented under the Maserati brand which was then owned by Ferrari. In accordance with Maserati’s naming tradition, the Kubang is named after a Javanese wind.
The beautiful Kubang GT was developed using the floorplan of the Audi A8, and Maserati hoped for it to be produced in collaboration with Audi. It was designed to use the 90° V8 engine from the Maserati 3200 GT, producing 368 hp (274 kW) at 6250 rpm. Due to the agreement with Audi never being sealed, the Kubang GT was – sadly – never developed past the concept stage.
In 2011, Maserati built the less-elegant Kubang concept as an evolution of the GT Wagon, a concept that let to the Levante. The name is inspired by the warm Mediterranean wind which can change from a light breeze to an irresistible force mirroring the character of the Levante. The new model goes to join the existing range of saloon and sports cars such as the Quattroporto, Ghibli, GranTurismo and GranCabrio models.
The Levante’s design and features have a clear association with the Maserati brand and its distinctive Italian character. The aggressive front introduced new tapered headlights separated into two elements with the upper headlight unit connected to the front grille. Maserati’s design signature is clearly visible on the sides the three iconic air vents on the front wings, the trapezoidal C-pillar with the ‘Saetta’ logo and the large, frameless door windows. The rear is dominated by the very tapered back window and streamlined shape, both typical of a high-performance sports car.
The Levante’s chassis is designed to combine outstanding on-road performance with unrivalled handling even on very low-grio surfaces and excellent off-road performance and ride. The Levante boast a high level of standard content, such as electronic suspensio with controlled damping and air springs, Q4 intelligent all-wheel drive and 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Maserati Levante is built at the Mirafiori plant in Turin; the first cars have already come off the assembly line with the launch planned for this spring in Europe, to be followed by the rest of the world later this year. Come into the beautiful world of Maserati.