Production is underway for the first ever Maserati SUV, the Levante, which will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show this week. It’s a hugely important vehicle for the century-old brand. The SUV will play an important role in Maserati’s plan to hit 75,000 in annual sales by 2018.
The Levante is staying true to its Italian roots. It’s being built at the historic Mirafiori factory in Italy which has also been used to produce the Fiat Punto and Alfa Romeo MiTo.
The Levante carries its Italian heritage with a recognizably Maserati design. It includes the signature three air vent style on the front quarter panels, the trapezoidal C-pillar with the Trident logo, and frameless door windows. The front gets strong and sleek lines using narrow drawn back headlights and strong cuts in the hood. The grille screams Maserati with the Trident front and center.
Handling wise, the chassis design allows for driving both on and off the road. It will come standard with premium features including an electronically-controlled air suspension system with multiple settings, intelligent Q4 all-wheel-drive, and 8-speed automatic transmission. Fiat Chrysler says it will offer both gasoline and diesel engine choices. However, engine details and market availability is still secret.
The Levante will fall into class with the popular Porsche Cayenne. No price points are given for the Levante, but the Cayenne ranges from $58,300 to $157,300.
The Levante is a part of Maserati’s effort to sell more vehicles in markets like China and the U.S. since both these markets value high-end luxury SUVs and crossovers.
The Levante goes on sale in Europe in May. It will arrive in other markets after that. No date yet for its U.S. arrival.