Without wishing to spoil your reading pleasure, it is fair to say that the two other road cars that I’ve reviewed this month are both machines you expect to be all about the engine until you drive them, whereupon you realise almost immediately your attention actually deserves to be elsewhere.
And because this Maserati Levante comes sporting an engine designed and built by Ferrari for use in its Roma coupé, you expect it’s likely to play a pretty big role in proceedings too. In the event it’s like going to a gig by an understated acoustic folk band called Saving Grace and discovering its lead singer is Robert Plant.
The engine is this car’s saviour and, looks aside, the only reason anyone might consider spending so much on what is an unremarkable SUV. Its interior is well ordered but rather bland, its handling is certainly secure but little more and its ride is only just good enough. And there’s not much room in the back.
But that engine! Cleverly they’ve fiddled with its firing order and fitted a crossplane crank, which means it bellows out traditional V8 music. And while the numbers suggest the car is pretty fast, to me at least it felt far more rapid even than that.
Like the Defender V8, it falls foul of the Cayenne Turbo argument, but if you like the looks you’ll love the speed. Enough to coax £125,000 out of your pocket?
2021 Maserati Levante Trofeo statistics
Engine 3.8-litre, 8 cylinders, turbocharged, petrol
Torque 538lb ft
Power to weight 264bhp per tonne
Transmission Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Top speed 188mph
Verdict It’s all about the engine.