In Depth

Winds of change: Meet the Levante, Maserati's first SUV

Giovanni Ribotta, the marque's chief exterior designer, discusses the new model, brand identity and a very fashionable collaboration

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Maserati has been building vehicles since 1914, and the latest project is the new Maserati Levante. Bearing the marque's distinctive trident logo on its grill – a motif inspired by the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna's Piazza Maggiore – the Levante is named after an easterly wind that blows in the Mediterranean. Here, Giovanni Ribotta talks us through this unusual SUV, and an even more exceptional edition made in partnership with famous Italian men's fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, which also sees a capsule collection of accessories created for the occasion.

For our new release, the Maserati Levante, we have partnered with Ermenegildo Zegna. This special-edition car has Zegna silk in the interior, a fabric that has been developed to be hard-wearing and luxurious.

The challenge in developing the Levante was to look at the competition and try to do something different that represents our distinctive identity. We wanted to maintain the main features of an SUV, such as the roominess you find inside, but from a design point of view retain the feel of our GranTurismo coupe, which comes through in the elongated shape of the hood and the rear windows. We've engineered the proportions to extend the height of the car, and emphasise the dynamic and fast nature of the new model.

The front of the Levante features our signature grill, which is the centrepiece of Maserati's identity. Here, it has evolved into a new shape, more pointed and with sharp lines. Aggressive and powerful, it communicates the raw capabilities of the car.

Behind the trident logo of the grill is a radar. We are one of the few brands that can combine sportiness with classic and technical elements. If you look at the car, the front has an aggressiveness to it, while the body and rear convey elegance. At Maserati, the people who design the interiors and exteriors work alongside each other in the same place, and the same luxury and richness of materials that you see on the outside is continued throughout.

Giovanni Ribotta is the chief exterior designer at Maserati; maserati.com

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