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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Maserati Levante: Upholding a Legacy, Making a Bold Statement


Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.
Maserati Levante

Any time you hear the word Maserati, it conjures up images of graceful, powerful, luxury machines. It normally doesn’t make you think of a potential family hauler with kids stuffed in the back seat or a kayak strapped to the roof. But the Italian automaker wants to expand your perception of the brand with the introduction of its first SUV, the Levante.
It’s a little hard to get your mind wrapped around the idea. Maseratis are fast, sexy, and not at all utilitarian. The idea of putting the Maserati badge on an SUV is, well, almost weird. Yet, with a changing market, it had to be done. It was the missing piece in the Maserati lineup.

Rather than build some 7-passenger beast, Maserati opted for a smaller and decidedly more elegant SUV. It’s a true Maserati through and through, as we learned firsthand by hanging out with Chief Exterior Designer, Giovanni Ribotta, at this year’s New York Auto Show.

Maserati Levante 3

Focusing on the SUV’s design, Ribotta stressed the importance of making sure the Levante looked like a Maserati. Throughout the process, he and his team sought to “keep the soul of Maserati” both inside and out, in order to stay true to the brand’s heritage.

There are only so many ways to shape an SUV. It can’t be a coupe, but they still aimed for that look and feel as they designed the Levante. It has a sleek exterior that avoids being boxy and bulbous like so many other SUVs. The lines are long and low giving it a sporty presence and creating a very low .31 coefficient of drag. Its looks serve a purpose.

Giovanni said it was important to “add iconic elements” to make the Levante fit with the rest of the Maserati family. It has that bold front grille with the Maserati trident prominently displayed. That trident is found again on the c-pillars as it is on other Maseratis, and the trio of side vents is there, too.

Maserati Levante 2

The interior of the car received the same attention, all with the goal of keeping the Levante true to the Maserati name. The interior and exterior design teams each had their areas of focus but worked together to create a cohesive design that worked for the brand.

The Maserati Levante is a bold move. They needed an SUV in their line-up and they created one that fits the brand, blending classic Maserati design elements into an entirely new vehicle design.
The Maserati Levante is set to go on sale in the US at the end of August with a starting price of $72,000.