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Not too much longer now...


Maserati begins development of new Levante SUV | Autocar





Maserati officials have confirmed the Levante SUV will launch at the end of 2015, with right-hand drive versions going on sale in early 2016.
Early mules for the SUV have already been spotted testing. The launch of the model will be the culmination of a journey which began three years ago with the Maserati Kubang concept - which served notice of the Italian manufacturer's plans to build a rival to the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X6.
Maserati marketing director James Cowan told Autocar the SUV has the potential to be a "game-changer" for the brand. "It will be our biggest seller in many markets and will attract almost universally new customers to the brand," he said "The key factor is that it is a global vehicle - it will sell well in Europe, the US and China, and that gives us a broad base to approach sales from."
The brand has set targets to grow sales of to 75,000 units by 2018, of which around 3000 will be in the UK. "that's massive growth from where we were in 2013, when we sold 319 cars in the UK, but it is still relatively niche," said Cowan "By 2018 we should have around 30 UK dealers - so that averages out at 100 sales per dealer, which should ensure customer service and experience remains top-notch."
Cowan also said Maserati would work to grow its brand awareness: "One of the biggest challenges we face is getting people to want to know about Maserati. They've heard if it but they aren't necessarily eager to know anything beyond the Ferrari association. That's why we launched the Levante concept early - to get people talking about us."
Current test mules for the Levante appear to be based on a heavily modified and raised Ghibli body, although this isn't expected to look like the definitive production version, which will take cues from the Kubang. The high-riding stance and large wheels of the test mule suggests that it could be assessing a four-wheel-drive system.
The test mule has a much more rugged appearance than a standard Ghibli, with flared wheel arches and a revised roofline, which could be carrying some supplementary weight in order to simulate the higher kerb weight of an SUV compared to the 1810kg Ghibli.
The Levante will use a version of the ‘Q4’ all-wheel drive system adapted from its application in the latest Ghibli and Quattroporte models.
The all-wheel drive system will be modified for the Levante’s dual-purpose role, with Maserati expected to draw on sister brand Jeep’s expertise for the SUV’s rough-terrain capabilities.
The Levante’s structure will draw on the Quattroporte and Ghibli, while some electronics will come from Chrysler and Jeep. Its underpinnings are a development of those used on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. As with the Quattroporte and Ghibli, the Levante is expected to contain a high level of weight-saving aluminium in its body and suspension.
Engines for the Levante will include the firm’s new 410bhp twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 and a 530bhp twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8. A 271bhp 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel will be the key powerplant for Europe. The engines will be linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
 

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I can't get enough of what seems to be a DRL lit up on the drivers side.
At night it will look even better, might scare away old ladies and small children sitting in the vehicle in front that just happen to look back :D
 
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