Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Virtuozity revisits the Maserati Levante, but this time with even more power and performance

At the end of 2018 Maserati held a regional drive event for its Levante luxury SUV. Virtuozity was lucky enough to enjoy both the Levante and the stunning surroundings of Sir Bani Yas Island all at once, which was a pretty good deal at the time.
Now all that luxury was all well and good. But what wasn’t available amongst all that opulence was the new fire-breathing version from Maserati, or as it’s more commonly known, the GTS.
With only the frankly crazy Levante Trofeo above it in the model line up, the GTS was launched to give buyers hungry for even more performance something to keep them satisfied.
Externally there’s very little difference between the GTS and the S. The giveaway is the special Helios alloy rims, adaptive matrix headlights and a chrome surround for the front grill. Clearly, most of the changes are under the Levante’s sculptured bonnet.
Unlike the standard Levante and it’s S sister, both of which have 3.0 litre V6 twin turbo engines, the GTS can boast a 3.8 litre V8 twin turbo. That’s bolted to an eight-speed ZF gearbox. Those eight cylinders push out 550bhp and 730Nm of torque, giving the Levante GTS a stunningly fast 0-100 sprint time of just 4.2 seconds. Top speed is around the 292kph mark, so plenty of fun for your money. In short, this is a seriously fast SUV.
It’s also worth pointing out that the Levante is not a 4×4. You wouldn’t want to venture too far off the beaten track in it. It’s actually an all-wheel drive, rather than a full off-road challenger. Think forest paths, rather than sweeping dunes.
But then, this is more a boulevard cruiser or a fast way to reach your ski lodge, than something for a camping weekend or fording a river. It’s a Maserati, and as such, it’s all about luxury and performance.
So with performance covered in the engine bay, it’s up to the Levante’s interior to sort out the luxury, which is more than delivers. Inside, it’s a sea of elegant leather, sweeping across the dash, seating and almost every other area you can think of. It’s extremely comfortable and has very expensive feel to everything you touch.
Perhaps the car’s only slight weakness is that the centre console area is starting to look a little old compared to some of the more advanced offerings on the market. But then the Maserati (as always) more than makes up for it with style and elegance.
How does it drive? Fast is probably the simplest way to describe it. SUVs are reaching physics-bending performance levels these days and the Levante is up there on the front row. The acceleration is brutal and the brakes excellent. In the corners it’ll take on cars half its weight and half its height. Quite how the chassis engineers achieve this is anyone’s guess. But the Levante is certainly not lacking in the performance stakes.
For most people the V6 Levante will be more than enough car. It has similar levels of luxury, great performance and the same glamorous Italian looks. But if performance is a key measuring point, the GTS is up there in the serious power league.
For some that’s the defining factor and at the end of the day the GTS is what they’ll end up putting on their driveways.

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