I was entirely remiss in not lifting the bonnet of our test car. Well these days there is little point for all that is usually on display is a plastic cover designed to reduce noise and vibration. The Trofeo however does not hide its light under a bushel, lift the bonnet and there in its unadorned crackle red-finished glory is Ferrari’s 3.8-ltre twin-turbo V8 as seen in 488 and Roma. Outfitted with a crossplane crank to benefit torque at the (slight) expense of power it produces 580PS (426kW) and 730Nm (538lb ft) of torque. This officially makes it the most powerful production Maserati to date given that the MC12 was limited series only, capable of 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 187mph.
It does so quite hilariously as this is not your traditional large V8-powered off-road behemoth which relies on waves of torque but remains a supercar-style screamer with peak power not arriving until 6,250rpm. A wafty Range Rover this is not. Under normal circumstances 100 per cent of the power is delivered to the rear axle which also benefits from a mechanical limited slip differential. As grip starts to slip, up to half the torque can be transmitted to the front axle to even things up.
Public roads in the south east of England are not the place to test the limits of a lively leviathan but the Levante is impressive within the bounds of legality. Despite the 22-inch wheels the (somewhat creaky) air suspension copes with our parlously potholed roads well although the size of the rims plus run flat tyres does mean harder edges are transmitted through to the cabin. The new Corsa drive mode sharpens everything up to a degree that would be more suitable for the track were this not an SUV, although separate buttons to trigger the drivetrain and suspension’s readiness do mean that the driver isn’t constrained to an all-or-nothing approach. The gearbox seems to be intelligently on its game regardless of mode with quick shifts either in auto or manual modes and an almost telepathic readiness to change ratios.