The first exclusive Italian off-roader will be on sale late 2016
Maserati New Zealand is preparing for the arrival of the Levante in December with a sneak peak of its first SUV to the Australasian motoring media.
A pre-production version of the Levante is in Melbourne on display at the Maserati dealership in Richmond.
While the luxury SUV won’t be delivered Downunder until December, the Levante is on a tour here to attract potential customers and previewed to the media.
A contingent of Kiwi motoring writers was shown the Levante with Maserati Australasia boss Glen Sealey revealing the prices and packages to the media.
The Levante will start at $136,990, with the Luxury and Sport models priced at $155,990.
The standard Levante sits on 19in wheels, with the Luxury on 20in and the Sport on 21in.
The Levante is only available right-hand-drive as a diesel and is powered by a 3-litre, V6 turbo engine (producing 202kW of power and 600Nm of torque) and paired with Maserati’s eight speed transmission plus all-wheel-drive.
While there is a LHD petrol V6 for sale in Europe, Sealey said that 86 per cent of luxury SUVs in our market were diesel.
Sealey said there had already been “40 to 42” orders of the Levante by Kiwis, with the first models to arrive “late December but more likely early 2017”.
While Maserati NZ currently sells around 75 models of its cars a year, it expects to account for 150 vehicle sales in 2017, half of those Levantes.
Those customers are expected to not only be conquests from luxury and premium SUVs but also former owners of large European sedans.
“You are going to see a Maserati in places you’ve never seen a Maserati before. Like at the snow, without chains, driving along the beach,” said Sealey.
Maserati will also be displaying the Levantes in new showrooms in New Zealand, with a luxury dealership soon to be developed in Newmarket, Auckland and the Christchurch facility refurbished.
Maserati markets itself as an ‘exclusive’ vehicle brand –sitting between ‘premium’ (where vehicles start at $40,000) and ‘exotic’ (with price tags of $300,000 for cars).
With the Levante, the Italian brand says it “didn’t build an SUV, we built a Maserati” with the off-roader having the tag line “The Maserati of SUVs”.