The issue happens during stop-and-go driving.
Maserati owners will have to bring their Levante to the dealer because the luxury crossover will need new software for the transmission unexpectedly shifting into neutral. The issue affects 3,299 examples of the CUV in the United States and 507 of them in Canada.
According to Maserati’s defect announcement, the issue happens during low-speed driving at around two miles per hour, for example in stop-and-go traffic. In some cases, the engine might also shut off.
Maserati first received a complaint about this issue from a driver in China on October 18, 2016. An investigation found the cause of the problem on November 9, and the company began developing a fix for it. The automaker received another report of the issue on December 11. Maserati’s engineers completed the software update on January 20. Levantes with production dates after February 21 already have the improved code.
Maserati dealers will update the engine control module’s software. The recall will start March 31.
This is actually an expansion of an earlier recall. In December 2016, Maserati recalled 1,515 examples of the 2017 Levante for the gearbox shifting into neutral at low speeds. After developing the initial software fix, the company took more time to make sure it would work after receiving the December 11 complaint. During that verification time, the company had to add more crossovers to the campaign.
The company also recalled 39,381 examples of the Ghibli, Levante, and Quattroporte last year for a fire risk. Adjusting the front seats potentially caused the seat wiring harness to run against the vehicle, and the issue could lead to an electrical short.
The Levante went on sale for the 2017 model year in the United States. Pricing for the base model starts at $73,850 before destination, and it uses a 3.0-liter V6 producing 345 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque. The same engine powers the $85,050 Levante S but produces 424 hp and 427 lb-ft of torque.
Gallery: 2017 Maserati Levante: First Drive
NHTSA CAMPAIGN NUMBER: 17V161000
Software error may cause Shift to Neutral or StallIf the transmission shifts into neutral unexpectedly or if the engine shuts down without warning, it can increase the risk of a crash.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 17V161000
Manufacturer Maserati North America, Inc.
Components ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING, ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Potential Number of Units Affected 3,299
Maserati North America, Inc. (Maserati) is recalling certain 2017 Levante vehicles. Due to an engine software problem, at slow speeds such as stop-and-go traffic, the transmission may unexpectedly shift into neutral or the engine may shut off.
Maserati will notify owners, and dealers will update the engine control module software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin March 31, 2017. Owners may contact Maserati customer service at 1-201-510-2369.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
1 Affected Product Vehicle