It’s the Maserati Levante Trofeo, unveiled at the New York Auto Show, and, like that trident on its nose, it’s as sharp as anything in the class thanks to a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 built for it by Ferrari at Maranello.
Maserati has used this powerplant – one of the family of engines that also powers V8 Ferraris like the 488 GTB – already, under the nose of the flagship Quattroporte GTS. But for the new top-of-the-range Levante Trofeo it gets even more grunt: 582bhp in fact (that’s 60 more horses than the Quattroporte) and a dollop more torque too, peaking at 538lb ft.
Mated to the Levante’s Q4 intelligent all-wheel drive system, the result is the new Trofeo sits half a rung above the normal fast SUV suspects and almost in line with the “super-SUV” from down the autostrada, the Lamborghini Urus.
Claimed performance? Levante Trofeo 187mph and 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds; Lambo Urus 190mph and 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds. Should be quite a drag race then! And yes, the Maserati does come with Launch Control.
This is the first time Maserati has put a V8 into its good-looking new SUV, existing models being powered by either petrol or diesel V6s. So the Trofeo represents quite a step up; Maserati, in fact, says it is one of the fastest and most powerful cars ever to wear the Maserati badge. With 156hp/litre, that Ferrari-built engine delivers the highest specific output of any Maserati powerplant ever produced. There’s a good chance that it will sound pretty good too.
The Trofeo looks the business thanks to the expected carbon-fibre body makeover (new front and rear bumpers, side intakes and aero blades), matrix LED lights, 22-inch forged aluminium wheels and new trim and seats inside. The firm says all the running gear has been tuned for the extra performance, but that the 50:50 weight distribution and relatively low centre of gravity(for a high-riding SUV) remain. Maserati says the Trofeo offers an “exhilarating driving experience with no compromise in terms of comfort”.
The Trofeo on show in New York is a special launch edition aimed at the North American market where it is thought the model will go on sale first. There’s no word yet on when and how much for the UK market.