It was an adrenaline packed month with Maserati Australia. Firstly, I was formally introduced to the full range of vehicles on an open track day at Eastern Creek. Not only did we have a go on the beautifully smooth tar seal roads, but we were also able to test the new Levante’s abilities on an off-road track before putting it on the starting grid.
Alongside the Levante we took out the Gran Turismo, the Quattroporte and the Ghibli. We got to know each one of them intimately, as well as see their full potential on the road with professional V8 drivers.
Naturally when Maserati proposed to loan me the Levante to give them my feedback, I was happy to test how this car assimilated in to my day to day life. Let me give you the break down for the car lovers first.
“Points of note include its Ferrari-produced engine, it shares the same technically advanced drivetrain and chassis with the entire Levante range, along with the hand-crafted leather interior. The GranSport additions include 21 inch alloy wheels/tyres, red callipers, unique front and rear trim and bumpers, rear spoiler, sports steering wheel, front sports seats, steel door sills, sport pedals and Harmon Kardon premium sound system” – Maserati Australia
My Maserati Experience
When I arrived to pick up the car we ran through some of the basic features, including Apple Car play. A feature which I find a must nowadays as I can’t be bothered setting up and pairing blue tooth devices. Even without Apple play, the Maserati user interface (UI) has so far been the most intuitive to use. Navigating through all its media choices, GPS and setting are simple with the rotating dial in the centre console.
As a suiting and fashion enthusiast, I have found the Italians always have a fantastic eye and attention to detail. The interior of this car is no exception to that rule. Perfectly designed seats that hug you into its soft leather, with suede features to compliment. If you are really looking to go top-notch on the interior, there is even the option to choose a Levante model with silk fabric trimmings in a collaboration with world famous Ermenegildo Zegna fabrics.
Where this car impressed me most was the incredible difference in sound when turning on sports mode while sitting idle. It would drop from its neutral rumble to in an angry gurgle. The difference was remarkable. I found myself swapping in and out of sports mode to hear that sharp drop in sound. The second thing you notice when you press this button is the car drops lower and the cars suspension firms. Yes, there are many cars that have this feature. And yes, the sports mode makes this a lot more fun to drive for those with a heavy foot. The ‘Wow Factor” comes from the car’s divergence in driving modes. The Levante is 2 completely different cars in one.
I have never driven a car that genuinely feels like a soft, cushiony 4×4 that can instantly turn into a firm, angry, gurgling V6. What a rider will experience from changing from ‘Sports’ to ‘Off Road’ isn’t subtle like most manufactures. The off-road mode is cloud-like and is also surprisingly perfect for cruising around the city. Its suspension gives you a higher vantage point on the road. The feature activates anti roll back. It will also cap the speed going downhill in case the road is steep or unsteady. It will also control the speed of each individual tyre to ensure a safe decent.
The when you back onto the familiar bitumen and need that extra grunt, be prepared to sink down into the car and be put into the back of your seat with the bi-turbo V6 in its performance mode. These two modes of the car couldn’t be further a part, to the point I could classify it as bipolar, or split personality. One thing is for sure both personalities are a pleasure to deal with.