Maserati's first SUV: Levante in action

OSLO, Norway - Maserati’s coming Levante SUV was spotted in the frozen forests of northern Scandinavia but with the mechanical bits hidden under the shell of a Ghibli.

It's still unclear on which platform the new SUV will ride as it's rumoured Maserati could stretch the limits of its Quattroporte chassis or perhaps borrow the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s architecture: both automakers are now owned by Chrysler.

The Levante will come with a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel. There'll be a petrol twin-turbo 417kW V8  and a twin-turbo V6 delivering 260kW or 316kW, depending on version. In terms of diesels, the possibilities include a V6 with three levels of power: 186kW, 205kW and 253kW.

IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Maserati Levante

While not all of the aforementioned engines may make it to the Levante its planned SUV, Maserati says, it will have "something for every power taste".

CHEAPER THAN BENTLEY’S SUV

Maserati explained that while the bulk of Porsche Cayenne sales were of the automaker's base model, the Levante would aim higher. Maserati will rely on its Levante to reach an annual sales figure of 50 000, so one shouldn’t compare this to Bentley's Bentayga SUV, either.

This could mean the automaker’s first SUV will be priced above the Cayenne though below the Bentayga.

The Levante will start to off the assembly line at Maserati’s factory in Mirafiori, Italy in 2016. Since Fiat is believed to have injected the equivalent of R13-billion into the project, expectations for the Levante SUV are quite high.

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