Maserati Philippines has officially launched its first Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) in the Philippines
I dropped by their VIP launch at the Palace Pool Club, Bonifacio Global City to check out the ultra-luxe ride.
Maserati is an Italian luxury vehicle brand and manufacturer known for its Trident emblem. It was established on December 1, 1914, in Bologna, Italy. The Maserati brothers adopted the symbol of the Trident, created by the artist of the family Mario Maserati and inspired by the famous statue of Neptune in Bologna, and made it the logo synthesizing the new company in a single image.
Wikipedia notes that the Maserati tagline as "luxury, sports and style cast in exclusive cars" and the brand's mission statement is to "build ultra-luxury performance automobiles with timeless Italian style, accommodating bespoke interiors, and effortless, signature sounding power".
I had a chat with Maserati Philippines' energetic chairman and president Mr. Wellington "Willie" Soong, who happens to be a long-time family friend.
According to Soong, he is positive that economic development in the country can foster a deeper understanding and recognition of luxury car brands such as Maserati and he expects the market to grow.
"The luxury cars we sell symbolize certain levels of success that excellent individuals have earned thru their hard work. As our economy grows, we would like to provide the best rewards for those deserving people who have served others successfully in their endeavors. The products we sell are dedicated to the good professionals who have worked to reach certain levels of worth and success. We deserve to reward ourselves for good work," he says.
Soong adds that he foresees a bright and growing market composed of more Filipinos benefiting from continued economic growth.
"Appreciation for luxury is good for the economy. When entrepreneurs reach a level of success thru hard work, the first common thing they would like to buy to reward themselves is a luxury suit. It's the same with luxury vehicles on a higher level, it's a reward that you have reached a certain level of success and net worth. Most luxury enthusiasts feel more inspired to live, work and play when they reward themselves with luxury cars such as Maseratis. We try our best to help inspire the locals to aspire. Our success helps in our country's global and local productivity and employment," he says.
Unveiling the Maserati Levante
The Levante is the Italian brand's highly anticipated first SUV.
The introduction of Levante formally completes Maserati's product line-up for the first time in Maserati’s history. It is 100% made in Italy. Reports state that the Maserati boasts best in class in road handling in sport mode, as well as best in class handling in snow and ice, and over-all off-road comfort.
Its name comes from the warm Mediterranean wind that can change from mild to gale force in an instant, a trait that the Levante displays through its unique on-road drivability and competitive off-road capabilities.
The product proudly exclaims that it's a 100% Maserati and 100% SUV.
“The Levante is like a new wind that is exciting to the local SUV market. The exclusivity it offers, and the Maserati performance it guarantees, has attracted both young and old aficionados,” says Mr. Soong.
The unveiling event led by the Soong family gathered car enthusiasts and media friends. I went to take a closer look at the car's interiors and features. I was accompanied by my good friend Ice Martinez, who happens to be a Maserati brand ambassador.
Based on Italian-style aesthetics, the Levante design allows the rare combination of spaciousness, coupé lines, and aerodynamic efficiency, the best in its segment at a Cx coefficient of 0.31.
Technical features such as Air Suspension and the Q4 AWD system, which come as standard equipment, and the high level of customization, Sport or Luxury, resulted in Levante’s thoroughbred on-road handling as well as solid off-road capabilities.
With the Levante, Maserati has made extensive use of lightweight materials and the ideal 50-50% weight distribution, and has thus come up with a unique and agile luxury SUV that has the lowest center of gravity in its class.
The latest Maserati 3-litre V6 engine is packed in the Levante. There are two versions: the twin-turbo petrol engine and the economical turbo-diesel.
I had a chance to start the Levante's engine. Revving it up shows that both versions are calibrated to express the globally acclaimed unique Maserati signature sound.
The most powerful Levante makes it to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and has a top speed of 264 km/h, while the figures for the 350 hp version are 6.0 seconds and 251 km/h respectively.
The Levante is also available with a common-rail, direct injection turbodiesel V6 with reduced dwell-time injectors. The 3-litre engine is capable of 275 hp and delivers 0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds and a 230 km/h maximum speed while keeping the fuel economy as low as 7.2 litres/100 km under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).
The introduction of Levante coincides with Maserati-exclusive innovative features such as safety and convenience options, brand-new Human Machine Interface, dedicated cargo solutions, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Forward Collision Warning and Brake Assist System, Lane Departure Warning, Surround View camera, capacitive 8.4" Touch Screen display with brand new rotary control, plus the AHA function, an addition to the Maserati Touch Control Plus which extends the AM, FM and DAB digital radio with a network connection option: the AHA function dialogues with the user's network-connected mobile device to give access to on-line services (radio stations, programs, etc.) while the vehicle is moving.
For more information on the latest Maserati models in the Philippines, visit the Maserati showroom at Autostrada, 32nd cor. 4th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City or call +63 2 856 2277.
John Paul C. Tanchanco is a travel, food, party, film and music aficionado. He is also an economist, businessman, MYX/Awit award-winning media producer and Kala guitarist.
"ThaGoodLife" is a blog about pop culture, travel, music, entertainment, business, food, luxury, clubbing, shopping and events.
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