The quintessential V8 Levante

A powerful Twin Turbo V8 on a finely tuned chassis combined with an elegantly restyled exterior and an exclusive interior wrapped in Full Premium Leather deliver the quintessential SUV in terms of outright performance, road handling and sporty pedigree.

A powerful Levante version built around the mighty Twin Turbo V8 engine, till recently reserved for the flagship Quattroporte GTS, was pretty much anticipated by international media and car aficionados since the official launch of the Maserati SUV.

It took the Trident two years to fit its powerful Twin Turbo V8 engine under the bonnet of its high-end SUV and offer two new top of the range versions: the super-sport 590hp Levante Trofeo and the elegantly powerful Levante GTS – two of the most capable and exclusive SUVs ever built.

The Levante GTS is equipped with one of the most powerful engines ever fitted in a Maserati. The 3.8-litre Twin Turbo V8 engine is a re-engineered, upgraded version of the power unit fitted in the flagship Quattroporte GTS, delivering 410 kW (550 hp) at 6,250 rpm and 730 Nm (538 ft-lb) peak torque at 2,500 – 5,000 rpm. Like any other petrol Maserati engine, this V8 has been developed by Maserati Powertrain in cooperation with Ferrari and is manufactured in its state-of-the art factory of Maranello.

Thanks to its remarkable weight / power ratio of 3.9 kg/hp the Levante GTS needs only 4.2 seconds to reach 100 km/h, while its top speed is 292 km/h. These figures fairly describe a modern supercar disguised in a high-end SUV body.

The chassis of the Levante GTS has been meticulously tuned to handle the higher power output, providing an exhilarating driving experience with no compromise in terms of long distance comfort and active safety.

The Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) system has been incorporated to offer even better driving dynamics and road handling as well as a genuine Maserati driving experience. Alongside the Levante Trofeo, the new Levante GTS brings the “Gran Turismo” philosophy in the SUV segment in its purest form.

The unmistakable Levante design has reached new levels of sportiness in the GTS version. Thanks to an elegant restyling focused on the lower front fascia and the rear bumper, the Levante GTS boasts a sportier and even more sophisticated presence.

Interior designers have come up with elegant ways to create a distinctive environment within the Levante GTS cabin providing it with standard Full Premium Leather upholstery, sport pedals and Harman Kardon Audio system with 14 speakers. The human-machine interface has been further improved featuring updated display graphics and improved climate system ergonomics.

The development of this new V8 Levante GTS is an interesting story on its own. It actually started as a skunkworks project by the Maserati technical centre in Modena, well before the official launch of the SUV model in 2016. Without informing the headquarters in Viale Ciro Menotti 322, the engineers built a V8 prototype intended to test the performance limits of the Levante platform.

The performance of that unbranded V8 “mule” prototype inspired the Maserati top management to proceed with the development of – not just one but – two top of the range versions, both built around the Twin Turbo V8 engine.

The development phase officially commenced in summer 2016, following the World Premiere of the Maserati of SUVs. The engineers were given a challenging timeframe and they were immediately focused, in association with their counterparts in Ferrari, on mating the V8 engine with the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system as well as on reaching the high performance targets of the project. The bespoke fine tuning of suspension and electronics and the inclusion of the Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) in the ESP management were the next steps in the development phase.

In May 2017, Maserati engineers and testers were assigned around the world to test the first V8 “mule” prototypes in diverse road and extreme weather conditions, ranging from the proving grounds of Balocco, Nardò and Barcelona to the twisty, desert or icy roads of Sierra Nevada, South Africa, Arizona and Lapland. The long-term testing activities covered extreme environments and climates ranging from -35°C to well over 40°C.

Powertrain

 3.8-litre Twin Turbo V8 and Q4 Intelligent AWD

The V8 of the Levante GTS is an evolution of the power unit fitted in the flagship 530hp Quattroporte GTS. It maintains the same 3.8-litre capacity and the V900 architecture but has been re-engineered and significantly upgraded to deliver 550hp at 6,250 rpm and 730 Nm peak torque at 2,500 to 5,000 rpm. Like all Maserati petrol units, it is assembled by Ferrari in Maranello, Italy.

The mighty Twin Turbo V8 engine has been revised to accommodate the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system for the first time. In order to make space for the drive shaft towards the front axle, Maserati designed a new crankcase with specific crankshaft assembly, new oil pump and auxiliary belt, as well as a different electric wiring layout.

Considering the maximum power objectives set for the two V8 Levante versions, a new engine mapping calibration wouldn’t be sufficient, so the technical department interfered seriously with the engine componentry.

Two new parallel twin-scroll turbochargers – one for each cylinder bank – with specific wheel design were fitted, providing higher flow performance. Each turbocharger is fed by a single intercooler with fresh air.

