Maserati SUV Prototype Spied Up Close

Maserati Levante SUV 10 photos
Photo: CarPix
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The House of the Trident is currently on a bit of a roll. The Granturismo may be getting a little bit old now, but the Italian luxury brand’s four-door offerings are selling like hot cakes nowadays. In the third quarter profit battle, Maserati posted $1 million more in operating profit than sister company Ferrari.
Compared to Maserati of days long gone, the automaker is now focusing on volume and consumer-friendly products. That’s a reason of many why the Ghibli nameplate was resurrected and glued to the boot of a four-door executive saloon, not a two-door grand tourer with a 2+2 configuration like the original bearer of that legendary moniker.

Purists may not like it, but compromises need to be done in order to survive in times like these. Remember how Porsche made ends meet when the company was confronted with a lot of financial difficulties? Yup - the Cayenne, the VW Group-sourced 3-liter TDI turbo diesel and the Panamera.

Maserati may be 12 years overdue, but the carmaker decided to replicate the Cayenne success story with the Levante SUV. Spied by our carparazzi casually cruising on German roads, this Maserati Levante prototype is wearing a Ghibli-inspired body shell. Nevermind the jacked up ride height because this is a sport utility vehicle we’re talking about here.

A detail that might knit your eyebrows is that black thing glued on top of the roof

That, dear reader, is camo’d additional weight. The science behind it is that it simulates the taller center of gravity of the production-spec Levante body shell. We wouldn’t hold our breath for too many mechanical differences between the Ghibli Q4 (all-wheel drive) and the Levante. Okay, maybe the SUV’s track is a little bigger, while the dampers will be more forgiving in the corners than that of the Ghibli.

Engine-wise it’s pretty natural to assume we’ll get the twin-turbo V6 petrol and diesel mills of the Ghibli, but it’s still a mystery if the Levante’s engine bay can accommodate the 530 horsepower 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 of the Quattorporte GTS. After all, Maserati knows very well there’s a Porsche Cayenne Turbo facelift around with 520 German ponies on tap...

Last but not least, expect the Levante to debut in September 2015 at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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