Maserati Levante GT 2.0 Review: A Genuinely Entertaining Hybrid

Text by James Wong; Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club
24 May 2022
 

The best part about the small engine is its top end - redline it and you can feel another rush of power that Maserati says is from the 48V eBooster.

The Levante GT name belies what it actually is: Maserati’s first hybrid SUV.

Similar to the Ghibli GT, the Levante GT has a 2-litre 4-cylinder turbo engine paired to a 48V hybrid system. While modern Maseratis always received detuned Ferrari engines of some form, this 2-litre engine is (unofficially) from somewhere in the FCA Group (*cough* Alfa Romeo). Shocking, I know, a 4 pot in a Maserati! But give this one a chance, trust me.

It produces 330 hp and 450 Nm, which is just 20 hp and 50 Nm shy of the V6-equipped Levante. But by being a 100 kg lighter, the GT can do 0-100 km/h in 6 seconds - exactly the same as the V6 variant, too.

Obviously, the 4-cylinder isn’t going to match the V6’s power delivery despite being ‘as fast’ - but it hardly feels strained or laboured. The best part about the small engine is its top end - redline it and you can feel another rush of power that Maserati says is from the 48V eBooster. It sounds rather exciting, much better than I had imagined it to be. It seems to be more authentic than many of its German rivals too, the car being appropriately raucous on the outside with no fakery. Interestingly, it feels a little like the top end of a 2nd generation Renaultsport Megane RS, which is at once bewildering but rather pleasing. It’s clear the GT doesn’t have the heart of a fuel-sipper; it is very much a sports car engine, which calls for a sigh of relief.

Everything else about the GT is as you would expect of a Maserati - a plush, luxuriously appointed leather-lined interior still comes as standard, as do adjustable air suspension and soft-close doors. There is a whiff of handmade craftsmanship in here, which is a big plus when the car will relieve you of some $400+k including COE. But some areas do disappoint - the infotainment system, while snappy, looks aftermarket, which puzzles me when its sister brand Alfa Romeo is able to produce slick graphics for its software. Paint quality also seems inconsistent, with some eagle-eyed followers spotting less-than-stellar finishes on some macro shots of the car.

Show the Levante GT some corners and it will perform admirably (for an SUV), but despite having a rear-biased power split, the car prefers to settle into light understeer than to demonstrate any big angles. It’s a fine handling thing, but perhaps not as sharp as the best out there. At least it’s really comfortable with its air suspension setup, rarely putting a foot wrong despite the terrain.

The exterior seems rather too familiar now. It’s still more interesting than any run-of-the-mill SUV out there, but it’s unlikely to be called beautiful. The GT variant has blue accents on the C-pillar badges and the famous three vents on the front fender which differentiates it a little. It even gains a ‘GT’ badge on top of the aforementioned fender vents, which is finished a little confusingly in cursive. I think most people might not be able to make it out as ‘GT’.

Currently, the Levante GT is priced exactly the same as the Levante V6, the latter being an attractively-priced run-out model (as of press time, only one is left!) before the higher-spec Levante Modena takes over the mantle. The V6 model seems to give quite a bit more for the same money so it is a difficult decision to make, but do note that the V6-equipped Levante isn’t quite as specced out as the GT. We do think the Levante GT makes for a worthy entry-level car with a surprisingly peppy drivetrain, pricing aside.

In Summary

We Like

Luxuriously appointed interior; 4-pot exceeds expectations. 

We Don't

Weak infotainment system; feeling a little dated now overall. 

Verdict

A decent entry-level Levante, but perhaps a hard sell if priced similarly to the V6 variant.

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