The ultra-performance luxury SUV market has largely been untapped up to this point. That makes the challenge of building the right one rather daunting.
With little to base the product on, it’s quite iffy to dive into that segment without a solid gameplan. Lamborghini, famous for its street-terrorizing supercars, is flirting with the idea and Bentley is looking to mix up its lineup of performance grand tourers with the new Bentayga. But the brand with perhaps the best experience to take on the task is Maserati.
Maserati’s reputation with performance luxury cars and the backing of parent company Fiat Chrysler make this a promising endeavor. Dubbed the Levante, this SUV will assemble an entirely new niche of customers, with early estimates hovering around 10,000-15,000 units per year after its expected official debut at Geneva in March of 2016.
Even with its copious luxury and refined quality, the Levante is expected to still be competitive as a performance model. Several engine options are expected, with the twin-turbo V8 from the Quattroporte GTS being a viable contender. In this latest round of spy shots from Top Speed, the Levante takes to the demanding Nurburgring to flex its muscles. Check out the full gallery of Maserati’s next game-changer as it tackles various environments during testing.