Maserati‘s first SUV, the Levante, will be priced from about £55,000, the Italian luxury car maker has confirmed. The Levante is designed to steal sales from models such as the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport, and will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March. It is a key part of Maserati’s plan to expand its global sales to 75,000 cars a year by 2018, with that number seen as crucial if the 101-year-old company is to become a profitable and sustainable business.
In the UK the Levante is expected to double annual sales to about 3,000 cars.
This seems realistic given the popularity of SUVs, although Maserati is far from alone in seeking to take advantage of this.
To help the Levante standout, Maserati claims to have given it dramatic looks, including a front-end inspired by that of the Alfieri sports car concept which it showed at the 2014 Geneva show.
Maserati also says the Levante will have four-wheel drive and some off-road ability, but that it will be primarily setup for on-road dynamics.
Under the skin it uses the same platform as Maserati’s entry-level model, the £50k Ghibli saloon. What’s more, the engines available at launch will be the Ghibli’s V6 petrol and diesel engines.
A plug-in hybrid version is likely to follow, although Maserati is still not completely convinced this type of drivetrain would fit into its customers’ lives, according to its north Europe region manager Peter Denton.
In addition to the Levante, Maserati will expand its range by introducing a production version of the Alfieri in 2017.