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First details of the 2018 Maserati Levante S have been announced this week ahead of its Australian introduction in the second half of 2017, finally bringing petrol power to the Italian SUV’s range.

The company claims the Levante – its first-ever SUV model – has been responsible for Maserati’s 50 per cent growth in sales so far this year, and hopes the new petrol model will build on that.

Under the bonnet is a Ferrari-built 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, developing a healthy 316kW of power and 580Nm of torque. That makes it 114kW more powerful than the diesel, though maximum torque is down by 20Nm.

DRIVEN: 2017 Maserati Levante S review

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Drive is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF, with 0-100km/h taking 5.2 seconds – 1.7 seconds quicker than the current sole diesel offering.

Additionally, the Levante S’s top speed climbs to 264km/h, significantly up on the diesel’s still impressive 230km/h.

Fuel consumption, on the other hand, is rated at 10.9L/100km on the combined cycle, a fair way higher than the diesel’s 7.2L/100km claim.

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Unique features to the Levante S include a bi-modal exhaust system, larger 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 265/50 ZR19 front and 295/45 ZR19 rear tyres, along with a performance brake system which includes Brembo six-piston 380mm drilled discs at the front and 330mm drilled discs at the rear with aluminium 42mm floating calipers.

Full pricing and specifications will be released closer to the Levante S’s on-sale date in the second half of this year.

DRIVEN: 2017 Maserati Levante S review

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