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2019 Maserati Levante Performance Review


Performance: 9.0

The 2019 Maserati Levante boasts a series of authoritative, snarly engines – all built by Ferrari. A set of high-performance V8s joins the previous pair of V6s. Power delivery is outstanding, though gas mileage is not. This well-balanced SUV provides both a comfortable ride and responsive, sporty handling.

  • "… we like the way the Levante drives. Maserati has carefully toed the line between sport and luxury with the Levante and created a vehicle that seats five in relative comfort and style that's also able to react sharply when asked to press on a little quicker. On the traffic-clogged motorways north of Chichester, the Levante proved comfortable and easy to drive." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "There's a hint of wallow when you hustle a V-8 Levante over big road imperfections in Normal mode, but in daily use, body control is otherwise excellent. And that hint of wallow vanishes in Sport mode. … In any mode, though, steering feel is outstanding, with a tight, immediate wheel. The V-8 Levantes (sic) deftly balance[s] comfort with the ability to attack a twisty mountain road." -- Car and Driver
  • "The crossover pairs straight-line speed with excellent handling and a ride that's comfortable and well-controlled." -- Motor Trend (2018)

Acceleration and Power

A pair of Ferrari-built twin-turbo V8 engines enter the Levante lineup this year, joining last year's set of twin-turbo V6 Ferrari engines. As you move up in trim level and price, horsepower increases and sprint times decrease. That said, even the base engine is powerful, and shoppers shouldn't feel compelled to upgrade. All engines come with a polished eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers well-timed shifts.

The base engine is a 345-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 capable of going from zero to 60 mph in a respectable 5.8 seconds. This same-size engine powers the Levante S, though with a bump in power to 424 horsepower. Fuel economy for these engines is 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. Those are among the lowest gas mileage ratings in our luxury midsize SUV rankings.

The new-for-2019 Levante GTS comes with a 550-horsepower 3.8-liter V8 engine. Taking the crown in this fleet is the Levante Trofeo's 3.8-liter V8, which has 590 horsepower and a zero-to-60 time of 3.7 seconds. Gas mileage for the V8 engines is estimated at 14/18 mpg city/highway.

  • It's a big step from the V-6 Levante's and Levante S's 345 and 424 horsepower to the V-8 outputs, and the performance numbers are enhanced commensurately. We managed a 5.1-second zero­-to-60-mph time in the Levante S and we expect the V-8s to make runs to 60 in 4.1 seconds for GTS and 3.8 for the Trofeo. But these are heavy and relatively brick-shaped vehicles, so acceleration does taper as the aerodynamic load piles up above reasonable speeds. And despite the engines' eagerness and power, the Ferrari provenance doesn't count for as much as Maserati might like when it comes to sound. … Maserati's engine sounds good, but not as special as the description 'Ferrari V-8' sets the bar to expect." -- Car and Driver
  • "Not only is the power delivery rich and muscular, but the accompanying sound effects are part of the experience. Ranging from a tingle to a snarl, then to a roar, the Levante emits the Maserati-trademark soundtrack, which, depending on your attitude, can be heartwarming, grin-inducing, or obnoxious. No matter what, remaining indifferent to the sound is not an option." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 makes healthy power and a beautiful sound, but it lacks a little response when driven in Normal mode due to turbo lag. Sport mode alleviates this somewhat because it keeps the transmission in a lower gear. The sprint to 60 mph is properly quick at 5 seconds flat." -- Edmunds (2018)

Handling and Braking

Standard features in the Levante include all-wheel drive and an adaptive air suspension system. Its tuning leans more toward the sporty side, but the Levante keeps comfort levels high while remaining composed. Its driving dynamics aren't as athletic as some competitors, but you can still have plenty of fun with this SUV.

  • "Make no mistake, this is a sporty SUV, but it's far from the type of sporty that enthuses its driver to set a personal best time on the trip to the grocery store. Leave that for the excellent Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Instead, the Levante revels in a kind of quiet confidence – you know it's quick and handles well, but you don't feel inspired to use all that capability all the time as you would in a more focused sports car. Instead, you're content to meander down roads rather than charge them, with an occasional redline blast just to wake yourself up a little." -- Automobile Magazine
  • Handling also belies the size of this beast. The 2017 Maserati Levante feels planted and instills confidence in corners, whether on the road or on a track. It hugs the road with very little body lean. The sharp steering communicates actual feedback that's rare these days, making the Levante gobble corners quite enjoyably. But this SUV/coupe casts a large shadow, so in tight quarters and parking situations, given the broad stern and so-so rear visibility, you might need to have the skills of a Venetian gondolier." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • The Levante is quite fun on tight, twisty roads with its grippy tires, low body roll and torque-vectoring electronics, allowing it to make unnaturally sharp turns. But it wiggles and dances a bit through sweeping curves that are aren't perfectly smooth, which diminishes driving confidence." -- Edmunds (2018)
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