MASERATI 350: A NEW PRICE LEADER

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Maserati has introduced a lower cost Levante to Australia with a recommended retail price of $125,000. That’s almost $15,000 under the price of the Levante turbo-diesel. On-road costs from dealers and governments have to be factored in.

It’s powered by a Maserati-designed, Ferrari built, 350 horsepower (257 kW) 500 Newton metre twin-turbo V6 that displaces 3.0 litres. It is a detuned version engine in the range-topping Maserati Levante S that has 430 hp (321 kW) and 580 Nm.

Drive is through an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels with a limited-slip rear differential.

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It may be down on power (these things are relative…) but it can still make it from rest to 100 km/h in under six seconds (the Levante 430 horsepower runs in the low fives.)

Levante 350 has adjustable air springs that change the ride height according to conditions and drivers’ demands, and Skyhook shock absorbers.

Maserati Levante 350’s cabin has hand stitched leather trim and the dashboard is finished in piano black trim. The front seats are heated and have 12-way power adjustment. Naturally, the traditional Maserati analogue-look clock take pride of place in the centre of the dash.

The infotainment system is Maserati MTC+ with satellite navigation and digital radio. Connection is available through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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Levante 350 is also available with a choice of GranSport and GranLusso trim and equipment levels. These are priced at recommended retail $159,990 plus the usual on-roads.

The Maserati importer set up a five-day road trip to proudly introduce its new 350 horsepower to the Australian media. This saw it driven from Sydney to Melbourne – the long way. An excellent scenic route through Bathurst, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Albury.

On the road we found the drop in power from 430 to 350 horsepower hasn’t really taken away any of the sporting Italian’s excitement.

Then there’s the sound, a rousing, purposeful snarl that demands that you put the windows down just to listen to it.

Turbo lag is minimal and once you’ve passed that stage there’s a glorious surge of torque that gets you up steep hills as though they weren’t there.

The eight-speed automatic transmission plays its part too, seeming to read the drivers mind and getting electronic message from the engine’s computer to have it virtually instantly in the correct gear.

We did drive on some sections of dirt county roads but there was nothing that would tax a Maserati Ghibli let alone this AWD wagon.

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Cornering power is pretty impressive for a vehicle with a relative high centre of gravity. While it’s obviously not going to challenge low-slung Maserati sedans and sportscars in the twisty bits it comes closer than you might expect.

“The newest addition to Maserati Levante range is endowed with everything expected of a Maserati with a level of accessibility never before achieved in a Maserati,” says Glen Sealey, the Chief Operating Officer of Maserati Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

“It has the Ferrari-powered performance, the on- and off-road ability, the exclusive and unique trim and materials that can only come from Maserati and yet it is available at price point that brings Maserati into a whole new area of the market.

“It is no coincidence that the arrival of this latest Maserati model coincides with the opening of new Maserati dealers in Australia as we fully expect the newest Levante to significantly contribute to Australian sales.”

Having spent many delightful hours behind the wheel of several variants of the new Maserati Levante 350 we feel Mr Sealey has got a big winner on his hands.

MODEL RANGE
Levante 3.0-litre 257 kW Twin Turbo V6: $125,000
Levante GranSport 3.0-litre 257 kW Twin Turbo V6: $159,990
Levante GranLussot 3.0-litre 257 kW Twin Turbo V6: $159,990
Levante Turbo Diesel 3.0-litre 202 kW: $139,990
Levante Turbo Diesel GranSport 3.0-litre 202 kW: $159,990
Levante Turbo Diesel GranLusso 3.0-litre 202 kW: $159,990
Levante S 3.0-litre 321 kW: $179,990
Levante S GranSport 3.0-litre 321 kW Twin Turbo V6: $189,990
Levante S GranLusso 3.0-litre 321 kW Twin Turbo V6: $189,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Maserati dealer for drive-away prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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