Towards the end of last year, riding the wave of excitement around the MC20, Maserati announced an ambitious 13-car new model plan. It was the strategy to catapult the storied manufacturer back to real competitiveness in the electrified era – with a bonafide supercar at the top of the range. And while we’re still a little way off the entirely new products like the Grecale SUV and replacement GranTurismo, there is now one more model to tick off: the Levante Hybrid.
The SUV utilises the same electrified powertrain as debuted in the Ghibli Hybrid last year; a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo is paired with a 48 volt system to recover energy during deceleration and braking. A MHEV might seem a little behind the times in 2021, particularly given the advances being made in PHEV range elsewhere, but it’s a start. Maserati claims that the setup weighs less than an equivalent six cylinder (and that rear mounted batteries keep the weight distribution optimal), with 330hp on offer alongside 332lb ft; they’re enough for a six-second sprint to 62mph and top speed “of over 149mph”. Levante development “reinforcing the Trident’s dedication to driving pleasure” is said to have created a hybrid SUV “that retains the distinctive roar of every Maserati.”
The Levante is marked out from its combustion-engined stablemates in the same way as the Ghibli equivalent, with blue accents inside and out – see the air ducts, brake calipers, C-pillar logo and seat embroidery. Otherwise the Hybrid is familiar as a Levante, albeit here in a new Azzurro Astro paint, available through the Maserati Fuoriserie bespoking service.
“Faster. Greener. Unique”, is Maserati’s tagline for the new model, pointing to its performance advantage over a diesel, the claimed sustainability of its powertrain and the uniqueness of its “specific characteristics.” Given a petrol Levante starts at £65k with similar performance, we’d expect a hybrid to cost the same sort of amount. At that money the closest rivals are likely to be the BMW X5 45e (at £66,610, with more power and 50 miles of electric range) and the Audi Q8 55 TFSI e, more expensive at £73k but with V6 power. Expect the Levante Hybrid in Maserati dealerships by the summer.