The Maserati brand has always been synonymous with quality and speed, and we test drove the all-new Levante Torfeo to see if this still holds true, especially in an SUV body.
The Maserati Levante (including the GTS) is not the most aggressive-looking SUV on the road, but this is all about to change with the launch of the Torfeo on our shores. The Torfeo does not have unnecessary bulging or massive spoilers and instead, Maserati has given the vehicle a more aggressive look by adding subtle changes like black chrome finishes, sculptured bonnet scoops, larger black wheels, and carbon splitters where it’s most needed.
This total package makes the Torfeo a lot more noticeable than the standard Levante. However, the look is still unmistakably Maserati, with its contoured sides, piano grill, and the famous Trident badge taking centre stage on the grill.
The sculptured headlights and signature Maserati side vents on the fender show off its Italian heritage.
The subtle exterior is in contrast to the cabin, which screams luxury and sportiness. Pieno Fiore red leather adorns pretty much the entire cabin. The dashboard layout is more akin to that of a sport cars, with dials for the speedometer and tachometer dominating the driver’s view. The touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use and has all the bells and whistles expected from a car of this calibre. The perfectly weighted steering wheel is well sized and has good feedback. At the top of the dashboard is a hand-crafted clock that adds to the ambience of the interior. The carbon used through-out the interior is of high quality and completes the sporty package.
The interior is spacious, and the seats are comfortable but still extremely supportive. Although designed for three passengers, the rear is better suited for two passengers in absolute luxury. Boot space is decent and perfect for taking the clubs with on a family trip.
So, the Levante Torfeo looks the part and is very luxurious, but how does it compare to some of the almost supercar speeds that some competitor SUVs are managing?
To really appreciate this vehicle, you first need to open the bonnet, where you are welcomed by a 3,8l v8 motor that looks like it was taken straight out of a Ferrari. It’s like a piece of art with its red-coloured cylinder heads and a carbon fibre cover with the Maserati emblem.
As you push the start button, it’s almost like your entire body wakes up − the instant growl from the engine is unmistakably raw V8 power. As you engage the drive gear, the ZF eight-speed gearbox engages the engine and drive train and the car settles into a quieter growl. As you take off, you first need to take in all that the Maserati has to offer with its plethora of driving aids and warnings, from lane detection to blind-spot warnings. After a few minutes of driving, you figure out how to switch off the aids you don’t want and change to sport mode. In response, the vehicle lets out a pleasing grant and all that’s left is to find an open road and depress the accelerator.
I must warn you: this vehicle is more like a rocket ship than an SUV. The sheer force pushes you far back into the seats as you take off and the bonnet scoops not only allow the engine to remain cool but also throw the engine growl towards the driver. While all this is happening, you realise that you have hit the national speed limit and … you’re just in second gear.
I tried the vehicle on some twisty roads to see whether the 50:50 weight distribution is as good as Maserati claims. To my delight, the vehicle cornered better than some so-called sports saloons. The four-wheel-drive system ensured that the car was always sure-footed with just the perfect amount of power sent to each wheel.
To give you some stats on what this vehicle is capable of … It blasts to 100 km/h in just 3,9 seconds and will continue all the way to its top speed of just over 300 km/h. Keep in mind that this is an SUV that weighs just over 2,5 tons.
On the whole, I think that Maserati has changed the view of what a family outing is by creating a vehicle that will comfortably carry five passengers and their luggage on vacation. And when you get to your destination, it’s just a matter of flipping a switch and it turns into a track vehicle that your mates can experience with you.
Although I did not test the vehicle off the beaten track, I believe that it has unbelievable off-road capability, which means that it does tick all the boxes for an SUV as well as a sports car. My view is the Maserati Torfeo is possibly one of the ultimate SUVs on the market − if you can afford it, I recommend you definitely put it on your list.
What an amazing experience!
AUTHOR | Torque Talk is a member of SAGMJ