The high-tumble cylinder heads are also redesigned and fitted with different camshafts and valves for improved combustion efficiency, higher performance and moderate consumption. Internal parts like pistons and connecting rods were also redesigned to allow reaching the maximum power targets in combination with a specific engine calibration mapping.

The Levante GTS is fitted with the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox used on all the Levante versions, a unit acclaimed for its versatility and sporty character.

A redesigned gearshift lever with a more intuitive shift pattern, shorter travel and improved functionality controls the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The driver has the option to use the gearbox in either automatic (RND) or manual mode simply by shifting the lever from right to left. As a result, the M button has been eliminated on the central console, so the Sport driving mode and the Skyhook sport setting can be selected separately. A new ‘P’ button on the gearshift lever effortlessly sets the transmission in parking mode.

The Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive has been designed to deliver a typical Maserati rear-wheel drive experience and has been updated to suit the requirements of the Levante GTS. In normal driving conditions, the Q4 distributes 100% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. On slippery or loose road surfaces, or in the event of loss of traction at the rear, the system can alter the front/rear torque split from 0:100% to 50:50% in a matter of 150 milliseconds.

The GTS, like all Levante models, is standard equipped with a mechanical Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) at the rear axle that guarantees optimal traction in all driving situations. The asymmetric locking feature offers 25% lock-up under power and 35% under release.

In conjunction with the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system and the LSD, the torque-vectoring function considerably enhances the car’s sporty character. Whilst performing a cornering manoeuvre, the system distributes more torque to the outer wheels by applying a slight braking force to the inner wheels.

Chassis

Retuned suspension and Integrated Vehicle Control

Superior performance and driving pleasure are integral to Levante’s character and the same qualities are remarkably amplified in the new GTS. The adoption of the V8 engine has resulted in kerb weight increased by only 60 kg in comparison to the V6 petrol versions. Given the dramatic power increase – by no less than 120hp compared to the Levante S – the GTS boasts an impressive power ratio of only 3.9 kg/hp.

The chassis ensures outstanding levels of rigidity and provides very low centre of gravity as well as ideal 50:50 weight balance between the front and rear axle, typical to every Levante.

These virtues combined with finely tuned double-wishbone front / Multi Link rear suspension and 265/40 front and 295/40 rear tyres fitted on 20-inch aluminium alloy wheels, endow the new Levante GTS with impressive balanced handling and lateral stability comparable to that of a modern supercar. As an option, this V8 version can be equipped with 21-inch or with the brand new 22-inch forged wheels fitted with 265/35 R22 – 295/30 R22 front – rear tyres.

The chassis has been tuned to cope with ease with the extra power output of its Twin Turbo V8 and provides an exhilarating driving experience with no compromise in terms of day-to-day usability, long distance comfort and active safety.

The suspension essentially shares the same components and geometry with the other Levante models. Suspension frame, wishbones, hub strut, towers and the crossbeam reinforcement are all made of light aluminium alloy, using a moulding technology that ensures greater rigidity without weight increase.

The Air Spring control has been tuned to fit the specific characteristics of the new Levante GTS and is appropriately optimized for each driving mode. The pneumatic system provides six different levels and 75 mm height variation from lowest to highest position. Based on the same operating concept, the Sport Skyhook damping system has been tuned to match the handling requirements of this new V8 version.

The Maserati Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) system has been incorporated in the ESP control for the first time in the new GTS and Trofeo versions. IVC uses a smart, feed-forward controller that predicts driving situations and adapts the engine speed and brakes accordingly, providing impressive driving dynamics, better performance and improved active safety.

The system helps drivers maintain control of their vehicle, instead of simply correcting “driver mistakes” as traditional Electronic Stability Program (ESP) systems do.

In its Levante GTS application, IVC is specifically tuned to decrease understeer tendencies, typical to SUV cars. An understeer / oversteer function inside the Electric Power Steering control cooperates with the IVC system, resulting in a more natural and predictable driving feeling. The system instantly controls the steering torque on the steering wheel providing the driver with optimum feedback, especially in sporty driving.

The braking system deals superbly with the remarkable performance of the Levante GTS. The front brakes have adopted 6-piston aluminium monobloc calipers working on 380 mm drilled discs.

Floating calipers with 330 mm x 22 mm ventilated drilled discs are fitted at the rear. The ABS has undergone a specific setup for this V8 version.

Exterior design

Sporty yet sophisticated styling theme

The unmistakable Levante design has reached new levels of sophistication in the new Levante GTS. The revised styling theme has followed previous Maserati applications, like the recently restyled GranTurismo and Ghibli GranSport. Meticulous virtual environment simulations and extensive tests in the Turin wind tunnel have resulted in a drag coefficient Cx of 0.33.

The elegant restyling was mainly focused on the lower front fascia and the rear bumper. The side air intakes in the lower fascia feature a new, more aggressive design, defined by two aerodynamic wings that give a sense of further stability, visually “pushing” the weight of the car’s nose towards the massive front wheels. The characteristic side bezel blades and the lower splitter help improving the airflow distribution.

