Like a tweet celebrating the gender sensitivity of Harvey Weinstein, the quote did not age well. He was an executive to remain nameless from one of the British supercar brands. As SUVs and crossovers slowly moved into their now-secured perch dominating the automotive world in sales and popularity, the question seemed simple: “Will the supercar brands ever build their own SUVs?”
This very intelligent, but perhaps misled gentleman made it clear: “Never. It’s not in their DNA.”
Cut to 2020 as DNA evolves. The well-heeled car enthusiast can now choose from the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and (in a year or so) the Ferrari Purosangue. There’s money to be made selling SUVs, and the supercar companies didn’t sew “super” onto their nomenclature by passing up on cash.
Maserati speeds into the game with the 2020 Levante – a muscular mix of SUV, hatchback and supercar ready for luxurious duty with a starting MSRP of about $78,000. Available in no less than eight trim levels, that set breaks down into two powerplant varieties — a 3.0-liter V6 and a 3.8-liter V8.
Those two extra pistons in the eight-cylinder provide up to 430 horsepower and a top speed time of 165 mph. They also make a difference in the driving experience by giving the neck an extra jerk when the foot mashes the accelerator and by adding an angrier bark to the exhaust note. Still, the more affordable V6 still provides 350 horsepower and a maxed out mph of 156. So, neither variety lacks aggression and speed.
The new star in the Levante family is the 2020 Maserati Levante Edizione Ribelle – a special concoction of the SUV limited to 100 builds. Put down about $99,000, and you get a decked out, black Levante with:
- Forward collision warning
- Active blind spot assist
- Surround view camera
- Highway assist with autonomous driving elements such as adaptive cruise control & lane keep assist
- 20-inch black wheels with contrasting red brake calipers
- Maserati trident logo stitched headrests
- Center console with dedicated numbered badge & carbon fiber trim
- Carbon fiber door and dashboard inserts
- Harman Kardon audio system
Still, with all those elite options available, the V6 Levante varieties remain an option for the aspirational buyer looking for a supercar badge on an SUV for less than $100,000. That’s the charming side of Maserati, if you can do without the maxed-out features. Whether it’s the Levante SUV or the Ghibli entry level sedan, Maserati doesn’t price these cars too far out of the luxury range.
So, not only are SUVs now woven into supercar DNA, drivers can pay their way into that gene pool with without facing that traditional six-figure supercar price tag.