2018 Maserati Levante S GranSport Review | Asian Car Guide
January 20, 2021

2018 Maserati Levante S GranSport Review

maserati levante suv

Our test car the 2018 Maserati Levante S GranSport delivers an authentic Italian experience with its curvy exterior, premium interior and excellent soundtrack.

When the Maserati Levante was launched many questions swirled around it including – “Why in the world is it only offered as a diesel?”

The Levante initially came with a diesel engine which created mutterings within the Asian Community.

Not that it was a bad engine, but a diesel’s sound, most notably, as well as performance, effectively robs the Levante of its Maserati characteristics.

Now, finally the Levante gets petrol power…Does it actually qualify as a real Maserati now?

The Levante exhibits enough of Maserati’s visual flair. Its aggressive looks are headlined by a gigantic grille at the front.

maserati levante interiorWith curvy lines, wavy sheet metal and chrome detailing, there is a certain Italian charm to the car’s design. This is a large SUV; everything about it is upsized, – large grille, tyres, everything.

It is imposing, at least from size perspective.

Inside, the Levante’s seats are swathed in leather. Much of the rest of the interior is familiar from other Maserati, with the same instrument cluster as the Ghibli and Quattroporte saloons and the familiar oval analogue clock on the dash.

The Levante comes with Maserati’s Touch Control Plus infotainment system as standard, controlled via an 8.4-inch touchscreen in the centre console.

The menu has options for configuring many of the car’s main systems via icons at the bottom of the screen, and a new rotary control behind the gearshift can adjust radio and other audio media settings.

Maserati says the Levante is one of the roomiest cars in the class and it “feels like a first-class lounge”, thanks in part to its long wheelbase and wide body.

Rear headroom is impressive compared to rivals.

The boot has 580-litres of space with rear seats in place and all models come with remotely operated power opening/closing tailgate with obstacle detection as standard.

Also on the list of standard equipment are heated and ventilated leather front seats, eight-speaker stereo, cruise control, and key-less entry, dual-zone climate and auto-wipers.

During the drive, with 316 kW of power and 580 Nm of torque, throttle response is impressive.

The engine is very responsive and I feel the overall driving sensation is improved dramatically over the diesel.

Putting down the foot causes the car to surge forward with immense pace, accompanied by distinct uptick in noise, the exhaust now spitting and popping as you get off the gas. It goes from dull to exciting in a flash. 

The Levante has 4 driving modes, Normal, Sport, off road, and ICE. The ICE mode is not just for icy conditions, but also handy under normal conditions to create a smoother and more fuel efficient driving setup.

In Sport setting, our test car churns out intense power, accompanied by fantastically loud soundtrack.

The Levante has a sophisticated All-Wheel Drive system, with an active transfer case to vary from the permanently engaged rear wheel drive to a 50/50 front/rear ratio, as well as a mechanical Limited-Slip Differential on the rear axle for left/right wheel torque.

Then there is its advanced active Air Suspension, with 6 settings to raise or lower the ground clearance according to terrain, situation or preference, from raised 40mm in offroad2, to lowered 35mm in Aero2 on highways, or even down 45mm for easy entry.

Driver aids and safety include:

  • Blind Spot Alert
  • Bi-Xenon front headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting System
  • Surround-View Camera
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function
  • Maserati Stability Program including acceleration slip regulation
  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Electronic brake distribution
  • Maserati drag torque control
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Hill hold
  • Brake Assistance System
  • Electronic Park Brake
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring

For a car its size and weight (2,109kg) the Levante handles better than I would have expected.

Body roll is inevitable, but controlled reasonably well.

maserati levante side rearIt rides very high, which is good for going over bumps but maybe not when wanting to corner fast. So let’s say that if you want a pretty impressive, rowdy and noisy Italian SUV, there is nothing else quite like it right now.

2018 Maserati Levante S Pricing and Specifications:

  • Price: from $169,990 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol
  • Power: 316kW at 5,750rpm
  • Torque: 580Nm at 4,500 – 5,000rpm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Fuel: 10.9L/100km (ADR Combined)
  • Fuel tank: 80 litres
  • Dimensions mm: L 5003 W 1968 H 1679 WB 3004
  • CO2: 253g/km (ADR Combined)
  • Safety Rating: Five-star ANCAP
  • Warranty: 3 years/ unlimited