The rear end also looks wider and more muscular with a sharper horizontal element and a body-coloured lower extractor embracing the oval quad exhaust tips.

In detail, the Levante GTS features a chromed front grille with double vertical bars and chromed perimeter, lower honeycomb mesh fascia, body coloured door handles and rear spoiler and performance, painted red brake calipers.

The lower front splitter and the rear extractor are also body coloured. Combined with Black Piano inserts in the front and the rear bumper provide the Levante GTS with a subtly sporty look. The specific V8 version is also distinguished for the GTS rear badge.

The new Levante GTS is available with Full Matrix LED headlights as optional equipment. Compared to the standard Bi-Xenon headlamps, LED technology offers 20% better visibility, 32% cooler light and double life expectancy.

The full Matrix LED headlights utilize a digital camera mounted behind the rear view mirror that supports the Glare-free High Beam detection system, allowing the driver to keep the high beam on without dazzling oncoming drivers. The system is able to create a shade in correspondence of other vehicles switching dynamically on and off the LED matrixes. The full Matrix LED headlights can create up to four light tunnels simultaneously with each tunnel as large as the obstacle.

Interior Design

Sporty interiors with Full Premium Leather

Interior designers have come up with elegant ways to create a distinctive environment inside the Levante GTS cabin. The double soul of the Maserati brand – elegance and sportiness – is visible as well as tangible in every single detail.

The sculpted sport seats, the door panels, the lower dashboard and the armrest are wrapped with Full Premium Leather available in four colours: black, red, tan and beige. The elegant upholstery is available with contrast stitching and combined with specific single stitching on the door panels and Alcantara® headlining. All seats, as well as the sport steering wheel are heated, while front seats are ventilated. As an option, full-grain “Pieno Fiore” natural leather is also available in three colours (black, tan, red) with specific stitching on the seats and new, double stitching on the door panels.

The new gearshift lever features a powerful vertical structure fully wrapped with Premium leather, providing a comfortable grip feeling. A metal and black-ink Maserati logo gem clips the entire structure. The redesigned instrument cluster graphics resemble a chronograph dial and are inspired by the Maserati racing heritage, underlining the sportiness of the Levante GTS.

An array of interior details underlines the sporty character of the Levante GTS: Black Piano trim, aluminium paddle shifters, sport foot pedals, specific instrument cluster graphics and Maserati clock dial, illuminated door sills, chromed trunk sill and velour floor mats are all included in the standard equipment of the V8 version. The Levante GTS is also equipped with a 900W, 14-speaker Harman Kardon Premium Sound System providing a concert hall sound experience.

Like every Levante, the new GTS boasts a highly responsive interface unit that uses the Maserati Touch Control Plus (MTC+) with 8.4” capacitive touchscreen and a user-friendly rotary knob in the central console, providing intuitive control of the on-board systems. The high-resolution screen operates like a tablet, recognising drag, scroll, swipe and rotate gestures. The system includes digital radio, Bluetooth, satellite navigation supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

MTC+ also controls seat and steering wheel heating, front seat ventilation and the rear window blinds, if fitted. It has been further improved with updated display graphics and improved climate system ergonomics. The button that deactivates the Start&Stop function can now be dragged and dropped on the main screen bar for immediate access from every single menu.

The central lower console’s rotary knob is a high-quality forged aluminium component that offers intuitive control of audio volume and other infotainment system functions. The driver can alter the ride height via the nearby rocker switch or by choosing different driving modes on the central console. The height variation from the lowest position to the highest is 75 mm – up to 85 mm with the Park level included.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
LEVANTE GTS

Engine Layout: Petrol 90° V8, twin-turbo – direct injection (GDI)
Displacement (cc): 3,799
Max Power: 410 kW (550 hp) @ 6,250 rpm
Peak Torque: 730 Nm (538 ft-lb) @ 2,500 – 5,000 rpm

0-100 km/h: 4.2 secs
Top speed: 292 km/h
100-0 km/h: 34.5 metres

Gearbox: Eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox
Transmission: Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive with rear Limited-Slip Differential
Suspension Front: Double-wishbone, adjustable Air Springs, Skyhook shock absorbers
Suspension Rear: Multi-Link, adjustable Air Springs, Skyhook shock absorbers

Length/width/height (mm): 5,020 / 1,968 / 1,698
Wheelbase: 3,004 mm
Kerb Weight: 2,170 kg
Tyres (standard): 265/40 R20 front – 295/40 R20 rear

Fuel Consumption (litres/100 km)
(Combined* Cycle): 13.5

CO2 Emissions (g/km)
(Combined* Cycle): 313

* The fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures shown were determined according to the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 in the version applicable at the time of type approval. The figures refer to a vehicle with basic configuration and the range shown considers the different size of the selected wheels and tyres.

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