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The 2016 Maserati Levante has been spied testing again, this time in its most revealing state of undress yet.

Caught testing ahead of a global unveiling at January’s Detroit auto show, the prototype shown here is wearing only a light layer of camouflage – although most of the key details remain disguised for now.

It is clear however that the new model, Maserati’s first-ever SUV, will wear a sporting profile with a tapered roof and a fast-rising beltline, setting the Levante up as a clear rival to models like the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport.

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Maserati has previously hinted at the Levante’s styling with its Kubang concept, revealed way back in 2011, although these latest photos confirm that elements of the new SUV’s styling will be all-new.

We needn’t speculate too long, however, with a set of design patent application images released in May revealing the Levante’s styling in great detail.

A comparison of those technical drawings with these spy photos reveal that the illustrations are on-the-money, with more than a few points matching up neatly.

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No surprise, Maserati expects the Levante to become its best-selling model when it joins the existing Quattroporte and Ghibli in the brand’s passenger range.

Speaking with CarAdvice earlier this month, Maserati Australia chief Glen Sealey said there can be little doubt that an entrant into the hugely popular SUV market will make a big difference for the brand.

“If you look at the numbers today, you are seeing that the large sedan [segment], as an example, is coming off significantly, while the SUV market is still going quite well,” he said.

“There has been a displacement within both markets for a period of time to move from the traditional sedan market to that SUV market, and that’s no difference in the luxury segment.”

Click the Photos tab above for more photos of the Levante.

MORE: All Levante SUV news coverage
MORE: Maserati news, reviews, pricing and specs




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