Two and a half years ago, when we road tested the Maserati Levante in the diesel-engined form in which it was introduced to the UK market, we concluded that it was somehow neither fish nor fowl: not quite a competitive rival for the SUV market’s Teutonic ruling powers, but not a true Italian exotic either.

Now that the undistinguished diesel engine of that car can be avoided, however, and a much more soulful, powerful and pleasing twin-turbo petrol V6 adopted in its place, the Levante’s identity problem has been addressed. The Levante S is a car with the performance, refinement and mechanical richness you expect of a Maserati. However, that it is without the multi-faceted ride and handling sophistication to make it a true challenger to the best driver’s cars of its ilk, even in this form, should remain a source of disillusionment for Maserati brand devotees, just as it was to us.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Better engine improves the class’s curate’s egg but can’t redeem it

Ritzy, rich and eye-catching in some ways yet lacking in substance in others, the Maserati Levante S therefore does half a star better than its forebear did, but remains double the distance off the best cars in the luxury SUV class.

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