Back in 2016, Maserati gave us its first (and only) SUV model, which offered customers an interesting and distinctive Italian alternative in a segment dominated by German brands. Five years later and the Levante is still fighting to gain mainstream recognition in the mid-size luxury SUV market. However, the newest, hybrid-powered version is a welcomed addition to the lineup even though it is not a groundbreaking model in any way.
Although the Levante hasn’t changed much during its lifecycle, we can indeed say that this is still one of the better-looking luxury SUVs on the market. With a heavily chromed grille, aggressive fascia, and dynamic silhouette, the Levante is easily recognisable amongst dozens of generic-looking models. The overall design, as well as chassis architecture, was derived from Ghibli, with which Levante shares engine options and a number of components. The 2021 model year marks a discrete restyling of the Levante range with a different grille and “boomerang” style rear lights slightly reminiscent of the legendary Maserati 3200 GT coupe.
Eagle-eyed car spotters will have a hard time distinguishing the Levante Hybrid from its familiar petrol or diesel-powered cousins. Maserati gave its latest model a specific metallic tri-coat, a dark-blue shade called Azzurro Astro, with some exterior and interior details in blue, which is a color that symbolises hybrid models in the Maserati range. Other than that, it is the same as the other models.
Before you get excited about the hybrid powertrain in the new Levante, we have to tell you that it is not the announced high-performance engine that Maserati is working on and which should be introduced in the upcoming MC20 sports car. We are still a few years away from that technology, and the Levante Hybrid is merely a crossover model, designed to offer better mileage and lower CO2 ratings, not win any stoplight races. However, it doesn’t mean that the Levante Hybrid is slow or dull, and it manages to live up to its name and reputation.
In fact, the Levante Hybrid emerges as a very competent option with better performance and more power than a popular diesel variant, but with smaller displacement and far better emissions.
For this model, Maserati visited its neighbors, Alfa Romeo, and borrowed their modern 2.0L, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine, which is commonly found in the Giulia or Stelvio SUV. A four-cylinder delivers 280 hp in standard guise, but in the new Levante Hybrid, it is paired with a 48-volt hybrid system to harvest the energy during deceleration and braking. The combined output is 330 hp with a healthy 450 Nm of torque which provides the luxury SUV with pretty respectable performance. The top speed is 150 mph (240 km/h) and 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 km/h) takes exactly 6 seconds. It is almost a full second quicker than the Levante with a 3.0L diesel engine and almost as fast as the 3.0L turbo V6 model. Due to the fact that the Levante Hybrid uses the four-cylinder engine, which is significantly lighter than 3.0-liter diesel or petrol, this version weighs a bit less than the rest of the Levante range, which slightly improves the performance, consumption, and overall driving dynamics.
The hybrid system is not made of an electric motor which aids the petrol unit but rather from a battery and eBooster which helps the turbo in low revs. There is also a belt starter generator that replaces an alternator, and all of this declares it a mild-hybrid setup. The vehicle cannot be driven on electric power alone, and a 48-volt system is there to improve the petrol engine’s performance and reduce emissions. The results are satisfying with 231 to 252 grams of CO2 per kilometer, although the manufacturer has still not released the official fuel consumption figures.
The Maserati Levante Hybrid is equipped with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which is paired with standard ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. The AWD system is rear-biased for better performance and driving feel and can transmit up to 100 % of the engine’s power to the rear axle. At the same time, it can send up to 50 % to the front axle for better traction in challenging road conditions. Interestingly, Levante Hybrid is considerably more capable than the Ghibli Hybrid on which it is based since that model only comes as a rear-wheel drive.
As you would expect from a luxury Italian car, the interior is a very cosy, well-appointed, and comfortable place to spend your time. However, despite the premium feel and upscale features, it started to show its age. That is why Maserati upgraded it with a big 8.4-inch central infotainment display as the main improvement in the 2021 refresh. The instrument cluster is still the same and lacks a full digital display like its main competitors.
An exciting piece of equipment which comes as standard on the Levante Hybrid is Maserati Connect – an interactive app for smartphone or smartwatch which will inform the driver of the car’s health, service intervals, and essential details. The app can be used from home or through a virtual personal assistant.
Availability and Price
The Maserati Levante Hybrid has just been presented, both in physical form at the Shanghai Motor Show in China on the 19th of April 2021 and in digital form on the company’s website. At the moment, there is no information about the pricing, but that should be released in the second half of the year when it goes on sale globally. However, we’d expect the Hybrid to start from around £69,000.
Let us know what you think to the Maserati Levante Hybrid on our social media channels and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for the latest car news, advice and more!