We look at why you should buy a 2023 Maserati Levante and some reasons you might want to put your purchase on hold.
The Maserati Levante was one of the original ultra-high-performance and exclusive SUVs. It came before the Lamborghini Urus or the Aston Martin DBX, and when it launched in 2016, it took the automotive world by storm.
Powered by a monstrous engine delivering a soundtrack worthy of a Ferrari supercar, the Maserati Levante felt like a step above in exclusivity and even performance compared to the likes of the Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5. The Levante also helped propel Maserati to a new plateau of sales and profitability. It served as the entrance and first experience with the Maserati brand for thousands of consumers. If we have so many Maserati models today, we can thank the Levante.
Now that’s all fine and well, and the first time I drove the Levante, I fell in love with the Italian performance SUV. With the engine’s sound, the sharp and dynamic handling, and the way it leapt forward without hesitation, the Levante was truly a unique driving experience. The problem is that there is little difference between the model I drove this year and the first Levante I enjoyed four years ago. Very few changes have been made to the Levante over the years, and that is a problem, especially when you’re asking consumers to spend between $112,000 for a base Levante and nearly $200,000 for a top trim.
My particular 2023 Maserati Levante was the Modena S trim which has a starting price of $148,500. It was painted in what might be the perfect colour for a model like this, a burn-your-eyes-out Giallo Modenese that attracted attention everywhere. The unique paint is available through the Maserati Fuoriseries customization program and adds $21,250 to the invoice. Yeah…
The 22-inch black staggered wheels were also an option that added a sinister look to the Levante. They more than justify their $5,000 price tag.
While lesser Levante trims get a 3.0-litre V6 with 345 horsepower or 424 horsepower, depending on the model, my tester featured the screaming 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8, which is assembled at the Ferrari plant in Maranello. However, it shares very few actual mechanical components with the Ferrari equivalent. With a 0-100 km/h time of 4.2 seconds and 523 screaming horses ready to be unleashed, this engine gives you nearly the same performance in the Modena S as what you find in the top-of-the-line Levante Trofeo, but for $40,000 less.
It’s hard to talk about a bargain when looking at the 2023 Maserati Levante, but if there is one to be found, it would be this trim. So, with all that in mind, should you buy a 2023 Maserati Levante? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Should You Buy a 2023 Maserati Levante?
Here we look at why you might want to buy a 2023 Maserati Levante, including the exceptional engine sound, performance, handling, and looks of this unique and distinct luxury SUV.
Exceptional Engine Sound
This 3.8-litre V8 engine has perhaps the purest engine note of any vehicle under $200,000. The only sound I can think of that comes close in its honesty and purity comes from a Porsche 911 with the Sport Exhaust. It’s not exaggerated, nor is it ridiculously loud. Still, the sound coming out of the Levante Modena S’ quad exhaust delivers the kind of experience that would be enough to justify a buy in the minds of many enthusiasts.
The engine in the 2023 Maserati Levante doesn’t just sound good; it performs exceptionally well. There is very little hesitation, and it is quite smooth, delivering the exact amount of power you want relative to how much pressure you put on the accelerator. The engine delivers its ample horsepower in a very linear fashion, but there is always plenty of torque on hand to leap forward when needed. The Levante also makes you feel its performance is better than any high-performance SUV. It feels fast and quick because it is.
The handling and steering feel of the Maserati Levante round out the perfect performance trifecta. It’s very quick in a straight line, and the sound is mesmerizing, but when you hit the corners, the level of control and balance is just as impressive. There’s something to be said about the steering wheel; it simply feels moulded to the driver. It’s easy to grasp, comfortable and small and elevates the overall driving enjoyment in this Italian SUV.
Definition of a Head-Turner
This will depend on your opinion of these kinds of matters. Still, for anyone looking to stand out in the crowd, you will have to pay significantly more money and get behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Urus to attract the same kind of attention as the Levante. My yellow tester may have skewed my opinion of the Maserati’s ability to attract attention. I will admit that some of the entry-level models, when painted in silver or dark blue, are less eye-catching, but the fact remains that the 2023 Maserati Levante is not a site you will often see on the road. In its price range, it is by far the most exclusive option.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2023 Maserati Levante
Now we look at why you might want to avoid buying a 2023 Maserati Levante, starting with the fact that the interior desperately needs a refresh. Moreover, reliability is a tricky topic at Maserati, and those 22-inch wheels may look great, but they make an already uncomfortable SUV even worse.
I can live with the other two points that I will describe shortly, but the interior of the 2023 Maserati Levante would be more than enough to make me move on to another vehicle if I had $150,000 to spend. You don’t even get a digital instrument cluster, and you have to figure out the outdated infotainment system through a minuscule centre display.
The quality of the materials is fine, and the overall design of the interior is still quite appealing, but the lack of technology is unacceptable in this price range. At the very least, the Levante would need the same interior as the brand-new Maserati Grecale to justify even a little bit its price. When you’re paying over $100,000, luxury and refinement, as well as advanced technology, should never be compromised.
My tester’s massive 22-inch wheels didn’t help comfort. You can forget about any cushioning when you go over bumps and potholes, and the stiff suspension will enthusiastically transfer the vibrations into your seat. Now you may wonder if it gets better with smaller 20-inch or 21-inch wheels, and the answer would be no. I can confirm this from my experience driving other Maserati Levante models over the years with smaller wheels.
The Levante is a performance-oriented SUV that significantly compromises comfort to achieve the impeccable handling we discussed earlier. It could be more spacious too. The rear seats are among the smallest in the segment, and even the front seats feel cramped.
Reliability Is Still A Problem
I rarely discuss reliability in these reviews because reliability improves for some brands quickly and takes a nosedive for others just as fast. There are few consistently unreliable vehicles on sale today, and even within those models, you might get lucky and not have any problems.
However, in the case of Maserati overall, the issue isn’t necessarily the unpredictable reliability but more the fact that this model will often serve as the primary vehicle for many owners. With the limited number of dealerships in North America, these owners likely will find themselves quite a way from their dealer. I live two hours away from the closest Maserati dealership, which would be enough for me to hesitate. You might have issues with your Levante, or you might not, but do make sure you have a backup plan.
As a performance SUV, the Maserati Levante continues to set the benchmark even if it’s been around for a while. Regarding engine sound and handling, it can rival any SUV on the market, including much more expensive options. However, it desperately needs a refresh inside, and now that Maserati has a second SUV to offer, this is a good opportunity to make their top-of-the-line model more versatile and even more exclusive. In the meantime, despite everything it does well, it’s hard to recommend the Maserati Levante.