Maserati has once again expanded its Levante SUV range, adding a new entry-level hybrid model alongside the turbocharged petrol V6s and 572bhp twin-turbo V8 Trofeo. With the demise of the V6 diesel that previously opened the range, the new hybrid takes its place as the fuel-sipping variant, being geared more towards efficiency than performance.
The powertrain itself is shared with the Ghibli Hybrid, making it little more than a mild-hybrid system attached to a turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Driven from the engine on a 48V electrical system are a small Belt Starter Generator and an eBooster, providing torque-fill abilities at low rpm.
The BSG also assists the combustion engine on take-off, and works in conjunction with the eBooster, or electrically driven compressor, that primes the gas-driven turbocharger to significantly reduce turbo lag. The engine itself also features FCA’s (or is that now Stellantis’s?) Multiair variable valve timing system, which is able to infinitely vary the valve timing to suit the load on and delivery of the engine.
Peak power is rated at 326bhp at 5750rpm, with a peak torque of 306lb ft from 2250rpm. Despite its 2070kg weight, the Levante Hybrid will still reach 62mph in 6sec dead, and top out at 140mph.
Power is sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission to Maserati’s rear-biased Q4 all-wheel-drive system. The system only sends power to the rear wheels in normal driving, but will then vary torque between the axles as far as a 50:50 front-to-rear split depending on wheel slip or the selected driver mode.
The rest of the Levante’s technical package is otherwise unchanged from other models, including the air-sprung suspension set-up, with double wishbones at the front and a multilink rear. Small blue trim elements around the triple side vents are the only visual clue to the hybrid powertrain, this Levante otherwise familiar both inside and out from the MY21 update that was revealed alongside the Trofeo variant last year.
The Levante Hybrid will go into production in June this year, with European deliveries due to begin soon after. Specific UK prices and final specifications have yet to be confirmed, but as the entry-level model in the range, we’d expect pricing to be from around £65k to slip beneath the current basic V6 variant.