Make no mistake about it. There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting behind the wheel of a Maserati. A name synonymous with a rich, storied Italian pedigree that just makes you feel like youre driving something a little extra special on the road. Case in point, the 2020 Maserati Levante S GranSport I recently spent three days with, thanks to Park Place Maserati Dallas.
With its sleek and sophisticated exterior and well-appointed leather interior that includes an optional 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, the Levante S GranSport is an SUV that makes sitting in rush hour traffic much more palatable. Introduced to the lineup in 2017, the Levante is the first-ever SUV to wear the Maserati trident. The S GranSport trim, equipped with Q4 Intelligent all-wheel drive, celebrates the brands race-bred performance aspects with a sport-inspired exterior and interior.
Maserati says Levante means a warm, mediterranean wind that can change from mild to gale force in an instant. Well, it was quite the opposite of warm on Day One with the Levante, as it was accompanied by the regions first ARCTIC blast of the season. Suffice it to say, I didnt spend a lot of time standing outside looking at its gorgeous exterior at pickup time. Instead, Park Place Dealerships Experience Manager Ismail Burduroglu jumped in the front with me to point out some key features, which included where the push button start is located, and thats on the left-hand side of the steering wheel, a position based on race car design.
In the drivers seat, I felt the cushiony comfort of the premium leather upholstery as I configured the 12-way power sport seat to my specifications. The well-designed, user-friendly cabin with excellent fit and finish features a soft-touch dash with contrast stitching as well as optional carbon fiber trim. After a few more minutes getting acquainted with vehicle, I was on my way, braving the chill to run some errands. The Levantes nicely and evenly distributed heated seats kept me warm and cozy along the way. As did the leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, since I didnt exactly prepare for this cold snap by bringing gloves. (Both heated features come standard on this trim.)
Next up, I high-tailed it to a nearby coffee shop for a dose of caffeine. Out the window, the Levante in a deep Grigio Maratea gray hue looks exceptionally sharp next to the SUVs surrounding it. Its certainly a handsome vehicle, especially adorned with the Nerissimo Package. It features a black grille, flanked by adaptive full LED Matrix headlights, along with black chrome finishing, black side mirrors and body-colored door handles.
Dark exhaust tips and dark finish tail lamps finish out the look in back and this model is equipped with optional 21-inch Anteo Black Staggered rims. Optional blue brake calipers looked great, too.
Getting down to business, on Day Two with the Levante I evaluated its ride, drive and handling in both city and highway driving. (I must also say I was so happy to have remote engine start, so I could start and warm up the Levante as temps remained frigid. Plus the sound of the exhaust starting up was music to my ears.)
There are two engines offered in the lineup, a V-6 and a V-8, this being the Ferrari-factory built 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 good for a healthy 424-horsepower and 428 lb.-ft of torque. Its mated to an 8-speed automatic. Its quick acceleration impressed and I found the handling engaging particularly in Sport mode.
The Levante Ss suspension enhances ride comfort and made for a great commuting vehicle for longer distances. Which is I guess how on Day Two I found myself some 20-miles from home parked in front of Tiffany & Co, enjoying the view above thanks to the Levantes dual-pane panoramic sunroof. And no it wasnt due to the Levantes Level 2 Highway Assist semi-autonomous system (which works great by the way). This was all me.
Highway Assist is impressive, however. The driver assist feature combines adaptive cruise control and Lane Keep Assist, is quite robust and really does keep you within your lane. As with other driver assist systems, you must keep both hands on the wheel, or else get a loud warning to put them back on immediately. (Scroll down for a list of the Levantes other great driver assist features.)
Technology overall is impressive in the Levante. All the displays are easy to see with a 7-inch digital drivers display front and center in the tachometer area that also hosts road sign recognition. The high-res color graphics for the 8.4-inch Maserati Touch Control Plus touchscreen also impress. The system is easy to use, intuitive and responsive, right down to turning on the heated seats. I also really liked its tower knob controller. Two knobs one on top of the other - one to toggle through the infotainment system, the other to control volume. The system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
One cool feature is the digital owners guide which among other things identifies engine parts. The screen also houses a Surround View Monitor and Rearview camera with great resolution.
On Day 3, I had a few other things to check off on my list before turning over the keys. First, I wanted to check out manually adjusting its height. Turns out it was simple. You can lower or raise it (while parked) using a toggle on the center console. This could come in particularly useful if you need to lower it a bit to get into or out of the vehicle.
You also cant talk about an SUV without checking out the storage and cargo space. On the interior the air conditioned center console deserves mention. In back, the button to close the power liftgate got my attention because it is conveniently located on the lower left of the cargo area, so you dont have to reach up to get to it. Theres also a slot you can open to carry to fit longer items like skis, or in my case, a camera tripod.
And with that, my far too short three days with the 2020 Maserati Levante S GranSport came to an end. Cant wait to get behind the wheel of another Maserati sometime soon.
Options As Equipped: Additional options on this S GranSport model include a kick sensor, carbon fiber interior trim, Nerrimiso package, Metallescent paint, Bowers & Wilkins sound system, blue brake calipers, 21-inch Anteo Black Staggered rims, the full natural drilled leather, illuminated door sills, and black piano finish roof rails.
Driver Assistance Features: The S GranSport is equipped with driver assist features that include Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Warning with AEB, Pedestrian Recognition and Traffic Sign Recognition, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Highway Assist, Adaptive Full LED Matrix Headlights, Front and Rear Parking Sensors and Surround View Camera.
- What I liked most: Its sporty driving dynamics, B&W Audio System and sleek Nerissimo packaged exterior.
- What I would change: Add a flat bottom steering wheel.
- MSRP: Base price $88,990; as equipped $103,535 with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: 15 city/ 21 highway/17 combined.
- Official Color: Grigio Maratea.
- Odometer reading when tested: 43.
- Weight: 4,650 lbs.
- Spare Tire: 18-inch spare tire.
- Length-Width-Height: 197 long/ 85 wide/66.7 high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 21.1 gallons with the filler on the drivers side.
- Towing Capacity: 5,952 pounds.
- 2020 Maserati Levante S GranSport AWD in a few words: An exceptional SUV with the luxury and sporty performance worthy of the storied Maserati badge.
- Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Turin, Italy
- Manufacturers website: Park Place Dallas Maserati
Tags: 2020 Maserati Levante S GranSport, Maserati, Levante, SUV, Luxury SUV, New Vehicle Reviews