Is the Levante Trofeo the Best High-End Performance Luxury SUV?
Earlier this year, we test drove the simpler model Levante that Maserati has to offer. Now, it was apparent that the manufacturer had made a way better version of the same model. Maserati did a heart transplant on the V6 that is in the lesser model and threw in a V8. Not just any V8, but the V8 that can be found in the Ferrari California. That means this SUV can compete against the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and a BMW X5 M since they share the same category. So, does the Levante Trofeo have what it takes now? Let's see.
The Levante Trofeo looks almost the same as its lesser self. But there is something different. There are more accents of carbon fiber paneling and the lines are a little sharper in certain areas like the hood. Of the three SUV's, the Trofeo takes it in styling, well in the front that is. The only problem is the rear. It seems the designers got lazy and made the back end of the SUV just as boring as a minivan. The one impressive thing to say from looking at it from an angle is how is sits on its haunches waiting to attack. The BMW and Porsche seem to me like a bunch of copying and pasting body designs of the entire line-up.
As for the interior styling, the luxury feel of what it means to be a Maserati feels a bit lost. Sure, the real leather trimmed seats that said "Trofeo" and panels and alcantara lined pillars and ceiling give it a luxury feel, but the carbon fiber panels and paddle shifters lost me. Especially when the center console storage underneath the infotainment screen kept jamming when trying to open or close it just for the sake of the act. What also had me a bit peeved was the turn stock that also acted as the turn signal and wipers. Why couldn't Maserati just made two stocks? Especially when it feels cheap and looks like its from a Dodge or Chrysler product. What also doesn't help the Levante Trofeo is that it doesn't necessarily seem like it has much of a luxury feel at night in the cabin. No ambient lighting that is proper or any kind of luxury feel. It just seems like sitting in a normal SUV.
Pricing and Options
So, what does this Maserati Levante Trofeo cost? A whopping $170,380. That is almost $70,000 more than the Levante S we tested earlier this year with almost the same options minus the motor. What does it come with? As for safety, it comes with lane management assist, blind-spot detection, rear-view camera with cross traffic alert, parking sensors, a boat load of airbags, tire pressure monitoring, ABS, and anything else found in the Masersti Levante S. What does that mean for convenience and comfort? Everything that can be found in the Levante S, that is almost half the price. What the big difference? The Ferrari V8 motor and some carbon fiber. As for the X5 M, it starts at $105,100 and Cayenne Turbo starts at $126,500. That is quite the price difference there as well.
Now, this performance plays a key role in a high-end luxury performance SUV, right? Right. The Levante Trofeo demolishes the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 M when it comes to power output. The 3.8L V8 under the hood produces a crazy 590 horsepower and 538 foot pounds of torque. The X5 M makes 567 horsepower while the Cayenne Turbo makes close to 550 horses. To get from 0-60 miles per hour, it takes the Trofeo only 3.8 seconds, equal the size of its engine, funny enough. The Cayenne Turbo is slightly faster at 3.7 seconds from 0-60 and the X5 M does it in either 3.8 or 3.7 seconds, depending on the model. Real life fuel economy saw the Levante Trofeo achieving anywhere from 9 to 15 miles per gallon. Ride comfort is just as one would expect for the Maserati as well as cornering and steering. The engine and exhaust sound as phenomenal as an orchestra, which is probably why the poorer fuel economy. But what really hit the spot was the rush of adrenaline when the accelerator quickly met the floor with a force and the Levante Trofeo hauled its way down the roads. That has to be one of the best feelings ever. Take a listen to the exhaust.
Is the Maserati Levante Trofeo the best high-end luxury performance SUV? To sum it up, no it is not. Why? Because of the huge price difference and what is given between not only to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X5 M, but even the lesser Levante S. Adding a Ferrari motor should not hike the price up that much. It also does not help with how costly it is for how much the luxuriousness of the name Maserati means. Luxury was almost nowhere to be felt in the Levante Trofeo. Not only that but with that much of a horsepower difference, it should be faster from 0-60. I'd rather have the BMW X5 M instead.
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Disclosure: I test drove both the BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo from my local dealership to properly do this comparison review.