Much has been written about the Maserati Levante’s on-road prowess. As a crossover SUV with Italian DNA, it has good looks and decent on-road handling – but not much is known about its off-road prowess. That’s probably because, despite its ground clearance and all-wheel drive capability, the vast majority of Maserati buyers aren’t going to spend upwards of £54,000 for a fully equipped Levante then get it dirty. That’s what Range Rovers are for.
So Maserati decided to take that leap for everyone by staging an off-road race. The competition for the Levante, however, wouldn’t be the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5, the aforementioned Range Rover, or any other vehicle. With the Grand National – the most famous National Hunt horse race – set to take place this Saturday near Liverpool, the manufacturer called upon the Skelton brothers to pit horsepower against an actual horse. National Hunt Trainer and Maserati ambassador Dan Skelton would pilot a Levante diesel, while professional Hunt Jockey Harry Skelton would fight the good fight on a horse named Dinnie O.
The battle took place in the Cotswolds and, as you might guess, the Levante diesel with its 274-horsepower advantage won the day. Maserati said each brother had a different route to follow, with the Levante taking a longer route through “rough terrain that was unsuitable for horseback”. We watched the video several times, and aside from a few spots that appeared a bit muddy, we’re left wondering exactly what the manufacturer means by rough terrain.
We also can’t help but wonder if this is what Maserati envisions as off-roading for its customers – a short jaunt through the Cotswolds on flat ground, chasing a horse. The Levante is certainly a classy machine, and this is a novel way to connect the brand with arguably one of the greatest horse races in the world. But consider us a bit underwhelmed at Maserati's attempt to give its SUV some backwoods cred.
Gallery: Maserati Levante versus horse in Grand National build up
BATTLE OF THE BROTHERS: MASERATI STAGES UNIQUE 'CAR VS HORSE' RACE BETWEEN THE SKELTONS IN BUILD-UP TO GRAND NATIONAL
BATTLE OF THE BROTHERS: MASERATI STAGES UNIQUE ‘CAR VERSUS HORSE’ RACE BETWEEN THE SKELTONS IN THE BUILD UP TO THE GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL
National Hunt Trainer, Dan Skelton, drives new Maserati Levante SUV in a race against professional jockey brother, Harry, on horseback
Point-to-Point challenge took place in the grounds of Chavenage House Estate in the Cotswolds
London, Monday 3rd April 2017 – In the build up to the Grand National, luxury Italian car brand Maserati devised a unique ‘car vs horse’ challenge to explore the capabilities of the first ever Maserati SUV, the Levante, in an environment naturally suited to its equine competitor.
The challenge provided another competitive twist as it was a race between two brothers; National Hunt Trainer and Maserati ambassador Dan Skelton behind the wheel of the new Maserati Levante Diesel while National Hunt Jockey Harry Skelton took the reins of Point to Pointer Dinnie O.
Captured in a thrilling video, the race across the grounds of Chavenage House Estate, in the Cotswolds, can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/ZCzUsgREZ7I
Following the rules of historical point-to-point racing, Dan and Harry were tasked with travelling between two set points as fast as possible. The nature of the race and the course allowed the Levante to showcase its off-road capabilities and intelligent Q4 All-Wheel-Drive system, having to navigate through rough terrain that was unsuitable for horseback. With both competitors taking different routes to the finish line, the power and speed of the Levante eventually told, with Dan just overtaking Harry and Dinnie O on the final straight.
Commenting on the challenge, Dan Skelton said, “Understandably the yard is a very busy place at the moment and it was enjoyable to take some time out of the pressures of preparation for Aintree. Racing my brother through the British countryside in the new Maserati Levante was fantastic fun and of course the best man won!”
Harry Skelton said, “We’ve always been ultra-competitive and of course I never like losing to my brother. The challenge was something very different to my usual day job, and I’m hoping Dan will lend me the keys to his Levante soon so I can get behind the wheel for a test drive.”
Maserati’s luxury SUV offers active air suspension as standard, boasting five varying ride heights, as well as the lowest centre of gravity in class. Exclusivity continues with the Levante’s intelligent Q4 All-Wheel-Drive system, 3.0 litre V6 Turbo Diesel engine and a luxury ride comfort synonymous with the Italian brand.
In the UK, the Levante Diesel starts from £56,250 OTR and can be upgraded to include either a Luxury or Sport pack at £62,380 OTR. The Levante can also be equipped with the Luxury Pack Zegna Edition at £63,310 OTR, featuring bespoke Zegna Mulberry Silk.
To find out more about Maserati visit: www.maserati.co.uk