That's certainly one way to boost Levante sales

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Back when Porsche first introduced the Cayenne, a performance-focused luxury SUV was still considered a risky and controversial idea. Fast forward 15 years, however, and the idea has taken off to the point that Ferrari’s even considering an SUV. But while CEO Sergio Marchionne waits to make up his mind on that one, it looks like Maserati is already testing a Levante with Ferrari power.

Caught undergoing winter testing in Europe, this prototype has both larger air intakes up front, as well as air vents on the hood. It also appears to have bigger brakes, a lower ride height, and larger exhaust tips. Those upgrades alone would be enough to catch our attention, but according to our spy photographer, it sounded like there was a V-8 under the hood.

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If so, that means you’ll soon be able to buy the Levante with the same Ferrari-sourced V-8 found in the 523-hp Quattroporte GTS sedan—a version of the same engine that powers both the Ferrari Portofino and 488 GTB. So yes, expect the Levante GTS to be quick. And sound incredible.

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Of course, it’s not like the current Levante lineup lacks power or a snarling exhaust note. The V-6 offers either 345 hp or 424 hp and sounds fantastic in either form. As we found in SUV of the Year testing, the real problem with the Levante is that it doesn’t offer the kind of polish and interior quality that you expect at its price point. We actually liked the less-expensive Alfa Romeo Stelvio much better.

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We hope Maserati has plans to upgrade the materials in the cabin, but if anything will make buyers forget about the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep switchgear, it’s a Ferrari-sourced V-8. And from the sound of it, that’s exactly what the Maserati Levante GTS will offer.

Photo source: CarPix

Nguồn: www.motortrend.com