Maserati’s promise to reverse the effects of ageing put to the test
A pre-owned Maserati could be as good a buy as new
Unlike the more logical type vehicle segments, exotics in particular enjoy undiminished interest from buyers that’s been proven as everlasting.
Maserati vehicles built as early as 1914 — when this 104-year-old company with an enchanting history was initially established — still command great interest and exorbitant figures to acquire them.
The other truly fascinating bit about exotics is that the lines between the two extremes of new and used purchases have been blurred. A Maserati remains a Maserati, regardless of mileage. With this thought in mind, we sought out a pre-owned (pre-loved in Maserati parlance) to see if it’s a viable route to take.
This brand’s rank on the Italian exotic gene pool that includes Ferrari and Lamborghini is clear-cut. According to observers, the other pair trades with unabashed drama, noise and speed, while the Mazza is straight-up luxury and elegance.
In SUV guise, the Levante is a successful merger of that customary outlook of grace and poise but now infused with the practicality afforded by its SUV shape. According to Maserati SA general manager Rens Rademeyer, it understandably has “little-known but pleasantly surprising off-road driving ability.”
The pre-loved test vehicle with 19,310km on the odometer is a MY17 diesel model painted in Blue Emozione. It is priced at R1.6m, a significant 23% saving over the R2.1m it cost when brand new (a standard Levante Diesel retails for R1.66m but this unit is kitted with a host of options).
The Bryanston dealership is so confident of its know-how in giving the kiss of life to its pre-owned fleet that all are housed on the same floor as brand spanking new units, and it really is hard to tell the used ones apart from the new. It’s the result of the Maserati Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle program, a comprehensive list of check points designed by the company to ensure that pre-loved Maseratis still under factory warranty start off life with new owners equally painless and enjoyable as new cars.
I’m furnished with an official five-page workshop sheet to glance through even before the key is handed over. Reading through the checklist of 121 points is akin to stripping the car to its bare pieces — such is the detailed pursuit of ironing out the kinks.
All points are ticked off as checked and ratified but there are two concerns highlighted — small scratches on the low bumper, left rear alloy wheel and tyre tread below Maserati recommended standards. And the measures taken? “Four tyres replaced and 1 rim refurbishment performed due to cosmetic scratch. Wheel alignment and ACC calibration also performed.”
By the time I thread the car out of the dealership, cautious to minimise ageing, I’ve been given a thorough walkabout and its particulars. A Maserati cabin can be tailored to your wildest tastes. Our test unit was decorated stylishly thanks to tan leather-clad sport seats option and dashboard.
The cabin is lined in expensive-looking Alcantara and features carbon fibre effect inserts. It’s a generally tasteful looking place to be. The car is comprehensively specified with a digital Harman Kardon infotainment system enabled with Android and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, Driver Assistance Pack, Adaptive cruise control and a full glass roof.
Regardless of being powered by a 3.0l diesel V6 turbodiesel with 202kW at 4,000 rpm and 600Nm between 2,000-2,600rpm on tap, the engineers have settled on a satisfyingly rich, un-diesel-like exhaust baritone.
Drive is to all the wheels to enable hard acceleration from 0-100km/h in a claimed 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 230km/h. Combined fuel consumption for both urban and extra-urban usage is rated at 7.2l/100km, a crucial attraction of the initially unattractive prospect of a diesel Maserati, which is claimed can cover 1,000km on a single tank of fuel.
This Levante comes standard with air suspension which, at a push of a button, crouches if sportier travels are intended. If you are going to point its gorgeous nose down a beaten track, the suspension is also adjustable for extra height in order to skirt over rocks and stuff, which brings me right back to the Officine Maserati Certified Pre-owned Vehicle program.
I have no prior knowledge of this vehicle’s 21-inch Titano rims having scaled over some choice obstacles in its relatively short lifespan. If it has been, then Rademeyer and his team of technicians have wiped off all evidence with the efficiency of bone collectors. All it needs now is a new home.
Pre-owned Maseratis less than two years old come with a two-year warranty and three-year service plan.