Italian car legend Maserati is rumored to be gearing up to produce a new mid-sized sedan meant to compete against BMW’s 5-series and Mercedes-Benz’s E-class. A European patent application filed by Maserati staked claim to the name “Levante” last year, and this week what appeared to be a test mule for the new sedan was spotted on a rural road near the firm’s headquarters in Modena.
A test mule is an experimental new vehicle disguised within the body of a similarly-sized older vehicle. Often times superfluous tape and plastic is affixed to the car to further disguise it from industry spies. Test mules are usually scrapped, although occasionally a lucky engineer gets to bring one home after the experimental car goes into to full production.
With nothing yet confirmed, auto enthusiasts have extrapolated the likely configuration of the new Levante – if that is what it will be called – from past models and industry-wide trends. They expect a choice between a V8 or V6 engine, with an 8 speed ZF automatic gearbox to come standard on both.
The Levante is not expected out until 2014, but Maserati devotees will have plenty to digest in the meantime, after the unveiling of Maserati’s Kubang SUV at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show in January.
Like Haute Auto? Join our Facebook Page