Maserati Levante to start at $72k; top speed 164 mph

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

The Maserati Levante sport utility vehicle will arrive in the United States later this year with a starting price of $72,000.

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV brand announced pricing, which excludes destination and delivery charges, as Maserati unveiled the SUV on Tuesday at the Geneva International Motor Show. It is the brand’s first SUV.

The Levante will be powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 twin-turbo gasoline engine in the U.S. capable of either 345-horsepower on the entry-level Levante or 424-horsepower on the Levante S. A diesel-powered version of the vehicle rated at 275-horsepower will not be available in the U.S.

The Levante S covers 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and has a top speed of 164 mph. The regular Levante accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and achieves a top speed of 156 mph.

All engines are combined with the “Q4” intelligent all-wheel drive system, which can transfer torque between the axles instantaneously when required — and an 8-speed automatic transmission, with Start&Stop System.

Aside from Maserati design characteristics, including a prominent grille with the brand’s trident logo, the Levante includes a chassis that is claimed to combine “the outstanding on-road performance typical of every Maserati” with good handling on slippery surfaces and off-road.

A “Luxury Package” and “Sport Package” also are available for the Levante. Few details were released on the packages other than “they each include a variety of distinctive stylistic and technical contents and enable customers to extensively personalize the exterior and interior of the Levante.”

Production of the Levante started last month at the company’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy. Vehicles are expected in European showrooms in spring followed by other countries later this year, including the U.S. by September.

The Levante has been more than a decade in the making. Since 2003, the company has unveiled two concept SUVs. Production of the SUV was originally planned for Detroit instead of Italy.

Head of Maserati Harald Wester previously told The Detroit News that the Levante should move Maserati to its next chapter of growth.

“We are outperforming the markets with nearly all of our products in nearly all regions. From this point of view, I am satisfied,” Wester said in August. “Obviously, I would have preferred to have the Levante nine months earlier, which would have allowed us to have a more continuous growth.”

Last year was a difficult one for Maserati, following record sales and financial performance in 2014. In 2015, it earned 105 million euros (about $117 million), down 62 percent from the previous year. Revenue decreased 13 percent, and shipments declined 11 percent to under 32,500 vehicles globally.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

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