The 2022 Maserati Levante Hybrid has been unveiled, and will be a stepping-stone prior to an all-electric SUV being offered by the Italian sports luxury brand.
The Levante uses the same mild-hybrid powertrain as the Ghibli Hybrid sedan, which the company says retains the performance of the 257kW/500Nm twin-turbo V6-powered Levante variant, only with more efficient fuel consumption and much-improved emissions.
The Levante Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder engine producing 246kW and 450Nm, driving all four wheels through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The 0-100km/h sprint time is covered in 6.0 seconds flat – an identical time as the standard twin-turbo V6 model.
The drive system typically delivers 100 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels – via a limited-slip differential – only sending power to the front wheels when the vehicle detects a loss of traction.
The engine is assisted by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, which recoups energy during braking or decelerating, and deploys it outside of the turbocharger's efficiency range.
The idea being that Maserati's 'eBooster' system will deliver electrically-assisted performance prior to the when the turbo spools up, at low rpms, and will take over again high in the rev range when power from the turbo begins to taper off.
During a media event, Maserati revealed the Hybrid will precede an all-electric version of the Levante, with previous information published by the company suggesting an unveiling in 2023.
Maserati says that on the WLTP cycle, the Levante Hybrid cuts CO2 emissions by 18 per cent when compared with petrol-only models, and 3 per cent when compared with the now-defunct diesel variant.
While fuel consumption was still in the process of being certified at the time of writing, it's expected the SUV will use roughly 10 litres per 100 kilometres under WLTP conditions.
With 'Normal' driving mode selected, the eBooster mild-hybrid system will balance fuel consumption and performance, but will prioritise the latter when switched into 'Sport' mode.
The Italian luxury sports car company says those who are worried about the sound of the hybrid can rest assured: Maserati has engineered the mechanical sound of the model to deliver a "distinctive growl" that buyers will be familiar with.
The Levante Hybrid will debut in GT trim, offering GranLusso exterior styling features as standard, with a Sport Pack available as an option. The model will debut a new 'Azzurro Astro' blue exterior colour.
Inside, the SUV will be trimmed in leather with piano black trim, with a number of colour and trim options available to buyers.
The driver gets a 7.0-inch TFT display between analogue gauges, while infotainment comes via an 8.4-inch screen, controlling a 180-watt, eight-speaker audio system as standard. A choice of either a 900-watt 14-speaker Harman/Kardon, or 1280-watt 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium sound systems can also be optioned.
The 2022 Maserati Levante Hybrid will arrive in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2021 (October to December inclusive), with local pricing and specifications to be announced closer to its launch.