The problem when you’ve never driven a particular brand is that one forms a prejudicial web of ideas that may or may not be accurate. Here’s mine: ‘Reused Chrysler’. Hardly the sort of clean jump-off point for a review, I’ll admit. But they are beguiling machines and the Levante S feels like a worthy Maserati. It pulls the correct Italian strings of a product assembled at its own plant in Turin but without the usual small-volume stumbles like baffling infotainment or haphazard ergonomics. The styling is alluring with chiseled flanks, laser-shaped LED lights, frameless doors and the instantly recognizable scowling grille with the Trident badge. Chrome door handles could definitely learn a trick from the Range Rover’s retractable units… Still, the taut 2109kg athlete carries a presence like few other luxury SUVs and whereas the interior is all calm and cossetting, the exterior photographs mutually inside a private hanger or down at the yacht club.
The ever-present yet intangible Maserati weight, always there reminding you that your ticket to the better life is just a few feet away. Exotic provenance slowly winning me over and I wasn’t the only one – a Levante S lives in the sacrosanct space that very few SUVs enter.
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