The awkward Maserati reveal

The Maserati Levante was revealed last night in a series of photos, first leaked by Autoweek.nl, which prompted Maserati to show make (most of) them public. They were accompanied by a short press release which gushed over the styling (generally panned by the public), and mentioned engines, transmission, and all wheel drive almost in passing.

It was a mess.

One front image looked like a rendering; the others did show the entire car, but an interior shot revealed by autoweek.nl, revealing a bright red interior was missing, along with just about any car information aside from the presence of gasoline and diesel engines and an eight-speed automatic.

The Levante was first announced in 2011, as a derivative of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was then switched, at no small cost, to the Ghibli/Quattroporte base (derived from the Chrysler 300C, but with many changes). The result should be a better-handling car that’s cheaper to build (since they are all made in the same plant) and service (since Maserati dealers can have more universal parts and procedures).

Readers yawned. Even the major outlets seemed to get little mileage or interest. Admittedly, our own readers tend to favor Chrysler gear more than Maserati or Ferrari cars — which few can afford — but even so, the photos engendered fairly little interest or discussion, even compared with the Latin American-only Neon revival.

Maserati does have Allpar on their mailing list, or used to, but we saw no notifications from them. Mike V. volunteered to go and fetch the news, and Bill Cawthon did the same. As with most Fiat-side announcements, some digging was required amidst their confusing panoply of sites (Maserati has its own PR site).

A car this important deserves a better release. The Levante is to double Maserati’s sales — and it needs to be eagerly anticipated, with its functional aspects stressed, not its styling.