The battle of the luxury performance SUVs is heating up. Maserati has had the Levante out for a little while. Not to be forgotten, by the end of this year, the folks over in England are joining the category with the Aston Martin DBX. There are others as well. Lamborghini has the Urus SUV, and speculation indicates Ferrari will be joining the fray in a few more years. That’s a lot of SUVs from high-end manufacturers. Let’s compare two from the category, the Maserati Levante, and the Aston Martin DBX.
The Maserati Levante specifications
The Maserati Levante debuted for 2016. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, 8-speed automatic transmission, and the ability to select multiple driving modes. Since we are talking about high-end SUVs, let’s choose the high-end trim level as well. That is the Levante Trofeo. The specifications are below.
- Powerplant: 3.8-liter, V8 twin-turbo, sourced from Ferrari
- Horsepower: 590-hp
- Zero-Sixty: 3.8 seconds
- Top Speed: 189-mph
The Aston Martin DBX specifications
In North America, dealers are currently taking orders for the new Aston Martin DBX. None have been delivered yet. It also comes standard all-wheel drive, and multiple drive modes, but has a 9-speed automatic transmission, Deliveries are expected during the last quarter. There are no trim levels listed as available yet for the SUV. There are only packages to be added to the base DBX with no pricing information for the packages. The specifications are below.
- Powerplant: 4.0-liter twin-turbo, sourced from AMG
- Horsepower: 542-hp
- Zero-Sixty: 4.5 seconds
- Top Speed: 181-mph
The design comparison
The Maserati Levante has been around a few years. So, the design is a bit dated. But, there are so few of them out on the roads that they still look relevant and a bit posh. The Aston Martin DBX, however, will be an all-new design when it hits dealer lots soon. It is elegant and sporty at the same time.
The performance comparison
Surprisingly, the newcomer DBX will not measure up to the Levante. The DBX is down on horsepower, zero-sixty time, and top speed. That’s not the way this is supposed to work. The newcomer is supposed to bring the big guns to the fight. Instead, Aston Martin shorted themselves in performance output. Granted, the design of the DBX may be fresher, look sportier, and more elegant, but those matters are all subjective. Where it matters is in good hard numbers.
The Levante is coming from the Italian brand, Maserati. The DBX is coming from the British brand, Aston Martin. Italian and British brands have both spent recent years trying to dispel their long-established reputation of poor reliability. How successful they have been at it is hard to determine for these two specific models. The Levante is not selling in volume like the neighborhood Toyota Rav4. So, any real complaints that are recorded are going to be low in number. By comparison, the DBX is a new, untested vehicle. So real-world reliability still can not be determined.
Here is the most interesting thing in the SUV battle. Keep in mind both are low volume vehicles. So, there will be a premium for that. But, the most expensive trim level of the Maserati Levante is $169,900 before adding options, taxes, and destination fees. That is twenty thousand dollars less than the base level Aston Martin DBX. The DBX starts at $189,900 before adding options, taxes, and destination fees.
The SUV decision
This is where the insanity comes in. The DBX is newer, performs worse, and is priced higher. It just does not add up. Both brands have a prestigious lineage. So, there is a bit of social status associated with each brand. That is understood. But, paying that much more just to have the newest SUV thing does not make sense, especially when it does not perform as well. It makes more sense to avoid the DBX and buy the Levante instead.