It’s been a while since I did one of these design reviews. It’s the new Maserati SUV which is really a kind of raised pseudo-estate. It still looks good, and far better than I had feared.
Maserati call this a cross-over, making it somewhere between an estate car, hatchback and SUV. Whatever it is called it looks purposeful and is much the most successful Maserati design since the second last Quattroporte. Recent cars have been rather busy and fussily detailed. This one is calm with enough subtle touches to explain its purpose without drifting into the realms of cross-over cliché.
The side view shows simply surfaced flanks, a nicely falling roofline and a willingness to resist a raked windscreen. It shows how a QP estate could look too. Notice that the angle of the a-pillar does not meet the centre of the front axle but shoots forward. It’s probably not that apparent when seen in the metal.
And the front is pleasantly free of the complex lamp shapes that are the norm at the moment. The lamps connect to the grille in a similar fashion to some smaller BMWs and Mazdas. It works, giving the car a modern look without being contrived.
This is the 2014 Ghibli which has a nicer grille but less pleasing lamps. The shutline to the bumper is slightly too pronounced.
The Levante is quite an event for Maserati but these days crossovers are where the action is, to the dismay of saloon car enthusiasts. Although the car was mooted to have been built in Detroit, it is slated for production at Fiat’s Mirafiori plant. It will be on sale in Europe this year.
This is what Maserati had to say about the car. It “features clear associations with the Maserati brand and its distinctive Italian character: the aggressive front introduces new, tapered headlights separated into two elements, with the upper headlight unit connected to the radiator grille.”
It’s an important car for Maserati as global sales fell 11% last year.