The GT MC is a big boy at 4881mm long and, with mirrors, 2056mm wide, so it’s good news that Maserati has fitted a handy rear parking camera with dynamic gridlines.
The enveloping fog meant that the new head and fog lights were obligatory. Nice Xenon clusters Maserati. And another great design touch is the dashboard-mounted analogue clock with its double dial.
Although the Maserati GT has boy racer vibes, increasingly women are buying Maseratis – for themselves. The boot has generous space for shopping, cases and golf bags, while the rear seats accommodate two adults comfortably, although for taller folk the headroom may not be the loftiest. Our test drive was short, sweet and I can’t wait to take out the GT on a proper grand tour of my own.
As I learn later in the presentation after drinks in Beaverbrook’s Parrot Bar, there are eight interior colours and five interior trim options for the GT – from Carbon Fibre to Black Piano and Walnut Briarwood. All are available on Sport and MC versions.
Maserati’s GB General Manager Mike Biscoe and Italian designer Elisa Nuzzo share the story of the development of the upgraded GT and Levante – which I drive the following day. Each GranTurismo/GranCabrio is built to order in Modena – to the customer’s precise requirements. According to the factory’s official data, there have been about 18,000 different GranTurismo/GranCabrio configurations so far.
Mike tells us that 70% of new Maserati owners have traded in competing brands such as BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, clearly preferring to enjoy the elegance, refinement and motoring lineage that Maserati provides. Elisa shares how she was inspired by a bottle of Chanel perfume to create the astonishing Blu Nobile for the new Levante. This is a gorgeous almost-midnight blue that changes colour in sunlight to an electric shade.
We move into Beaverbrook’s private dining room for our 12-dish Japanese tasting menu under the expert hand of Head Chef Taiji Maruyama. Using only the freshest ingredients our extraordinary feast includes Yellowtail Tiradito, grilled Koji monkfish, nigiri, beef tenderloin and an exquisite hibiscus chocolate fondant. All accompanied by a Le Piane Mimmo Rosso from Piedmont.
Levante S GranSport
The fog blanket has lifted by the time we head out in the new Levante S GranSport the following day. Blue skies and dry roads – perfect conditions for our 76-mile round trip west to Guildford, then south via Haslemere to Fernhurst for a coffee stop at the King’s Arms, returning to Beaverbrook via Petworth and Dorking. A great route that gives us a mix of motorway, dual carriageway and country roads to test the Levante S GranSport. The Levante is Maserati’s first SUV, and with global sales of over 56,000 since its launch in 2016 is proving a worthy addition to this iconic Italian marque.
This is my first sight of the new Levante S GranSport and I’m impressed. The Turin design team has produced sleek and muscular aesthetics – none of the boxiness of some of the marque’s competitors. The Levante’s iconic front grille with vertical bars the backdrop for the Maserati trident logo. A walk around my Grigio-coloured test car reveals impressive flanks with aggressive side air intakes and aerodynamic wings, with more weight positioned towards the front wheels. Her 20-inch Nereo alloys and gnarly red calipers gleam in the winter sunshine. Top speed: 264 km/h (164 mph).
At the rear, a wider stance with dual pipe exhausts in chrome-plated stainless steel. Sportier bumpers here too, which for the GranSport boast front and rear black piano inserts. A dazzling combination of luxurious SUV and all-terrain 4×4, thanks to its sophisticated air-suspension technology that raises or lowers the vehicle according to your desire – or location.
As I jump into the hand-stitched leather-clad cabin (front heated seats naturally), it’s apparent the Levante S GranSport has all the refinements you’d expect of Maserati. Imagine 12-ways to get comfortable in these adjustable body-hugging sports seats: cue stylish stitching, added memory function and anti-whiplash headrests. The luxury leather theme continues in the adjustable sports steering wheel and the gear shift. As well as the leatherette dashboard with its Maserati-designed retro analogue clock. Attention to detail is paramount here: Unmistakable Italian style is matched with meticulous luxury. And the satisfying click of the soft-close doors makes me feel safely cocooned in complete luxury.