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Maserati Levante 2022 Review

Maserati’s first attempt at an SUV, now updated. It went on sale two years ago, but has now been tweaked and preened to make it fit for purpose against the latest Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport et al. Nothing fundamental has changed – the Levante is still based on the Ghibli/Quattroporte platform, but has been mildly facelifted with new bumpers, trims and a new engine.

If the current crop of German and Japanese luxury mid-size SUVs fail to get your blood pumping, the 2022 Maserati Levante might have the muscle and flair that you're looking for. Whereas most Audi and Mercedes-Benz SUVs' standard engines are turbocharged four-cylinders, the Levante goes straight into the good stuff, starting with a twin-turbo V-6 base engine and culminating with an optional twin-turbo V-8 that's good for up to 580-hp.

At first glance, the Levante's cabin appears to be the ultimate in poshness; it's layered with fine materials—including a unique leather-and-silk upholstery option from fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna­. But a closer inspection reveals some parts-sharing from mainstream Jeeps and Chryslers that take us out of the high-end fantasy we expect from the trident-badged brand. The Levante's impressive performance speaks volumes though, and the Maserati brand's boutique nature means buyers will be driving something with built-in exclusivity.

Maserati has given the Levante lineup an overhaul for 2022, ditching the familiar GranLusso, GranSport, and GTS models with a new three-trim arrangement that starts with the luxury-oriented GT and steps up to the sportier Modena and high-performance Trofeo. The GT is powered by the twin-turbo V-6 engine, which has received a slight power bump to 350-hp. The Modena gets a pumped-up version of the V-6 with 430-hp while the Modena S boasts a 550-hp twin-turbo V-8. The Trofeo is powered by a 580-hp version of the twin-turbo V-8. All models receive updated Maserati logos throughout and sport new trim badging above the Levante's fender-mounted vents.

The Levante gives them a run for their money in the looks department. Its gaping, concave grille complete with Maserati trident badge, slim headlights and long bulging bonnet give it immense road presence. But, inside, the Range Rover and Porsche outclass it. The Levante’s plastics, leathers and switches just aren’t good enough at this price level.

And neither is it’s 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Yes, sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio are all standard, but the screens poor resolution and small, tricky-to-hit buttons frustrate while driving. At least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, improving the user experience greatly once you’ve plugged in your smartphone.

Space and practicality is a closer-run thing, although if you value space highly, then there are ultimately better SUVs. The Levante is great for a couple of adults in the front and the driver gets loads of electric seat and wheel adjustment, but knee room in the back is nothing more than average, while there are ultimately bigger boots on offer if you’re often cramming yours full of luggage.

All Levantes are comfy over bumps and prove entertaining to drive by the standards of large SUVs, but if any model provides a solid link to Maserati’s racing pedigree, it’s the V8 GTS and Trofeo. The latter in particular is the ultimate expression of the Levante, with its Ferrari-derived V8 engine offering up staggering performance and probably the best exhaust note of any SUV on sale, albeit alongside wallet-bashing fuel use.

The Trofeo is also the most fun of any Levante to drive. Its unique Corsa driving mode sharpens all its controls, turns up that bellowing exhaust and switches off the traction control. Set so, aside from slightly numb steering, the Trofeo feels impressively agile despite its 2.1-tonne weight. Its clever all-wheel-drive system will stubbornly drag you out of corners if needed, or with enough throttle provide sideways action too. All-told, you won’t lap a circuit as quickly as in the Porsche, but you’ll have more fun doing it.

Which leaves price: the Levante is well-equipped as standard but not cheap, especially so fitted with a V8 engine. However, its prices broadly align with alternatives’ and, if anything, the GTS and Trofeo warrant the most attention for providing the most authentic Maserati experience.

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