Maserati Levante Modena S 2022 Review

We find it strange that Maserati keeps changing the names of its model grades. As soon as we become accustomed to the hierarchy of S, GTS, and Trofeo, it was changed to GranLusso and GranSport. But that is no longer relevant. Maserati has decided to stick with the GT, Modena, Modena S, and Trofeo for 2022. Why? No idea. It took us a long time to memorize the Porsche trim designations, but they were always constant, and look how well they have stuck in our brains, to the point that we now use them to infer and evaluate how competing cars stack up against one another. Please be patient with us.

With a starting price of $108,900 and a 345-horsepower V6, the GT is now the entry-level Levante model, while the $119,400 Modena adds more options and increases the engine's output to 424 hp. The 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 in the $143,900 Modena S (formerly known as the GTS) that we are testing produces 550 horsepower, while the $182,200 Trofeo increases the output to 580 horsepower.

Maserati moved the trim emblems from the trunk lid to above the triple side fender vents, which has led to even more confusion. They at least go well with the brand's new blue and white logo. The Levante is easily distinguishable from the current crop of competing luxury SUVs when driving on the open road. For a hefty price, of course, Maserati opted to double down on providing as many paint colors and customizability possibilities as Porsche. Giallo Modenese, a bright, almost matte-like yellow paint from their Fuoriserie palette, was applied on our Levante Modena S. It almost looks as pricey as the $21,250 that Maserati charges for it. The Levante's already menacing road presence and curb attractiveness are unquestionably enhanced by it.

From a distance, the Levante's interior appears opulent and luxurious, and in some places it is, like the optional Ermenegildo Zegna Pelletessuta leather textile woven into the seats ($8,000). It feels like you're seated on a priceless Italian handbag. The massive metal paddle shifters are wonderful to wrap your fingers around, and the sharp analog gauges and wistful clock on the dashboard take us back in time. But when compared to similarly priced vehicles like the Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5, the remainder of the switchgear is a letdown. The Maserati is clearly inferior in this regard, but we would go for a lighter inside color, such as red or brown, to better highlight its contours and decorations. The doors close softly and are curiously weighty, which we've noted with all contemporary Maseratis. However, this could be because they are frameless, which is unusual for large SUVs.

A Maserati isn't, however, purchased for the inside. You purchase it for the engine and the brand's mystique. Marketers like to refer to the Modena S's special 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 as a Ferrari engine. It's sort of true. The engine begins with Ferrari architecture and is really finalized and put together in Maranello by Ferrari. Even though the V8's internal engine code, F154, is the same as Ferrari's, there are no further parallels. The Ferrari engine employs a flat-plane crankshaft and dry sump lubrication, but the Maserati engine has a cross-plane crankshaft and wet sump lubrication, which accounts for the differences in RPM limitations, power delivery, and exhaust sound.

Nevertheless, the Modena S's 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive enable it to produce a respectable 550 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, outpacing the Range Rover Sport SVR (4.5 s) and the Audi SQ8 (4.5 s). There is a ton of low and mid-range muscle, so you can advance astronomically without ever going above 5,000 RPM. This force-induced V8 is exceedingly eager to rev and itches to explore the top half of the tachometer, which is uncharacteristic of a force-induced V8. And you'll want to since the soundtrack's dopamine flow is dripping with genuine emotion.

We love how loud and proud it is even at low speeds - in Sport Mode the valves are always open so you don't need to hit a certain RPM to unlock the full symphonic register. The Levante fires with all the richness and deep-timbered tonality as you would expect from a V8 engine, but with a layer of rich and exotic tones that you will never hear in a rivaling AMG or BMW M. We don't know how Maserati managed to make a V8 constricted by two turbochargers resonate so freely, but it's obvious that the exhaust received more funding than the suspension did. To put it mildly, the trip is unpleasant.

Anytime the suspension travels on a surface other than a smooth road, it jiggles and settles apprehensively. The Levante experiences nervousness and uncertainty at that brief period when it slams into a bump or uneven surface before coming to a stop, especially while moving at faster speeds. Neither does it provide the calm and collected ride we anticipated or what we noticed with prior Levantes we have driven. It also does not effectively counteract slight suspension movements. In many ways, it rides more like a live-axle pick-up truck than a luxury SUV. This could be due to the wide, low-profile 22-inch wheels wrapped in Continental SportContiContact 6 tires, which also seem to contribute to a significant amount of tire noise entering the cabin.

Overall, a Range Rover Sport or Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 demonstrate more firmness and stability than the Levante Modena S. It's obviously tuned for performance driving, but we would have preferred a softer damper setting to produce a more assured SUV that we could rely on rather than be afraid of. The Levante exhibits steady behavior at times and erratic behavior at other times. When you locate the appropriate stretch of (smooth) road, you can settle in, control the light but accurate steering, and bomb out of curves at absurd speeds by controlling the V8 with the paddle shifters.

The Levante might catch your attention if the current crop of opulent SUVs fails to send dopamine rushing to your brain. With its Zegna-flared inside, striking exterior style, costly customizing options, and booming V8 exhaust note, it transforms an everyday commute into an escape. It can be difficult to accept the price, especially when competitors provide equal or better value and performance. But in the end, buying a car is an emotional decision that cannot be expressed in words or figures. So, I suppose that in the end, it doesn't really matter what Maserati labels it.


  • Model: 2022 Maserati Levante Modena S
  • Paint Type: Giallo Modenese
  • Base Price: $142,500
  • Price as Tested: $186,865
  • Wheelbase(mm): 3,004
  • Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,020 / 1,981 / 1,698
  • Curb weight (kg): 2,170
  • Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8
  • Horsepower: 550 hp @ 6,250 rpm
  • Torque: 538 lb-ft @ 2,500 - 5,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
  • Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 14.7
  • Tires: Continental SportContact 6; 295/30ZR22

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