What is it?
Is it new?
By Maserati standards, at least. Maserati debuted the Levante in 2016, then launched the Trofeo version for the 2019 model year. I drove the 2020 model; had scored the 2021 version instead, I'd have found an upgraded infotainment interface and wireless phone charging among other minor tweaks.
Why is it special?
The Levante Trofeo is the closest thing we have to a Ferrari SUV, at least until the actual Ferrari SUV comes along. If you've been thirsting for a hulking crossover with a five-level adaptive suspension that can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 187 mph, the Maserati Levante Trofeo is your car.
Just be prepared to pay handsomely for it.
How does it drive?
The Levante Trofeo is ferociously fast. Give it some gas and you'll feel a glimmer of the raw power at your disposal.
Then you notice the roads are slick, you remember your infant daughter is fast asleep behind you and throwing it into super-racy Corsa 2 mode doesn't seem that wise if you're not on an actual corsa...and you wonder why a 4,800-pound SUV needs two track modes.
See, fast does not translate directly to fun. What the performance stats mask: the Levante Trofeo is not especially sporty. It's plush, it's heavy, and it's tuned more for touring and being a family SUV than hell-bent destruction. Unlike, say, the physics-defying Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, the Levante Trofeo feels exceptionally beholden to Newton's laws. And the Merc is $35,000 cheaper to boot.
What’s it like inside?
Maserati is a byword for fancy, so you would expect a glitzy Maserati trim level to be decked out like a Venetian doge's illicit pleasure den inside. The Levante Trofeo, however, takes a surprisingly (and not altogether endearingly) minimalist approach. Besides the Trofeo badging, it's not that much different from the GTS...which is not that much different from the regular Levante. You'll have to explain what the Trofeo is to your neighbors, which you shouldn't have to do with a six-figure Italian car packing a Ferrari engine.
Setting ornateness aside, the Levante Trofeo interior feels much like the Maserati sedan lineup. It has a large-leather-couch-in-a-small-room feel. Even though it's a midsize SUV, it feels more like a compact inside; amazingly, you get less cargo space than a Kia Seltos.
What does it cost?
I asked my wife how much she thought the Levante Trofeo costs. Knowing it was a Maserati, she threw out what she thought was an extravagant figure: "$100,000."
Nope. The Levante Trofeo starts at $149,990. And that's how you end up complaining that an excellent and sophisticated SUV isn't a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, because the Levante Trofeo is nearly $40,000 more expensive. Hell, even if you insist on a Ferrari-powered, 500-plus-horsepower SUV, you have options; the Levante GTS is all but indistinguishable in everyday driving and costs about $25,000 less. You could also save around $70,000 and buy an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio that'll be more fun than either of them.
2020 Maserati Levante Trofeo
Powertrain: Twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8; eight-speed automatic; all-wheel-drive
Torque: 538 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 14 mpg city, 18 mpg highway