Joe Walsh sang, “My Maserati does 185/I lost my license/Now I don’t drive” in his 1978 hit “Life’s Been Good.”
Far more people have heard Walsh sing that lyric over the years than have ever seen, let alone driven, a Maserati, so that’s probably a good place to begin talking about the 2019 Maserati Levante S GranSport.
First, this Maserati does 187 mph, so Walsh’s car, a gorgeous 1964 5000S he still owns, has nothing on it. (He actually indulged in a bit of artistic license in the song; top speed of the 5000S is 168.) What’s most impressive is that the Levante is an SUV. That’s right, a 187 mph sport utility vehicle.
And it is fierce. A foot to the floor in the 2019 Maserati Levante S GranSport is met with a standing start to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, according to Car and Driver magazine, and a howl from the engine that is pure Italian machinery magic. It’s Pavarotti with pistons.
What’s the market for such a thing, you ask? Well, just cruise for a few miles along El Camino Real and count the Porsche Cayennes, Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 43s and Jaguar F-Pace SVRs you see. High-performance luxury SUVs are a hot market right now, and the Maserati Levante S GranSport is aimed right at the heart of it.
Without options, the vehicle sells for $91,980, but standard equipment includes a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter 424-horsepower V6 engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, Bi-Xenon headlamps, adaptive air suspension, a Skyhook performance suspension with active damping, heated and ventilated front seats, an 8.4-inch color touchscreen entertainment and navigation system (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), blind-spot alert and a rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors.
Also included at that price: 20-inch Nereo aluminum wheels, gloss red-painted brake calipers with white “Maserati” script, 12-way power front sport seats, a black leather sport steering wheel, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, body-color side skirts and GranSport rear spoiler and black roof rails.
In this car, “standard” doesn’t mean “stripped.” Still, Maserati found some room for extra-cost options in our test vehicle, including Driver Assistance Pack, Climate Pack, high-gloss metal net trim, heated steering wheel, Bowers & Wilkins audio system and 21-inch Helios Staggered-Matte wheels.
And that brought the window-sticker price to $104,835, which is a bracing figure by anyone’s standards. Still, it’s in line for this type of vehicle.
So who’s it for? Well, let’s say the lease on your Porsche Cayenne is about to expire. You love it, but you want a shade more passion and emotion than the SUV from Stuttgart seems to inspire. There’s a ton of it in the 2019 Maserati Levante S GranSport. Just don’t do 185 mph. You’ll lose your license and won’t be able to legally drive it.