Two years ago, at the Geneva International Motor Show, Maserati unveiled the Levante—the first SUV in the brand’s 100-year history. It was based on the Italian automaker’s Quattroporte and Ghibli architecture. This year, at the New York International Auto Show, Maserati elevated the model by introducing the Levante Trofeo, the fastest variant in the brand’s budding SUV lineup and a vehicle built specifically for overseas markets.
The foundation of the new Levante’s appeal is, not surprisingly, what can be found under the hood. Like all of Maserati’s gasoline engines, the new Levante Trofeo’s power plant is built at the nearby Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy—and it produces the highest power output per liter (156 hp/liter) of any Maserati engine to date. Whereas the original Levante’s three-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine churned out a maximum of 430 hp, the Trofeo’s 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8 delivers 590 hp (at 6,250 rpm) with 538 ft lbs of torque (at 2,250 rpm).
The new Trofeo also delivers one unit of horsepower for every 8.1 pounds—a weight-to-power ratio that translates to jaw-dropping performance, especially when compared to the now two-year-old original. In 2016, Maserati’s premiere SUV could sprint from zero to 60 mph in five seconds, reaching a top speed of 164 mph. The Trofeo, by comparison, sprints to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and produces a top speed that is more than 23 mph faster.
Like all Levante models, the new Trofeo is engineered with a 50/50 weight balance and a low center of gravity; however, it is the first to feature a Corsa driving mode with launch control capability. The Corsa mode makes the new Levante’s engine more responsive, exhaust valves open during acceleration, air suspension height is lowered, and the transmission shifts gears more quickly. In other words, the already athletic SUV gets, well, more athletic.
Production of the new Trofeo begins this summer, with deliveries starting in the fall. A special launch edition will be available to a small number of customers throughout the United States and Canada. Offered in eight colors and accented with black chrome Maserati badges, the launch edition features a choice between 22-inch forged aluminum wheels with three-season tires or 21-inch wheels with all-season tires. In addition, it can be ordered with exclusive black “Pieno Fiore” leather sport seats with contrasting blue or yellow stitching. A serialized badge on the center console can also be customized to include the customer’s name or other personal preferences.