“Levante” Doesn’t Mean “Sumptuous” In Italian, But It Could

When I first saw this picture and took note of what seemed to be ventiports, I thought: “Gee, there is still another new Buick.” Which probably won’t win me any friends in Modena.

When I first saw this picture and took note of what seemed to be ventiports, I thought: “Gee, there is still another new Buick.”

Levante

Which probably won’t win me any friends in Modena.

It’s the Maserati Levante, the first SUV in the company’s 100-year history, which is understandable because when you’re a master at producing handsome sedans, coupes and convertibles, until it seemed like everyone was jumping into the SUV pool, that sort of thing was probably unthinkable. (Remember: when this whole SUV thing got started, they were essentially pickups without beds on the back.)

But products like the Porsche Cayenne have been doing remarkably well, and Bentley and Rolls are poised to profit, so there it is, rolling out of the Miafiore factory in Turin.

One of the more amusing aspects of the Levante is that the interior can be configured to include Ermenegildo Zegna silk. Presumably, the “U” in “SUV” signifies something other than “utility,” because the silk may be sumptuous, but utile it isn’t. (However, the vehicle does have air-springs all around and an intelligent all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring, so it is engineered to be able to handle unpaved surfaces. But still: Zegna silk!?)

Levante1

One most-impressive aspect of the Levante is adjacent to those ventiports: a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces 424 hp and contributes to a top speed of 164 mph (not recommended for those on or off the road, but certainly understandable were someone to take advantage, at least in the case of the former).

The engine, incidentally, is being built by Maserati’s sister company Ferrari in Maranello.

And in case the headline got you wondering: “Levante” is a Mediterranean wind.