2019 Maserati Levante GTS: Lux-level V-8 power

2019 Maserati Levante GTS (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

The Levante SUV makes up about 50 percent of the Maserati lineup, so it makes sense they’d focus on that success and build from it.

In March, Maserati debuted the Levante Trofeo, which boasts a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that delivers 590 horsepower. According to Maserati, this engine has the highest output per liter (156 hp/liter) of any Maserati ever produced.

Starting price for this vehicle is $170K – more than double the price for the base Levante ($75,980).

But if you think you might want one, too bad.

All the 2019 models have already been allocated.

Good thing Maserati announced this week it is producing another special Levante using the same engine: The Levante GTS.

The GTS will deliver 550 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque with a 0-to-60-mph time of 4 seconds.

In comparison, the regular Levante is equipped with a pair of 3.0-liter V-6s that deliver 345 and 424 horsepower with 0-to-60-mph times of 5.8 and 4.9 seconds, respectively.

This newest addition to the Levante family will also come equipped with Maserati’s Q4 intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which will deliver 100 percent of the torque to rear wheels under normal driving conditions.

Maserati gave some journalists the opportunity to take a quick turn on the M1 Concourse racetrack in the GTS – in the rain no less – and I found the weight of the SUV melted away as soon I hit the gas pedal.

I had the opportunity to take both the Quattroporte and Gran Turismo on the track as well, and the GTS was able to hold its own in the corners and on the straightaways. Even considering the sloppy conditions, the GTS remained confident and sure-footed.

After having driven the 2018 Levante with the V-6 engine earlier, the difference was noticeable. Where the V-6 produced distinct turbo lag, the V-8 power was virtually instantaneous in the GTS.

Outside of the obvious engine difference, the Levante GTS will feature sport-oriented restyling of the lower front fascia and rear bumper and exclusive interiors with available full-grain “Pieno Fiore” natural leather.

The GTS should be available by fall with a base price of $120K.

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