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Meet the new Maserati Levante SUV (updated)

by Bill Cawthon on

Today, the Maserati Levante was officially shown for the first time, in advance of its debut at the Geneva Auto Show next month.   The crossover is reportedly based on the Ghibli, which in turn is loosely based on the Chrysler 300C.

Standard equipment includes an electronic suspension with adjustable damping and air springs, “intelligent” all-wheel drive, and the usual eight-speed automatic transmission. Engines are both gasoline and diesel, both compliant with Euro 6 emissions standards.

The styling is traditional Maserati, with the  trident grille and flowing “coke-bottle” profile.

The Levante is the first SUV or light truck from the 101-year-old company, and a crucial component of Fiat Chrysler’s plan to expand Maserati’s sales to 75,000 by 2018 — more than twice as many sales as the brand racked up in 2014, its best sales year ever.

The new SUV, already a year overdue, may help reverse a fall in Maserati sales, resulting in furloughs.

Maserati Levante production has already begun at the Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy. The European launch is scheduled for this spring. Sales in the U.S. and other counties will come later this year.

One unreleased photo shows a red interior, with few details visible other than a traditional gated shifter and a knob, presumably for the suspension settings.

The vehicle is expected to be based on the Maserati Ghibli, which in turn is loosely based on the Chrysler 300C.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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