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SUVs are all the rage right now and Maserati wanted to take advantage of that with their own segment competitor, the Levante. There’s definitely a lot of interest if the Socal public’s reaction to Arthur St. Antoine’s test Levante is anything to go by.

As an editor for Automobile, test driving new vehicles is in the job description and Arthur had the chance to spend a whole week with the uplevel SQ4 edition. Hidden in that clean and elegant body is the same twin-turbo DOHC V-6 powering its Ghibli sports coupe sibling, but with updated intake and exhausts systems. Delivering 424 hp, the Levante can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds which is somewhat surprising if you take it’s nearly 5,000 pound curb weight into consideration.

One gripe he did have was of the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shift paddles, something that felt old and clunky in his hands. The shift lever and its lack of detents didn’t help either as Arthur found himself shifting into park or neutral when all he wanted to do was go in reverse.

But other than that, the Levante is a brilliant vehicle that can easily cruise along at triple digit speeds and you wouldn’t even know that you were speeding. That’s how quiet the cabin is, with no wind noise and barely any engine sounds coming through.

Maserati’s goal is to sell around 30,000 Levantes in North America annually and after using it as a daily driver for a week, Arthur thinks the goal is well within reach.
 

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Yeah, can someone please strangle the dude that came up with that shifter. The first time I used it I thought it was me. its not me -- its lame.
 

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Yeah, can someone please strangle the dude that came up with that shifter. The first time I used it I thought it was me. its not me -- its lame.
Agreed, it's the most obnoxious thing. I'm used to it now, but even today I have quirks putting it into reverse. It just looks cheap as well.
 

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Coming from an F-Pace (2nd)....this is nothing!

I have been active on forums for a while, various cars, learned a lot, dismissed a lot, etc. etc.

I have come from the more horrific experiences (2nd time around first was a buyback...so shame on me)! The shift is the least of my concerns as a result. Thus far the Levante is a "godsend" as far as ride, performance (to date). I am pleased with everything about it thus far, including the 900 Watt Harmon Kardon stereo system.

This vehicle is solid as a rock, and makes a driving experience exciting once again. I was worried about loosing the look of my awesome looking Jaguar F-Pace, but have been able to replace if not surpass this beauty in a different way. As a few of my colleagues said to me, the F-Pace is a beautiful car 20' away or more, but beyond this..., a problem. How right they are without question. I am still a Jag fan, own an F-Type R, but have to admit the Levante is a pleasure and happy as a clam to have this vehicle.
 
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