Car review: The new Maserati Levante S puts the ‘S’ in smooth—in style and steel

The Maserati of SUVs


By Natalie Khoo

Car review: The new Maserati Levante S puts the ‘S’ in smooth—in style and steel

It’s not often that I’m offered the opportunity to catch a plane to Langkawi with the primary purpose of test-driving a car. So when Maserati came knocking on my door (read: my inbox) for a nature drive with the restyled Maserati Levante S, it was a no-brainer—even if it was just for a brief overnight trip.

Why fly from KL to Langkawi instead of making a road trip around the city? Not that I needed convincing, but I can think of two main reasons this made sense: one, Maserati’s ties to sea (represented by the iconic Trident logo—the weapon of Neptune, the god of the sea); and two, both Maserati and Langkawi are synonymous with “sport” and “luxury”.

If you think about it, where better to put the pedal to this beast of Italian metal than on the stomping grounds of luxury lifestyle?

My fateful acquaintance with the 2022 Maserati Levante S started at the entrance of the serene Temple Tree Restaurant. Its new front grille made a handsome first impression, complemented by refreshed rear light clusters, which feature a boomerang shape inspired by Giugiaro’s 3200 GT introduced in the late ‘90s. These design updates build upon the car’s elegant sport styling, further refining its commanding presence on the road.

There are two styling options offered, unchanged from the previous iteration. On the GranSport trim, the side air intakes in the lower fascia boast a more aggressive design, with two aerodynamic wings offering a sense of stability and visually shifting the weight of the car’s nose towards the massive front wheels. True to the name, the trim is sportier overall, defined by more athletic bumpers, front and rear Black Piano inserts, as well as GranSport badges on the front fenders, red brake callipers, and 21-inch Anteo or Helios wheels.

On the other hand, the GranLusso’s exteriors are characterised by elegant chrome inserts in the front fascia, chrome front and rear skid plates, a body colour rear spoiler, black-painted brake callipers, GranLusso badges on the fenders, and 21-inch Anteo wheels. Whichever you prefer, the Maserati of SUVs is a sure sight for sore eyes.

I called shotgun first to explore the interiors of the car while my assigned driving partner took the wheel for the first leg of our tour—a drive up to Gunung Raya. The 40-minute drive gave me ample time to scrutinise the new state-of-the-art 8.4-inch central display and instrument cluster. Redesigned to look like a single curved screen with the air vents cut into it, the bezel-less central screen was visually pleasing and equally satisfying to operate thanks to its updated graphics and resolution.

After stopping for refreshments and basking in the views atop the tallest peak on the island, I jumped into the driver’s seat. This allowed me to have a closer look at the refreshed analogue rev counter and speedometer placed on the ends of the seven-inch TFT display on the instrument cluster, which complement the high-tech aesthetics of the central screen.

Engine-wise, it’s the same Levante powertrain as before, offering 430hp and 580Nm of torque. All that power translates to a really smooth driving experience—from the winding hillside roads of Gunung Raya to the scenic tree-lined country lanes leading to our next stop in Tanjung Rhu. I’d credit this in part to the seamless ZF-eight speed auto transmission and all-wheel-drive. Two words: sheer pleasure.

Elsewhere, the ADAS system is now equipped with an Active Driving Assist (ADS) which works on any kind of well-maintained roads (previous versions were only usable on the highway). When the Adaptive Cruise Control system is activated, the ADS function helps to keep the car centred in its lane up at speeds to 145km/h, thus reducing driver fatigue and enhancing safety. I didn’t really get to test this out during the island drive, but I’d consider this upgrade as a bonus.

Personally, it was the low growl when the engine kicks into action from a standstill position and the fiery roars as the car picks up speed that particularly left me grinning in the cockpit. Even though I didn’t get to test out the Levante’s claim of reaching 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds or go anywhere close to the top speed of 264km/h, those sounds made the journey positively exhilarating.

By the time I hit the brakes at our final stop of the day—a rewarding night’s stay at The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi—I didn’t quite want to say ciao to the Levante S. Alas, the ocean beckoned, followed by a delightful dinner (with Italian food on the menu, of course) at the resort.

With all that said, one could argue that it was the island experience that gave the Levante S a run for its money. But I’d take this Italian hunk on another date in KL, any day.

The new Maserati Levante S is available in Malaysia at RM 808,800.00, inclusive of full specifications and options. Interested buyers are entitled to enjoy a limited time offer of 5 years Standard Warranty coverage with no mileage restriction.

Contact the Naza Italia – Maserati showroom at 03 7956 8599 or 1700 81 5051 for an exclusive viewing. For more information, visit this website.

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