The Maserati Levante Hybrid has joined the luxury Italian brand’s line-up as its second hybrid model, with a focus on performance and fuel saving, according to Maserati.
The Levante Hybrid sits alongside the Ghibli Hybrid, and is Maserati’s first hybrid SUV. It’s actually a mild-hybrid set-up that uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a belt starter-generator (BSG) powered by a compact battery to deliver a total output of 242kW and 450Nm – 90 per cent of which is available from just 1,750rpm.
This is sufficient for a 6.0-second 0-100km/h time and a top speed of 240km/h, helped by standard all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Maserati claims that the 48-volt electrics in conjunction with its new eBooster tech – which backs up the car’s turbocharger to improve response and sustain the engine’s power at low revs – delivers a performance level similar to the V6 petrol Levante, but that CO2 emissions have been cut by up to 18 per cent compared with that car.
Fuel economy is yet to be confirmed due to pending certification, but the car’s CO2 output stands at a best of 231g/km.
The brand says in the car’s Normal driving mode performance and efficiency is balanced, with energy recovered by the system when decelerating, while in Sport the BSG and eBooster combine to provide a small extra hit of power.
The Hybrid weighs less than the V6 too, and thanks to the battery’s location at the rear of the car, offers a 50:50 weight distribution. Of course, the four-cylinder hybrid might not quite sound like the V6, but Maserati has tuned the exhaust’s fluid dynamics and fitted resonators to boost the sound signature, rather than resorting to artificial enhancement inside the cabin.
The intelligent Q4 all-wheel drive system helps handling too. It distributes 100 per cent of the system’s torque to the rear wheels, with the front axle only assisting to a maximum split of 50:50 when the set-up senses a loss of traction. There’s also a standard-fit limited-slip differential on the rear axle, while torque vectoring features as well as air suspension, which is also fitted as standard.
This controls a double wishbone layout at the front and a multi-link rear axle. It’s adaptive depending on driving mode, which along with the Levante Hybrid’s Q4 set-up, means the car can be set-up for sporty driving on road, or light off-roading away from the tarmac.
The air suspension also boosts comfort and efficiency, according to Maserati. The system automatically lowers itself at speed to reduce drag, while the ride height can be manually selected for entry and exit in its lowest position, or boosted by 85mm when off road.
There are more driver assistance systems, including a new adaptive cruise control with Active Drive Assist that will steer for you, as well as an updated 8.4-inch multimedia system that is powered by Android Automotive, boasting more connectivity and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
The Levante Hybrid will make its debut in GT trim and with a new metallic blue Azzuro Astro paint finish. It’ll feature cobalt blue detailing for the three air vents on each side of the car, the brake calipers and the new C-pillar logo, while the Hybrid ushers in different badging around the car and on the inside for the infotainment screen.
GT spec features the GranLusso external styling features from the regular Levante, while inside standard leather and piano black trim are standard.
The Levante Hybrid will go on sale late in 2021 with local pricing to be confirmed towards the middle of the year.