Maserati have followed other prestige and luxury manufacturers into the ever booming SUV market. The market has embraced SUVs to the point of now demanding each brand make an offering. Maserati have now confirmed the prices for their Levante and the order book is open.

Locally the Levante will have a three-tier line-up, with the entry point priced from $139,990 plus on-road costs. It will also be offered in Luxury and Sport guises, starting at $159,990 plus on roads.

The price is very closely aligned to the Ghibli sedan and with this pricing structure, it’s very likely the Levante will poach sales from its sedan stablemate. Last year Maserati sold 519 cars in Australia, the Ghibli accounted for 345 of those sales.

The metal for money equation is generally much stronger when it comes to SUVs and this leads to a perception of value.

The Levante will launch with only one engine option, a 202kW/600Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, Australian customers are not able to order the turbocharged V6 petrol variants that deliver 260kW or 320kW. At present, petrol models are not produced in right-hand drive.

It’s disappointing that the V6 petrol isn’t available. Part of the selling point of the petrol engine is its links with Ferrari.

Interestingly, Maserati have largely escaped the criticism of purists that some of its competitors faced when introducing an SUV to their portfolio. A sign of market demand and change.

Prestige and luxury brands that produce SUVs grow their market share and customer base. This has already been seen with Porsche’s success with the Cayenne and Macan.

With booming SUV sales and local buyers happy to spend the cash on luxury models, the Levante will most likely be a success and become the brand's top selling model. It has the potential to open the brand up to a new demographic of customer, which after all, is the point.

Let’s start a Car Conversation about the Maserati Levante, does anybody have an order in? Are any readers currently driving a Maserati and are considering an upgrade? Do you think the price is right?