Maserati Puts Real Sport in Utility
It’s pretty hard to get better than the Levante Trofeo.
Nearly 20-years ago, Porsche stunned its loyal customers as well as auto enthusiasts with the launch of its Cayenne SUV. More than a few pundits feared that the panache of Porsche was over and I wondered why they didn’t add a sports sedan instead of tall family hauler. Since then and with SUVs appearing from Lamborghini, Aston Martin and now Ferrari, I’ve learned not to bet my paycheck on what the public will accept from creators of fabled sportscars.
Creating Big Excitement
The formula for adding sporting performance into a big vehicle is hardly a secret. Add lots of power and bigger brakes to overcome the extra weight and sharpen the suspension tuning to keep big fella on the road. Okay, that’s a bit of over simplification, but those are the basics that are required.
Trofeo is Maserati’s extra performance level that it happily injects into its Levante SUV as well as the Ghibli and Quattro sedans, similar to Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW’s M editions. While this tuning sleight of hand is common these days, the results differ dramatically. In the Maserati Levante Trofeo’s case, the tuning team appropriately chose aggressive.
When you climb into the sports seat and light the turbocharged V8’s fuse, you’re greeted with a great snarl. And that greeting comes without selecting the “sporting” mode, letting you know that there’s even more fun ahead. And when performance drive modes are employed, the Trofeo matches its growl with a bite that really delivers the brand’s sportscar heritage. If you’re game, 0-to-60 MPH is attained in just 3.8-seconds and the top speed is 187 MPH.
Tempered With Luxury
The joy of spirited performance is a welcome elixir, but after all, this is a luxury vehicle that may double as a family hauler when not carving through corners. In this light, the Levante Trofeo delivers with soft tactile touch points and a robust list of luxury gear as standard equipment. Just two options added to the MSRP, the Fuoriserie Corsa paint finish for $6,500 and another $1,500 for 3d Carbon Fiber trim. The wild green color that would make Kermit swoon and the slick carbon accents were well worth the extra money. And the portholes finished with red interiors were fun – only flames could better that touch.
I haven’t yet tested Aston Martin’s DBX competitor but I have spent a week in Lamborghini’s Urus as well as performance SUVs from all the other luxury brands that offer that optional flamboyance. So far, Maserati’s Levante Trofeo is easily the most visceral in the category. In fact, the only edgier SUV I can recall was Jeep’s Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with its 707 HP supercharged Hemi smoldering the tires, but that short run ended last year. And trust me, 580 HP is plenty.
THE FINE PRINT
2022 Maserati Levante Trofeo
TYPE: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 3.8-liter Twin Turbo V8
HORSEPOWER: 580 @ 6,250 RPM
TORQUE: 538 lb.ft. @ 2,500 RPM
BASE PRICE: $154,200
AS TESTED: $160,000
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 13-city, 20-highway, 16-combined