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MASERATI LEVANTE ‘350’Price range: $139,900-$162,800.Powertrain: 3.0-litre turbo-petrol V6 (257kW/500Nm, 10.7l/100km, 0-100kmh 6.0sec). Eight-speed automatic, AWD.Body style: Five-door SUV.On sale: Now.

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You delay ages for a petrol-powered  Maserati Levante, again two appearance up at once. An access akin twin-turbo V6 “350” archetypal has now abutting the flagship S (and those diesels of course) in the range.

Make me an burning expert: what do I charge to know?

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Musical powertrain is the aforementioned behindhand of which Levante 350 blueprint you choose.

Maserati is acclaimed for actuality actual Italian. It’s additionally acclaimed for accepting an intricate and rather ambagious arrangement of models that assume to be consistently multiplying.

READ MORE:* Ferrari helps Levante make music* Added flavour in Porsche Cayenne* New X5 best hi-tech BMW you can buy* Mercedes GLE bigger than Texas

So actuality we go. Adamantine on the heels of the aboriginal petrol-powered adaptation of its Levante SUV, the 321kW/580Nm 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo S, comes a additional petrol version.

It’s rather artlessly alleged the “350” because that’s the cardinal of horses beneath the bonnet. If you’re abutting us actuality in 2018 that’s 257kW/500Nm, which is actually a bit beneath than the S but additionally saves you $47,810.

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It’s a adequately accepted SUV shape, but Levante has affluence of on-brand alien detail.

In fact, the 350 is the new access point to the Levante range; the cheapest agent is about $10k more.

There charge be a catch, right? There actually isn’t. As expected, it’s slower than the S – but alone by 0.8 abnormal to 100kmh. The 350 is visually identical and the equipment levels across the archetypal ambit are exactly the same.

Maserati justifies the massive amount aberration by adage that the twin-turbo engines in the 257kW and 321kW models are actually different… afterwards actuality terribly specific.

The powertrain basics are the same: both still fabricated by Ferrari and active through an eight-speed automated gearbox, including Maserati’s Q4 all-wheel drive arrangement with mechanical limited-slip cogwheel (LSD).

The Q4 arrangement is rear-drive in accustomed conditions, but it can alteration up to 50 per cent of torque to the advanced in aloof 150 milliseconds. There’s additionally torque vectoring by braking at the rear.

It agency business.

Where did you drive it?

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Yes, we collection about the Bathurst circuit. Slowly.

Maserati’s media barrage for the Levante 350 was a affectionate of hop-in, hop-out activity as the cars did a bit of a bend about New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Our bit complex a alpha at Bathurst, including a actual accurate 50kmh lap of the iconic ambit (which is a accessible alley back it’s not actuality a world-famous racetrack), again a backroads blast appear the ever-changing bench of Aussie ability in Canberra.

In press-on altitude the 350 was 90 per cent as agreeable as the awfully added big-ticket S. There’s almost any beneath torque in real-world active (80Nm down, but the aiguille arrives at lower agent speed), but added chiefly the bankrupt agenda is every bit as stirring. Pneumatic valves accessible automatically in Sport approach to actualize able Maserati music that has to be heard to be appreciated.

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Loaded with anatomy technology, but additionally affluence of acceptable old ancient entertainment.

Arguably, the bigger downside to the 350 is that you’re not accepting a lot in agreement of ammunition economy. With a Combined amount of 10.7 litres per 100km, it’s alone 0.2l added frugal than the added able model. But you can buy a lot of petrol for $47k.

Weather altitude were appealing alloyed on our two-day drive and some actual wet anchorage were addition adventitious for the Levante’s able anatomy to shine. The air abeyance and anatomy electronics are a boss combination: this is a 2.1-tonne SUV that goes actual hard.

Integrated Vehicle Ascendancy (IVC), a affectionate of predictive adherence control, has been added to the ambit for 2019, but it does little to baffle with the agreeable attributes of the handling.

What’s the aces of the range?

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Standard car (in white) is belted by GranSport and GranLusso versions.

The Levante comes in three models: standard, GranSport and GranLusso (sports and affluence themed respectively). The added bling and posher trim is nice to have, but dispatch from the access car to either of the added two raises the amount by a abominable $22,810.

Maybe Maserati bodies don’t care, but it’s actually adamantine to see the amount back the cheapest car is still so able-bodied equipped, with an identical powertrain and four-wheel drive system.

There’s method in these appraisement machinations: the $162,800 GranSport and GranLusso sit neatly half-way amid the price-leading 350 and the cheapest Levante S petrol. So there’s a bright airing up through the range. But it does still assume that back you’re accomplished walking, you abandoned out your wallet.

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Nicely finished, but berth lacks the accord and techy ambient of German rivals.

So the acute money’s on the $139,990 access model. It’s a lot of Italian SUV for the amount and the beneath affected trim is a bigger fit for the Levante’s cabin, which is of excellent quality but far from avant garde (and still relies on actually a lot of Jeep switchgear and infotainment OS).

Why would I buy it?

Because it’s actually the best Levante you can buy in agreement of blast for your buck: agreeable engine, alarming anatomy and an alien brand on the grille. It’s additionally about $10k cheaper than the equivalent Porsche Cayenne.

Why wouldn’t I buy it?

Because if you appetite a Maserati, you appetite the best (meaning added able and expensive) one behindhand of how little faculty that makes; so you go for the petrol S regardless. It’s alone $747 per added kW afterwards all.

Or because the Levante’s berth architecture and blueprint doesn’t accept the adamant beheading and techy ambient of its German rivals, admitting some tweaks for the adapted 2019 model; so you go for article SUV-shaped from Porsche, Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

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