Is the Maserati Levante Trofeo the ultimate performance SUV?
It is always exciting when you get a call from a luxury brand offering you to drive something exotic. Especially if that brand is an Italian sports car manufacturer.
What I have with me now is the Maserati Levante Trofeo. The Levante Trofeo is Maserati's top of the line SUV.
Maserati has been facing a challenge in the reduction of sales from intense competition. Levante loosely translates into the rising of the sun in the east. Let's see if the Trofeo can help in a rise in sales for Maserati.
HOW TO IDENTIFY A TROFEO
Now the Levante has always been a controversial car for Maserati. Based on the Kubang concept car, it split the audience into two proper halves, one half supporting the move and the other half wholly disgusted by it.
However, Maserati did go ahead with the decision and made the Kubang into the Levante. Now, the Levante looks better than the Kubang and Levante is a hundred times better name than Kubang.
The Levante Trofeo looks best when viewed in the three-quarters angle. It gives the whole perspective in which you can admire and take in all the aesthetics of the car.
As per me, the car looks the best head-on. It has this imposing face and grille which has been designed to suck in more air for the engine.
However, if you look at the car in passing by, you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between a regular Levante and the Trofeo. I will help you identify how to spot a Trofeo.
1) New Matrix headlamps
2) Bonnet air scoops
3) New 22 inch trident shaped rims
4) Carbon fiber side skirts
5) Carbon fiber rear diffuser
6) Trofeo badge on the C pillar
All the aggressive styling makes the Trofeo look the part of a performance SUV.
WHAT DOES THE NEW BIG GRILLE DO?
Well, it is designed to suck in air for the powerful 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8. Now this engine has been re-engineered by Maserati to put out 590 HP. That is a sports car power. It reaches 0-100 in 3.9 seconds.
It has 730 NM of torque, and the power to weight ratio is 3.6kg/HP.
This engine is both brilliant and capable. It is an absolute delight to drive and floor. It gives you enough power on a slight tap of your right foot.
The sound it makes is an orchestra to your ears — a beautifully soft, throaty purr signifying that it is available and ready to rumble. Floor the accelerator pedal, and the purr becomes a gentle roar. It never is hard or hurts your ear but is very, very melodic and satisfying. You want to accelerate not for the speed but for that engine noise.
We cannot forget the ZF sourced 8-speed gearbox. This is the gearbox that dreams are made. It gives you the correct gear when you need it, and if you want to change manually, the carbon fiber paddle shifters are a delight to use and make the car come alive in your hands.
OH WOW! THAT SOUNDS GOOD BUT CAN I TAKE ON THE MOUNTAINS WITH IT?
For a two-tonne weighing SUV, it handles very well.
It has various drive modes. However, my favorite is Corsa mode or race mode in English. In this mode, the car changes dynamically. You can sense everything is prepared for you to drive fast, really fast.
When you activate this mode, the suspension lowers itself, and the gearbox goes into lightning-quick changes at the perfect rev count. The electronic power steering or EPS weighs up nicely in your hands, giving you the confidence to push the car.
The Levante Trofeo is a dynamic and fast car. It hugs you, and you feel part of it and feel confident enough to drive it hard and fast. It shrinks around you, and that is a sign of a well-handling car.
In regular comfort mode, the car is a proper grand tour material. Comfortable and supple. You would love to drive long distances in this car.
It even has an off-road mode. However, I dare not try it. The rims are too beautiful to damage.
This is the only Levante with launch control, but with a top speed of 304 KPH, I am better of trying this out on a racetrack.
CAN I CALL IT MY MAN CAVE?
Oh, yes! You can. It has enough leather and carbon fiber inside to put the best man caves to shame.
The interiors of the Trofeo is what the interiors of the Levante should have been from the start. Beautiful Italian leather with Trofeo stitching on the headrests.
Carbon fiber is used generously throughout the cabin giving the car the premium feel you deserve.
It gets a new gear lever which is nice to hold and premium sound system.
Matrix LED headlamps now come standard with the Trofeo.
It has a host of safety features such as
Adaptive cruise control
Advanced brake assist (forward collision warning + automated braking assist)
For a car priced at AED 650,000/ USD 177,000/INR 2 Crores, it can do with better plastics.
Considering the price of the car you would think it would be an easy decision, but even at these price points the competition if tough with contenders being the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, BMW X6M/X5M, Jeep Trackhawk and for few more currency notes the Lamborghini Urus.
Well, the wife said when you buy me my next vehicle, this is the car I want. I think that is verdict enough.