By on March 25, 2020

2019 Maserati Levante GTSOne of my longstanding beefs with certain luxury brands that share corporate families with mainstream nameplates is that many of them don’t do enough to differentiate their high-priced metal from what’s on offer further down the ladder.

Count Maserati among that number — at least when it comes to the Levante GTS. While it boasts Italian designer looks on the outside, its connection to “lesser” Fiat Chrysler models is apparent on the inside.

At least speed covers up a lot of sins, and thanks to a Ferrari-sourced 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 550 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque, the Levante GTS puts the sport in sport-utility.

Too bad that an SUV that costs more than some homes is all too willing to show its Chrysler bones. While even the rich usually have lowly roots, they typically don’t show them.

The driving experience does mask a lot of flaws. It may be an SUV, but it still has some Italian sport-sedan roots. For example, the noises emitted from the exhaust pipes are quite pleasing. Acceleration is properly swift – it’s a shame most of my driving was in urban traffic, and I was unable to truly stretch the Levante’s prodigious legs.

Turn into a corner, and the Levante feels planted, though with a tad bit of body roll. You do get precise steering as part of the deal. You don’t forget that the Levante GTS is an SUV, but it’s mostly well behaved on road, with only the body roll really putting a damper on things. The adjustable air suspension is generally up to the task. Some rough shifts from the 8-speed automatic do make the Levante feel a little rough around the edges at times, especially in Sport mode. Paddle shifters do allow you to take over.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS

All-wheel drive is the only kind of drive, but the power mostly flows to the rear (unless otherwise required).

There’s often a performance penalty to be paid, so to speak, usually in terms of ride. Which, unsurprisingly, is more than a tad on the stiff side. Twenty-two-inch rims no doubt play a part in that dynamic. If you want to look good and drive fast, this is the penalty. The air suspension can help provide comfort in the right mode, but only so much. And yes, it’s stiff in Sport mode. Perhaps too much so for daily maneuvering.

Maserati has tried to put its own stamp on the Levante with items such as an analog clock, unique switches and scripts, and other bits that differentiate it from the lesser models in the Fiat Chrysler portfolio. Still, the infotainment system and other switchgear bear a bit too much resemblance to what’s on offer in cheaper products. Despite the fact that the cabin is mostly different from less-expensive SUVs in the FCA family, there needs to be more of an upmarket feel at this rarefied price point.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS

Even the nearly three grand in carbon fiber trim isn’t quite enough.

That doesn’t mean comfort is sacrificed. There’s nothing punishing about the Maser’s seats or NVH levels. It’s just that it’s all too clear which parts were pulled from the bin in an attempt to cut costs.

At least the exterior styling is worthy of the storied Italian badge. Yes, the booty is a bit bulbous, but the Levante’s low-slung stance, gently sloping hood, and narrow headlights give it the proper look for a SUV that’s far more concerned about sport.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS

My test unit based at $120,980. A heated steering wheel, highway assist, Alcantara headliner, and traffic-sign recognition were among the standard features. Leather seats cost $1,490, while the aforementioned carbon-fiber trim cost $2,890. A Maserati logo stitched into the headrests rang another $290.

Four-zone climate control sets you back $1,090, while a kick sensor costs $100. Black DLO costs $400, while those 22’s are an eye-popping $4,000. Yellow-painted brake calipers set you back another $300, a driver-assistance package checks in at $1,590, and a soft-door close costs $590. The Bowers and Wilkins audio system runs $1,990 while the full LED headlamps cost $990. So before D and D – which wasn’t listed on my price sheet – the total is $136,890.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS

That princely sum snags you an SUV that’s quite fast and handles well for its size; unfortunately, for that price, there needs to be fewer reminders that Maserati is a corporate sibling of Chrysler at this moment in time.

The question is, oh ye of the trust fund, how much flack are you willing to take from your snooty friends for these low-rent parts in exchange for the sound, speed, and cornering on offer here? Does the American influence ruin the Italian heritage?

For some, the performance will make the point moot. For others, well, Maserati has some work to do.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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30 Comments on “2019 Maserati Levante GTS Review – Speedy, but Special Enough?...”


  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Mazerati Cimarron

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    Yeah it’s kind of bland looking and the interior does not look like it belongs in a 6 figure car. I don’t see what it offers over a (cheaper) X5M Competition ($131,325 with every option checked) or GLE63S (likewise, $129,665+delivery).

