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This is the Levante, Maserati's first SUV

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Maserati

I'm not personally an SUV driver, but a lot of people around the world are, which is why luxury and sports brands have been clamoring to put out a big soft-roader in recent years: the Porsche Cayenne, the Bentley Bentayga, the upcoming Rolls-Royce truck, the list goes on.

And now we can add Maserati to the list. The Italian Marque just showed off the exterior design of its Levante SUV, but we don't have many official details beyond that: there'll be an 8-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive (obviously), and "a high level of content as standard," which means you probably won't be able to buy a cheap Levante by stripping all of the options out of it. Both gasoline and diesel engines will be offered, which is a pretty dangerous thing to advertise in these delicate post-Dieselgate months — but given that the Levante will factor prominently in the European sales mix where diesels are critical, it's not surprising.

maserati-levante-suv-02

From what I can tell, it looks great, although it might be a bit Buick-ish from some angles. Maserati has generally managed to carry over the design language of its coupes and sedans — the lithe GranTurismo, Quattroporte, and Ghibli — without blowing things up into odd proportions. Of course, Porsche has more or less managed to do the same thing with the Cayenne, so I shouldn't be too surprised. (And there's always something about the design of an Italian vehicle, be it car or truck.)

The production launch will happen early this year in Europe, followed by other markets "later this year." We'll see the full car at the Geneva show in just a few days — and we'll be there.