Spy Shots

V8-powered Maserati Levante spied nearly naked

We've known for a while this was coming.

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I love fast SUVs. A big engine can do wonders to make a boring crossover exciting, even if they still handle like an overstuffed goldfish on wheels. That's why I'm really excited to see spy shots that show a V8-powered Maserati Levante in the flesh. Even before the Levante hit showrooms, Maserati admitted to us that a V8-powered prototype was already in existence. It seems that a full reveal is imminent.

Visually, the prototype we see here only does with revised front and rear fascias. It's slightly more aggressive, but not that far removed from what's currently available. Still, we're more interested in what's under the hood. Maserati said the Quattroporte's Ferrari-assembled 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 fits in the Levante with no issues. That should be no surprise, as the two models share a basic platform. In the Quattroporte, the engine makes 523 horsepower and 479 pound feet of torque. Don't be surprised if things are cranked up in the Levante to compete with the 567 horsepower BMW X5 M and the all-new 550 horsepower Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Look for bigger brakes, stiffer suspension and more aggressive rubber. Typical performance modifications. While we don't know for sure, the V8 Levante is likely to wear the GTS badge, just like the top-dog Quattroporte. Unfortunately, the model ditches hydraulic steering for an electrically assisted unit. Still, it's sure to be a riot, at least in a straight line.

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