The Maserati Service Centre in Roseville, Sydney is just as you’d expect. Sleek and luxurious, even the workshop is reminiscent to the operating room of a hospital and there, amongst rows of newly-purchased models, is the limited-edition Maserati Levante Trofeo. After makings its way across the world, local media were introduced to the latest technology and engineering from the Italian manufacturer, as Maserati sets to redefine the luxury SUV market in Australia and New Zealand.
“The nice thing about Maserati in general is that we’re always subtle.” Chief Operating Officer, Glen Sealey explained as he introduced me to the new model. As with the unmistakable Levante design celebrated amongst fans of the automotive giant, the reimagined SUV has reached new levels of sportiness, but in unison, Sealey agreed it was not “loud”. Like the recently restyled GranTurismo and Ghibli GranSport, elegance was focussed at the lower front fascia and the rear bumper underlined by the 22-inch forged aluminium “Orione” wheels. However, adapting the elegant design to the SUV, the addition of aerodynamic wings, side air intakes and carbon fibre splitters lend a more bold style to the model. Featuring a carbon finish on key specs and a dedicated “Saetta” Trofeo logo. It’s proud, with out the unnecessary bells and whistles and with the option to head off-road.
Inside, the Maserati Levante Trofeo reflects its exterior – subtle but just as sporty. Offering a distinctive environment inside the luxurious cabin, small details include precise contrast stitching along its door handles and sculpted seats as well as carbon fibre accents. Similarly and proof of the meticulous attention to detail, the cabin features a premium full-grain Pieno Fiore natural leather available in black, red and tan and is like no other leather used in the automotive industry. As for technology and like every Levante, the new Trofeo boasts a highly responsive interface unit that uses the Maserati Touch Control Plus (MTC+) with 8.4” capacitive touchscreen and a user-friendly rotary knob in the central console, providing intuitive control of the on-board systems. And with a nod to its long and acclaimed Italian racing history, the ‘start’ ignition button is found closest to the driver door. Why?
“In the old days, when they used to race in Le Mans and the like you used to have to start from behind the wall, jump over the wall, jump in the car, start it and go,” Sealey proudly explained. He continued, “And you’ll notice in every Maserati our starter button is always closest to the driver door. So when you get in from that start, one foot in, hit the start button and get in and go. It’s just a nod to our racing history. Most brands have it on the other side…”
But the truely special element comes from its powerful Twin TurboV8 engine. Sitting in the drivers seat, I had the pleasure of revving the engine albeit hesitant at first as its smooth roar quickly filled and echoed throughout the centre, it’s easy to see why this is an SUV experience like no other. To-date it is one of the fastest SUVs ever built and boasts a top speed of 304 km/h. In the 104-year history of the Trident brand, only the race-bred, limited series MC12 boasted a higher output engine, an aspirated 630hp V12. In it’s default mode, the engine is unassuming with a calm yet just as satisfying hum, while sports mode (an easy touch of a button) unveils what appears to be a new car altogether.
It’s specs can be compared to a Lamborghini Urus, but make no mistake, “performance-wise, absolutely but let’s be honest, this is not a loud extrovert car. This is for someone who is far more discreet, discerning, not so extroverted.” All style, all class. “It’s really quite pleasant to the eye, there is nothing polarising about this design.”
The Maserati Levante Trofeo will arrive in December 2019, with limited models available. For more information, visit the website here.