Let’s face it, Maserati is the ultimate in luxury when it comes to brands under the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) banner. Yes, Ferrari is part of FCA… but it’s a performance brand and does its own thing. But as of recently, the Maserati brand has had a lot of issues.
Sales haven’t been nice to the brand, especially in the U.S. market. In 2017, Maserati brand sales totalled 13,711 units in the U.S. Out of that number, 5,485 of those units were of the Levante. Even though Maserati sold 1,177 more vehicles in the U.S. in 2017 than it did in 2016, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne stated in an interview to MotorTrend that the launch of the Levante “sucked”. Since it’s launch in 2016, Levante production has been halted twice causing almost 60% fewer units produced than what was expected.
In February, Marchionne tapped now former Head of Passenger Car Brands in North America Tim Kuniskis to be the Global Head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati. Yes, the guy who helped bring vehicles like the Viper ACR and Challenger SRT Demon to market, is leading the two FCA Italian marques.
In March, Kuniskis showed off what Maserati is hoping to shed some new light on the Levante and some hope into the brand for a better year. That vehicle is the 590-horsepower 2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo.
The Levante Trofeo is equipped with one of the most powerful engines ever fitted in a Maserati. A 3.8-liter Twin Turbo V8 engine that has been engineered to perfectly mate with the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive System and delivers an astounding 590 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 538 pound-feet of peak torque at 2,250 – 5,000 rpm.
The engine boasts the highest output per liter (156 hp/liter) of any Maserati powerplant ever produced and, like all Maserati gasoline engines, is assembled by Ferrari in Maranello, Italy.
“It’s proof that when you play with the elements you end up in a storm”, says Maserati CEO Tim Kuniskis. “In the case of Trofeo, the engineers and designers in Modena knew that the driveline parameters were more than able to cope with additional power and they also knew that Maserati had access to the finest engines on earth. So, they were up to the challenge of making the finest luxury SUV also one of the fastest”.
The Levante Trofeo is capable of accelerating from a 0 to 62 miles per hour (0-100 kilometers per hour) in just 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of just over 186 mph.
Well our friends at Real Fast Fotography, just happened to stumble upon a pre-production prototype of the Trofeo testing in the suburbs of Detroit last week. Looks like the Trofeo is getting some final tuning of its performance suspension for the North American market.
While the pre-production prototype is wearing Levante S wheels, the Trofeo hood vents are covered by tape. The front camouflage covers even bigger air intakes than the ones that adorn the normal Levante models.
The 2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo should start showing up in showrooms, this fall.