The engine is the ubiquitous ZF eight-speed and it’s just as good in the Levante as it is in Jaguar Land Rover products.
The steering is now electronic instead of hydraulic; mixed reviews on this from my colleagues, but the added torque around the dead-ahead works brilliantly for a sense of precision and control at slow speeds. That’s crucial in this car because it really does feel heavy and wide compared with, say, the Alfa Stelvio. You might think, all being equal under the Fiat umbrella, these two companies would share components and engines, if not platforms (Stelvio is Giulia, Levante is Ghibli, also due for refresh soon), but no, everything, is different, partly to assuage Maserati owners that they’re getting value for the extra pounds.
And you do feel that, up to a point. Levante owners get four-wheel-drive and air suspension as standard, both of which you’d want, the first for practicality, the second for comfort. And there’s the spine-tingling noise that the engine makes as it works its way up to 424bhp. For that, we’re tempted to ignore the clumsy and fiddly infographics on the satnav screen.
This new Levante is a much, much better proposition than the launch version, purely because of that Ferrari-derived engine which turns the car from a half-hearted marketing attempt to tick the luxury Italian SUV box into a seriously engineered, driver’s proposition.
Engine: 2,979cc twin-turbo V6 petrol
Transmission: 8-spd auto
bhp/lb ft: 424/428
Top Speed: 164mph
Price as tested: £76,995 (from £56,250)