Maserati will offer a second V8-powered version of its Levante luxury utility vehicle. The 2019 GTS model slots in just underneath the ultra-sporty Trofeo variant, titillating drivers with a robust 550 horses.
A comprehensively reworked 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 delivers that team of ponies, along with 538 pound-feet of peak torque. Like all Maserati gasoline engines, this one is assembled by Ferrari in Maranello, Italy, further embellishing its exclusivity.
All that giddy-up can rocket the GTS to 60 miles an hour in a claimed four seconds flat, a figure partially enabled by a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Top speed should be around 181 miles an hour.
To boost performance and accommodate the Levante GTS’s standard Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system, engineers had to make myriad changes to that exotic force-fed V8. The crankcase has been redesigned, there’s also a new oil pump, drive belt and wiring layout, plus the crankshaft has been reworked. Higher-flow turbochargers and a duet of intercoolers help provide extra muscle.
In normal conditions that all-wheel-drive system routes 100 percent of available torque to just the rear wheels for sportier dynamics. But as circumstances dictate up to 50 percent of that twist can be sent to the front axle. A standard limited-slip differential further improves traction and handling.
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Ironing out bumps, the Maserati Levante GTS comes with an air suspension system that adjusts to six different levels, offering three inches of travel between its lowest and highest settings. As for brakes, six-piston aluminum monobloc calipers clamp 15-inch cross-drilled rotors at the vehicle’s nose, while ventilated 13-inchers serve the rear.
Hinting at the performance within, this vehicle features subtly tweaked styling. The front and rear fascias have been reworked, with the lower air intakes gaining a more aggressive look. Along with the splitter, the GTS’s rear extractor is rendered in body color. There are also quad exhaust tips while the grille is dressed up with chrome accents.
Full Matrix LED headlights are optional, offering 20 percent better visibility and double the life expectancy of comparable bi-xenon lamps, a welcome improvement on both fronts.
Inside, the GTS cabin is offered with a range of natural, full-grain leather in four colors: beige, black, red and tan. Further dressing things up are standard goodies like piano-black trim, aluminum paddle shifters, unique instrument-cluster graphics and velour floor mats. For music junkies, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system with a subwoofer is also included at no extra cost. In addition to all this, the Levante’s gear selector has been improved with shorter travel and improved usability.
Designed to directly challenge Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo, the 2019 Maserati Levante GTS is expected to cost around $120,000 when it goes on sale.
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