Maserati Levante Test Mule Makes the Rounds

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New Maserati sedan undergoing testing while wearing a Quattroporte's coat.

Desperate for a model to compete against the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Maserati has been hard at work in developing its baby Quattroporte. Tentatively dubbed the Levante, the newest Maserati is due for release sometime in late 2013. One of the biggest question-marks, however, has been over what will be found under the hood. Some suggest a version of Chrysler's Pentastar V6, but more Italian-flavored turbo sixes and V8s are also said to be in the cards.

Whatever engine is selected, expect it to be paired to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. While you may look at these photos and think they're of an existing Quattroporte, there are a few key tell-tale signs that this is, in fact, the new Levante undergoing testing. For starters, the wheels aren't quite centered in their arches, suggesting a shorter wheelbase. The brakes are also smaller than those found on the larger Quattroporte. But the most obvious indication is that Maserati isn't developing a new Quattroporte yet. It's developing the new Levante. And that is what we're looking at.

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