So by now, you’ve seen the Maserati Levante SUV, digested its looks, and picked a side. What we now need to discover is where it’ll sit in the fast SUV hall of fame. Could it be that Maserati is the dark horse for bragging rights as the world’s wieldiest crossover? Here’s what it has to go through to claim the crown…
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The five fast 4x4s the Maserati Levante has to beat
Welcome to the age of the super-tank. Maserati, here are the ones to watch out for
2016’s other box-office off-roader is Jaguar’s long-awaited, aluminium-bodied F-Pace. Though the four-pot and V6 diesels will do the heavy lifting sales-wise, Jaguar has confirmed there’ll be a petrol V6 S model brandishing the F-type’s supercharged heart, and from our initial impressions slithering around in the frozen wastes of Sweden, it sounds like it’s going to blow the fun-to-drive SUV game wide open. Maserati vs. Jag ought to be one of 2016’s most interesting fights.
Familiar though it may be, the Cayenne still holds its own as one of the most absurd two-fingers to the laws of physics ever to wear numberplates. In Turbo S mode with 562bhp on board, it’s one of the fastest point-to-point vehicles on the planet – and it’ll do the off-road thing almost as well as a Range Rover.
Make no mistake; this is still one of the SUVs to beat so far as driving smarts goes.
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8
The Levante really has to see off its step-sister convincingly, including the 6.4-litre, 461bhp SRT-8. And if that weren’t enough, reports suggest that Jeep is plotting to install its 707bhp Hellcat V8 in the Grand Cherokee sometime soon. Reckon Maserati is worried?
Among the more mainstream badges that Maserati wants to pinch sales off, BMW’s X5 is still a force to be reckoned with. And somehow, since the advent of the X6 and X4, the more practical X5 appears more sensible. Could the 565bhp X5 M show the Levante a clean pair of boots on a twisty road?
Tesla Model X
A left-field choice, given we doubt too many people will necessarily be cross-shopping a conventional luxo-sports 4x4 with something as far-out as the Tesla, but in terms of raw performance, a P90D version equipped with Ludicrous Mode has the numbers to embarrass Maserati’s newcomer. And, well, falcon doors. The Italian car has more heritage to its badge, but it doesn’t have back doors off a Star Wars prop, does it?