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Cruise control, off-road driving modes, heated front and rear seats, adaptive suspension, blind-spot monitoring, sat-nav, leather upholstery, 360-degree reversing camera and air-con
Diesel: 275hp 3.0
Standard trim only
Maserati is a brand that makes people sit up and pay attention. Place the keys on the bar in your local pub and no matter which car you're driving in the range, most will be suitably impressed.
The Italian carmaker has been building performance saloons since 1963 and it's this sort of heritage that makes many think that cars that wear the trident badge are largely unattainable, especially for business drivers.
However, they're not as far out of reach as many would believe.
With an entry price of £55,000, the Levante is Maserati's first foray into the luxury SUV arena and aims to sway business executives away from the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne.
Maserati surprised a lot of people when the company announced that its newest offering would come to the UK as a diesel only.
The engine in question is a 3.0-litre V6, which combines a hefty 275hp and 600Nm of torque and is mated solely to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
Thanks to the abundance of power on offer from the V6, the Levante can accelerate from 0-62mph in under seven seconds, despite being heavier than most of its competitors with a kerb weight exceeding 2.2 tonnes.
According to bosses, a 50/50 weight distribution was essential for the Levante to drive like a Maserati, and so it does. Despite the weight the car handles superbly. There's a huge amount of grip on offer too and the steering is accurate. There's a choice of four drive modes - Normal, Sport, Off-Road and Ice - which make tangible differences to the throttle response and suspension to suit.
Thanks to a mechanical self-locking differential and active torque control, power can be split from 100% rear-wheel drive to 50:50 front and rear in a heartbeat when needed, while the suspension features five different driving heights, automatically lowering down to 45mm from the normal 210mm ride height for easier access when climbing in and out of the car.
On the subject of the suspension, it's incredibly firm in Sport settings, while opt for Normal and the car transforms into a comfortable motorway cruiser. There's also a lack of road and wind noise entering the cabin too, helping to make any stretch of M-road a relaxing affair.
We got the chance to thoroughly put the Levante through its paces on a challenging off-road course, and overall Maserati's SUV is one of the most capable cars BusinessCar has driven off-road to date.
The huge ground clearance and large 21-inch alloys help the car manoeuvre around tricky obstacles, while the hill-descent control and off-road modes ensure enough traction and grip to aid the car through even the steepest of inclines and descents.
Let's be honest though, not many people are going to want to venture off-road in the Levante because, although it's competitively priced against its Land Rover and Porsche rivals, it's still a £55,000 car.
Spacious and refined
As you'll probably guess from the price tag, the interior carries all the luxury and refinement expected from the Italian carmaker.
It's perhaps not quite as polished as the Range Rover Sport or Audi Q7, but the quality is excellent overall and each switch and dial echoes the cabin's supreme fit and finish.
All cars come equipped with an 8.4-inch touchscreen system with sat-nav, an automatic tailgate, heated front and rear seats, keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring, leather upholstery, a 360-degree reversing camera, cruise control and dual-zone climate control as standard, plus there's a host of option packs available, although they are far from cheap.
It's perhaps not the easiest of cabins to get you're head around and there are better infotainment systems on offer in the premium sector, but the screen offers excellent resolution and the key functions are executed well - except perhaps the heated seats, which could possibly produce first-degree burns if you're wearing light clothing.
Measuring five meters long and two meters wide, put simply the Levante is a big car. There's more than enough room for five adults to sit comfortably and the boot, measuring at 580 litres, offers plenty of space for the golf clubs, large suitcase or monthly shop.
Running costs disappoint
So the Levante is great to drive, impressive off-road and comfortable and luxurious inside. Where's the downside I hear you ask? Well, unfortunately, it's running costs where the car begins to come unstuck.
CO2 emissions of 189g/km are a great deal higher than most of the Maserati's closest rivals, while a 39.2mpg combined figure lags behind the competition too. Add to that SMR costs and an insurance grouping higher than most and you've got a pretty expensive 113.2p cost per mile, almost 10p more than a comparable Range Rover Sport.
Residual values of 45.5%, although high, are not enough to bridge the gap to its rivals either.
It's a real shame because on the whole the Levante is a stylish, practical and luxurious entry to the premium SUV market that carries a badge likely to be the envy of many. Although the firm is keen to stay true to its performance heritage, a 2.0-litre diesel may be the sweet spot the Levante needs to get on choice lists.