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Not a CUV fan, but I love the Ghibli…and, yes, I know it’s garbage. Don’t care.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Well at least you can tell the babes “I drive a Maserati” It worked when I had an Audi, but I could see their disappointment when they saw the little A3.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Fender vents always remind me of Grandpa’s ’68 LaSabre.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Finding the Jeep in my Dodge Durango is simple. Finding the Mercedes takes a little more searching. Please tell me. Which Fiat Chrysler SUV do I buy to find the discount Levante?

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Another reviewer remarked that the parts match the Grand Cherokee.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Of course, the Jeep’s V8 isn’t from Ferrari. So there’s that.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        If you’re going to trade so heavily in comparisons / relationship to lesser FCA product in a review, maybe you should make it clear in the review what that lesser product is. You know, support your assertions with fact, not lazily reference another review in the comments of your own.

        • 0 avatar
          stuckonthetrain

          A lot of the interior plastic bits and switch gear seem carried over. From the Ghibli I tested once, it seemed in those instances the plastic piece may be identical (in that case, to a 300), but there might be additional dampening or silicone/rubber backing to make them “click” or “turn” smoother.

          That’s more observation and best guess than fact, tho

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Yeah, the Jeep V8 can be had with 157 more ponies under the hood.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Kinda looks like an Infiniti with a body kit.

    I don’t really understand who Maseratis are for.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      I only ever see them with NY or NJ plates and dads with slicked-back hair inside. Though I have seen some CA-plated Maseratis in the past.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I never see them in real life, so who knows who they’re for

      • 0 avatar
        stuckonthetrain

        A decent amount in South FL, DFW and Houston, and Atlanta too (just judging from my work travel), often driven by nice-looking 30- / 40-something women who seem like RE agents.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      One thing they are for is a Ferrari designed 550HP V8.
      When I read the local paper this AM, I saw a couple of 2019 GTS’s advertised for $18000 off – about $107K. Have no idea about how firm that is and no time to waste on dickering for something I won’t buy, just for sport.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I think the big problem Maserati has is spelled “Alfa Romeo”.

    Basically, unless you’re getting a V8, get the Alfa.

    Still, I wouldn’t kick one one of the garage for consuming oil between changes.

  • avatar
    icarus_

    I have a Ghibli SQ4, recent purchase, and it has been fantastic so far. I get some of the critique… but for me it’s simply a car that places a priority on different things compared to the normal players in this class. Handling, Power, Sound, exterior style, and core tech (car play, heated seats and wheel, all the main drivers aids one would want) are all there.
    Surprising to even me, I would rank it as the best car I have ever owned.

    The Levanti looks more bland that mine with the color combo you have here. In a good color with the more unique interiors they look more lux. If you value performance and driving feel maybe it’s worth it… but I do agree that, at that price, it’s hard to justify. At 80K it would be more competitive. 136k is pretty steep for what is a Ghibli with a bigger motor and SUV’d.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      Congrats!

      Also, thank you for making my recent purchase of an Alfa seem downright sensible.

      Just kidding…kind of.

      But seriously, these are cars that make no logical sense, and that’s the best thing about them.

      • 0 avatar
        icarus_

        Ha! Congrats on the Alfa… I was close to a Giulia but pivoted to this. Loved them both, just liked the Maserati, personal preference. Like you said, it’s an absurd car – not the rational chose. But that makes me like it all the more.

        • 0 avatar
          Garrett

          Agreed.

          If I was going to go Maserati, I’d have to go with one of the three (!) blue choices, with the cuoio interior. There’s just something about that combo that really appeals to me.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    $130k.

    Wow. I really don’t see why anybody spends that kind of money on these.

  • avatar

    Hyundai Miserati

  • avatar

    Most of Maserati in my area-cars or trucks, the well off counties around NYC exists only for parking lot parity. Most of the buyers could have a Briggs and Stratton under the hood and wouldn’t care or notice, unless they didn’t buy the electric starter option and had to pull the cord to start it.

    If all the neighbors and co workers have a Benz GLS, or an Escalade, or X5-7, you need to get this so you win the parking lot game.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      I like to start a conversation with drivers of this sort of vehicle and ask them a fairly technical question like ‘at what RPM does the variable valve timing change or is it not a step but infinitely variable?’
      At that point you find out if they bought it for the grill medallion or it’s wonderful mechanicals.

  • avatar
    6250Claimer

    Looks lik e Mazda3 except with eye-watering price tag and Italian reliability. What could go wrong?

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