2018 Maserati Levante First Drive: Taming the Dunes in Dubai
The 2018 Maserati Levante is not just a sportscar or an SUV – it’s a nice blend of both. The Maserati Levante will likely be priced between Rs 1.6 crore and Rs 1.8 crore.
Maserati invited The Quint to Dubai to drive the 2018 Levante on the highway as well as the sand dunes of Ras al-Khaimah. We drove both the 3-litre V6 diesel Maserati Levante, which is what we will be getting in India, and the 3-litre V6 petrol S variant, powered by a Ferrari engine.
What's New With the 2018 Maserati Levante?
The overall design of the Maserati Levante is the same as its previous model, with the bold trident logo sitting on the massive grille, giving it an aggressive stance. There are minor changes to the cladding and the alloy wheel design.
What’s actually new is the mechanicals. The 2018 Maserati Levante now comes with electric power steering, doing away with the hydraulic steering in the previous model. This shift to an electric power steering system has allowed Maserati to marginally improve emissions and add a whole lot of electronic driving aids.
The 2018 Maserati Levante comes with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. In addition, it also has front cameras in the windscreen and grille, which helps in identifying road signs.
The infotainment system comes with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. It also serves as a display for the reverse camera. The Levante comes in two trim levels – GranSport and GranLusso. The GranSport is done up in red leather interiors, while the GranLusso has Zegna silk and brown leather.
Driving the Levante
In India, we will be getting the 3-litre V6 diesel that puts out 275 PS of power and 600 Nm torque. While this is a punchy engine, the power delivery is pretty linear. It is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. The pneumatic suspension is adjustable and can rise by as much as 40 mm to increase ride height, which takes it to a maximum ground clearance of 274 mm.
That came in pretty handy when we switched to off-road mode and took it to the dunes. We aired down the massive 21-inch tyres and sped off across the sand. I was quite surprised at the ease with which it handled the sand.
Of course, the more fun Levante was the petrol variant, which put out 430 PS of power and 580 Nm of torque. It feels like a rally-prepped car out on the dunes, and the raspy exhaust note was music to my ears on the expressway as well – trying hard to stay within the 120 kmph speed limit at most times.
Between the two, I would prefer the petrol for its fun-to-drive quotient, but the diesel isn’t too dull either. Watch the video for all the action.
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan