A powerful Twin Turbo V8 on a finely tuned chassis combined with an elegantly restyled, carbon finished exterior and an exclusive interior wrapped in full-grain Pieno Fiore natural leather, bring the Maserati Levante Trofeo on top of its class in terms of performance, road handling and “Gran Turismo” pedigree.
Two years after the official launch of the Levante SUV, Maserati presented its new top of the range version. It is the Trofeo, the first Levante built around a V8 engine and one of the fastest SUVs ever built, boasting a top speed of 304 km/h.
Thanks to its remarkable weight / power ratio of 3.6 kg/hp the Levante Trofeo needs only 3.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h, a figure that fairly describes a supercar disguised in a high-end SUV body.
The Levante Trofeo is equipped with one of the most powerful engines ever fitted in a Maserati. In the 104-year history of the Trident, only the race-bred, limited series MC12 boasted a higher output engine, an aspirated 630hp V12.
The 3.8-litre V8 power unit that lies under the bonnet is a re-engineered, upgraded version of the engine fitted in the flagship Quattroporte GTS, delivering 590hp at 6,250 rpm and 730 Nm peak torque at 2,500 – 5,000 rpm. Like any other petrol Maserati engine, this V8 has been developed by Maserati Powertrain in cooperation with Ferrari.
The chassis of the fastest Levante has been meticulously tuned to handle the higher power output, providing an exhilarating driving experience with no compromise in terms of long distance comfort and active safety.
The Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) system has been incorporated for the first time in a Levante for impressive driving dynamics, better performance and genuine Maserati driving pleasure. The Maserati Levante Trofeo is definitely the purest expression of the “Gran Turismo” philosophy in the SUV segment.
The unmistakable Levante design has reached new levels of sportiness in this top of the line version. The elegant restyling was mainly focused on the lower front fascia and the rear bumper and is underlined by carbon fibre design cues and 22-inch forged aluminium “Orione” wheels – the largest ever fitted on a Maserati. The Trofeo is the first Levante model equipped with Full Matrix LED headlights.
Interior designers have come up with elegant ways to create a distinctive environment within the Levante Trofeo cabin. The sculpted sport seats feature a premium full-grain Pieno Fiore leather with a genuinely soft feel. The natural tanning treatment of the Pieno Fiore leather ensures it develops its own characteristics and a uniquely personal character over time.
The development of a V8 Levante started as a skunkworks project by the Maserati technical centre in Modena, well before the official launch of the SUV model in 2016. Without informing the headquarters in Viale Ciro Menotti 322, the engineers built a V8 prototype intended to test the performance limits of the Levante platform.
That unbranded V8 “mule” prototype was an inspiration for the top management to proceed with the development of a super Levante built around a Twin Turbo V8 engine.
The development phase officially commenced in summer 2016, following the World Premiere of the Maserati of SUVs. The engineers were given a challenging timeframe and they were immediately focused, in association with their counterparts in Ferrari, on mating the V8 engine with the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system as well as on reaching the high performance targets of the project. The fine tuning of suspension and electronics and the inclusion of the Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) in the ESP management were the next steps in the development phase.
In May 2017, Maserati engineers and testers were sent around the world to test the first V8 “mule” prototypes in diverse road and extreme weather conditions, ranging from the proving grounds of Balocco, Nardò and Barcelona to the twisty, desert or icy roads of Sierra Nevada, South Africa, Arizona and Lapland. The long-term testing activities covered extreme environments and climates ranging from -35°C to well over 40°C.
The Levante Trofeo made its World Premiere at the 2018 New York International Auto Show and is manufactured at the refurbished plant of Mirafiori (Turin), Italy. Maserati made waves in New York introducing the limited series of the Trofeo that was exclusively intended for a small number of Maserati enthusiasts in the USA and Canada.
590hp 3.8-litre Twin Turbo V8 and Q4 Intelligent AWD
The V8 of the Maserati Levante Trofeo is an evolution of the power unit fitted in the flagship Quattroporte GTS. It maintains the same 3.8-litre capacity and the V900 architecture but has been re-engineered and significantly upgraded to deliver 590hp at 6,250 rpm and 730 Nm peak torque at 2,500 to 5,000 rpm.
This is the Maserati engine with the highest output per litre ever (156hp/litre) and the most powerful V8 in the history of the Trident. Like all Maserati petrol units, it is assembled by Ferrari in Maranello, Italy.
The mighty Twin Turbo V8 engine has been revised to accommodate the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. In order to make space for the drive shaft towards the front axle, Maserati designed a new crankcase with specific crankshaft assembly, new oil pump and auxiliary belt, as well as a different electric wiring layout.
Considering the maximum power objectives set for the Levante Trofeo, a new engine mapping calibration wouldn’t be sufficient, so the technical department interfered seriously with the engine componentry.
Two new parallel twin-scroll turbochargers – one for each cylinder bank – with specific wheel design were fitted, providing higher flow performance. Each turbocharger is fed by a single intercooler with fresh air.
The high-tumble cylinder heads are also redesigned and fitted with different camshafts and valves for improved combustion efficiency, higher performance and moderate consumption. Internal parts like pistons and connecting rods were also redesigned to allow reaching the maximum power targets in combination with a specific engine calibration mapping.
The Levante Trofeo is fitted with the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox used on all the Levante versions, acclaimed for its versatility and sporty character.
A new Corsa driving mode with Launch Control has been introduced to enhance the athletic character of the ultimate Maserati SUV. Corsa mode is available in addition to the existing Normal, I.C.E., Sport and Off Road driving modes.
Activating the Corsa mode by long pressing the sport/corsa button on the central console cluster, the driver will immediately feel an eager engine response to the minimum throttle input and the unique Maserati engine soundtrack provided by free gas flow through the wide open exhaust valves.
The new Corsa driving mode is exclusive to the Maserati Levante Trofeo and also programmed to provide faster gear shifting, lower air suspension height levels, sportier Skyhook damping and optimized Intelligent Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive settings. With this sportiest mode activated, the intervention of the Traction Control and ESP systems is restrained for maximum driving enjoyment.
A redesigned gearshift lever with a more intuitive shift pattern, shorter travel and improved operation controls the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The driver has the option to use the gearbox in either automatic (RND) or manual mode simply by shifting the lever from right to left. As a result, the M button has been eliminated on the central console, so the Sport/Corsa driving modes and the Skyhook sport setting can be selected separately. A new ‘P’ button on the gearshift lever effortlessly sets the transmission in parking mode.
The Launch Control function can be activated only in Corsa mode and the gearshift level either in D or M position. With the car standing still and the steering wheel straight, the driver needs to pull the downshift paddle on the steering wheel while pressing the brake pedal to activate the Launch Control and get the visual confirmation in the instrument cluster. Always pressing the brake pedal, the driver can safely apply full throttle input to see the engine rpm climb up. As soon as the driver releases the brakes, the Trofeo takes off in fast and furious style.
The Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive has been designed to deliver a typical Maserati rear-wheel drive experience and it has been updated to suit the requirements of the Levante Trofeo. In normal driving conditions, the Q4 distributes 100% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. On slippery or loose road surfaces, or in the event of loss of traction at the rear, the system can alter the front/rear torque split from 0:100% to 50:50% in a matter of 150 milliseconds.
The Trofeo, like all Levante models, is standard equipped with a mechanical Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) at the rear axle that guarantees optimal traction in all driving situations. The asymmetric locking feature offers 25% lock-up under power and 35% under release.
In conjunction with the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system and the LSD, the torque-vectoring function considerably enhances the car’s sporty character. Whilst performing a cornering manoeuvre, the system distributes more torque to the outer wheels by applying a slight braking force to the inner wheels.
Superior performance and driving pleasure are integral to Levante’s character and the same qualities are remarkably amplified in the new top of the range Trofeo. The adoption of the V8 engine has resulted in kerb weight increased by just 60 kg in comparison to the V6 petrol versions. Given the dramatic power increase – by no less than 160hp compared to the Levante S – the Trofeo boasts a top in class power ratio of 3.6 kg/hp.
The chassis has outstanding levels of rigidity and provides very low centre of gravity as well as ideal 50:50 weight balance between the front and rear axle, typical to every Levante.
These virtues combined with finely tuned double-wishbone front / Multi Link rear suspension and larger 265/35 front and 295/30 rear tyres fitted on 22-inch forged aluminium wheels, endow the new Trofeo with impressive balanced handling and lateral stability comparable to that of a modern supercar.
The Levante Trofeo chassis has been tuned to cope with the extra power output of its Twin Turbo V8 with ease and provides an exhilarating driving experience with no compromise in terms of day-to-day usability, long distance comfort and active safety.
The suspension essentially shares the same components and geometry with the other Levante models. Suspension frame, wishbones, hub strut, towers and the crossbeam reinforcement are all made of light aluminium alloy, using a moulding technology that ensures greater rigidity without weight increase.
The Air Spring control has been tuned to fit the specific characteristics of the fastest ever Levante and is appropriately optimized for each driving mode. For the new Corsa mode, Maserati engineers have further increased ride stiffness to achieve maximum handling performance.
The pneumatic system provides six different levels and 75 mm height variation from lowest to highest position. In the new Corsa driving mode the Levante Trofeo is automatically set in the lowest Aero 2 level, which is 35 mm lower than normal.
Based on the same operating concept, the Sport Skyhook damping system has been tuned to match the car’s handling requirements.
The Maserati Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) system has been incorporated in the ESP control for the first time in a Levante. IVC uses a smart, feed-forward controller that predicts driving situations and adapts the engine speed and brakes accordingly, providing impressive driving dynamics, better performance and improved active safety.
The system helps drivers maintain control of their vehicle, instead of simply correcting “driver mistakes” as traditional Electronic Stability Program (ESP) systems do.
In its Maserati Levante Trofeo application, IVC is specifically tuned to decrease understeer tendencies, typical to SUV cars. An understeer / oversteer function inside the Electric Power Steering control cooperates with the IVC system, resulting in a more natural and predictable driving feeling. The system instantly controls the steering torque on the steering wheel providing the driver with optimum feedback, especially in sporty driving.
The braking system deals superbly with the high performance of the Levante Trofeo. The front brakes have adopted 6-piston aluminium monobloc calipers working on 380 mm drilled discs.
Floating calipers with 330 mm x 22 mm ventilated drilled discs are fitted at the rear. The ABS has undergone a specific setup for the V8 version.
The Levante Trofeo is the first ever Maserati equipped with 22-inch forged aluminium wheels, so Maserati cooperated with Continental to provide the new SportContact™ 6 tyre as standard equipment. The new ultra-sport tyre has substantially contributed to achieving the balanced handling and outstanding cornering performance of the most powerful Maserati in production today.
The unmistakable Levante design has reached new levels of sportiness in this top of the line Trofeo. The revised styling theme follows previous Maserati applications, like the recently restyled GranTurismo and Ghibli GranSport. Meticulous virtual environment simulations and extensive tests in the Turin wind tunnel have resulted in a drag coefficient Cx of 0.33.
The elegant restyling was mainly focused on the lower front fascia and the rear bumper and is underlined by the 22-inch forged aluminium “Orione” wheels, which are available as an option in both polished and matte finishes.
The side air intakes in the lower fascia feature a new, more aggressive design, defined by two aerodynamic wings that give a sense of further stability, visually “pushing” the weight of the car’s nose towards the massive front wheels. The carbon fibre side bezel blades and carbon fibre splitter help improving the airflow distribution.
The rear end also looks wider and more muscular with a sharper carbon fibre horizontal element and body-colour lower extractor that embrace the oval quad exhaust tips with a dark finish.
The Maserati Levante Trofeo features a front grille with double vertical bars in black piano finish, lower honeycomb mesh fascia, body colour door handles and performance painted brake calipers in red, blue, black, silver or yellow. And to top it off, a dedicated “Saetta” Trofeo logo adorns the iconic c-pillar of the coupé styled SUV.
Specific details, like the lower splitter, the blade side bezels in the front air intakes, the side skirt inserts and the rear extractor are made of ultralight, high-gloss carbon fibre, giving the Levante Trofeo a polished racing look. The hood is also new, featuring two aggressive heat extractors for better cylinder head cooling. The engine cover is made of high-gloss carbon fibre featuring a V8 inscription and the iconic Trident, while cylinder heads and intake manifolds are painted red.
The new Levante Trofeo features Full Matrix LED headlights. Compared to Bi-Xenon headlamps, LED technology offers 20% better visibility, 32% cooler light and headlights with double life expectancy.
The full Matrix LED headlights utilize a digital camera mounted behind the rear view mirror that supports the Glare-free High Beam detection system, allowing the driver to keep the high beam on without dazzling oncoming drivers. The system is able to create a shade in correspondence of other vehicles switching dynamically on and off the LED matrixes. The full Matrix LED headlights can create up to four light tunnels simultaneously with each tunnel as large as the obstacle.
Interior designers have come up with elegant ways to create a distinctive environment inside the Levante Trofeo cabin. The sculpted sport seats feature a premium full-grain Pieno Fiore natural leather available in black, red and tan, all with contrast stitching and “Trofeo” logo stitched on the headrests.
Pieno Fiore is like no other leather used in the automotive industry for its natural, soft feel and is processed to develop a unique character throughout the years.
A new matte carbon fibre wave trim and paddle shifters, specific instrument cluster graphics, floor mats with metal Trofeo badges and a Maserati clock with a unique dial elegantly underline the exclusive sporty character of this extraordinary Levante
The Maserati Levante Trofeo is equipped with a 1,280-watt, 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium surround sound audio system for a concert hall sound experience.
Like every Levante, the new Trofeo boasts a highly responsive interface unit that uses the Maserati Touch Control Plus (MTC+) with 8.4″ capacitive touchscreen and a user-friendly rotary knob in the central console, providing intuitive control of the on-board systems. The high-resolution screen operates like a tablet, recognising drag, scroll, swipe and rotate gestures. The system includes digital radio, Bluetooth, satellite navigation supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
MTC+ also controls seat and steering wheel heating, front seat ventilation and the rear window blinds, if fitted. It has been further improved with updated display graphics and improved climate system ergonomics. The button that deactivates the Start&Stop function can now be dragged and dropped on the main screen bar for immediate access from every single menu.
The central lower console’s rotary knob is a high-quality forged aluminium component that offers intuitive control of audio volume and other infotainment system functions. The driver can alter the ride height via the nearby rocker switch or by choosing different driving modes on the central console. The height variation from the lowest position to the highest is 75 mm – up to 85 mm with the Park level included.