Last week we had the pleasure of travelling to Melbourne as a guest of Maserati. The trip was for two reasons (well three if you count lunch), A: to see the much anticipated Levante in the flesh but B: to see their new look and restyled showrooms. The trip was to be a full on day, an early rise for the red eye flight to Melbourne with a return time that would embarrass Cinderella – but somehow I knew it would be worth it.
First stop was the city showroom and the all important coffee. Deep in the heart of the Australian metropolis (close to the museum and Parliament house) is a place where the blueprint for Maserati’s new showroom has come to life. From the outside you can see that it’s something special (with its huge glass front display – showcasing a beautiful array of their fine automobiles) but it’s once you’re inside that the revelation really begins.
Like the curtains being pulled back on a Broadway play; the lift doors opened and the expansive showroom was revealed.
Everyone is greeted by the welcoming smile of the concierge (Although we were there a little too early for that) and then directed to the coffee station that features a machine that any top end café would be proud of – and as it turned out, complete with a very competent Barista too! With our much needed coffee in hand, we took a tour of the room.
The showroom’s entire floor is covered in a light cream coloured tile that has been specially imported from Italy as is the Poltrona Frau furniture (but I’ll get to that in a moment). The room has separate sections each with their own special purpose. The main area displays the cars, from Ghibli’s to GranTurismo’s sometimes (as was the case today) with some classics there to letch over too.
The showroom also features an exquisite lounge area to relax and drink your coffee in. The walls are adorned with classic photos of Maserati’s; each with iconic backdrops plus it has these luxurious Poltrona Frua leather chairs. Then there’s the personalization area where you can tailor make your Masarati to your own style and flair. It’s a place to design and build the Maserati YOU want. Sales offices and a lavish boardroom complete the picture and what a work of art it is.
The whole process takes around 9 months to complete and the price tag runs into the tens of millions, Maserati believe it’s worth it. They believe that the feeling of luxury and exclusivity should follow your journey from the moment you enter the building to the time you’re in the city traffic and beyond. All the showrooms in Australia (and very soon the 2 in NZ) will get the same hand crafted treatment and are well worth seeing.
Once we’d had our fill of the opulent showroom we were taken across town for our unveiling of the Levante.
The Levante is all I’d hoped it would be and then some. We were shown the Levante Turbo Diesel, the mainstay of the model and it just oozes Maserati. They have brought together what it means to be a Maserati (Style, performance, Exclusivity and Personalization) with the characteristics of an SUV (Space, Flexibility, Commanding driving position and off road capabilities). From its distinctive Trident badge on the front grille to the haunch look at the rear, yes it’s an SUV but it’s a sports SUV, a 100% Italian SUV, let’s face it – it’s the Maserati’s of SUV’s.
The Chassis is 20% stiffer than the Ghibli’s and has the lowest centre of gravity in the category (610mm in sport mode). Front Air curtains, Flat bottoms and an Air Grille Shutter system adds to the aerodynamics while 5 ride heights and 4 driving modes ensure you’re connected at all forms of terrain.
Under the beautiful bonnet is a 3L 202kW/600Nm V6 turbo diesel power train connected to an 8 speed gearbox. We didn’t get to drive it yet but I’ve seen the movies – it performs exceptionally. Throw in the complete set of driver’s aids and of course the uncompromising hand finished interior and you have an SUV that’s not Premium and not Exotic; (at a forecast of .075%) it’s more than that, it’s Exclusive.
There are Sport, Luxury or Zenga options and of course there is the ability to make it your own.
The day was topped off with a sumptuous meal created in-house and served in their executive boardroom – I told you it would be worth it.
Forever concerned with your welfare (and so you don’t have to travel to Melbourne on the red eye to experience their hospitality), Maserati have informed us that the Levante arrives in NZ in a few months and these amazing Showrooms are already under discussion for Auckland and Christchurch – we’ll see you there!
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