It's a crisp winter's morning at Holme Pierrepont Country Park in Nottinghamshire, home of the National Water Sports Centre. The sun is shining, birds are singing, all is well.
We're meeting Laurence Henry, a sharp up-and-coming chef from Nottingham, who's reluctantly returning the Maserati Levante he's been driving for a week.
Laurence is a man who understands a quality product. In addition to winning 2018's Masterchef: The Professionals, he works at the two-Michelin Star Restaurant Sat Bains, producing incredible, high quality dishes for discerning customers.
Thanks to Maserati GB, the team at Graypaul Nottingham were able arrange for him to loan a Levante GranSport.
Powered by the new 350hp variant of the 3.0 V6 petrol engine, this Levante is a sight to behold, with Nero paint and Rosso leather interior, complimented by high-gloss carbon fibre trim and the Bowers & Wilkins 1280-watt sound system, which Laurence says he's enjoyed immensely.
During his week with the car he's covered a few hundred miles. Some simply between home and work, a mere 9-mile journey, which he says was made completely effortless thanks to the silky smooth automatic gearbox and plush, comfortable leather seats.
It's a bitterly cold January in Nottinghamshire, and he said there's no better way to get to his early shift at the restaurant than relaxing into the sumptuous leather, flicking the heated seats on and firing up his morning playlist.
He said: "Occasionally, I just had to turn off the music to listen to that amazing sound from the exhausts... I could never get bored of hearing that noise! It just makes you smile, every time."
In addition to the commute, Laurence also hit the motorways, heading to a variety of events with his fellow Masterchef finalists around the UK.
More journeys that he says are made effortless thanks to the surging power for overtaking on the motorway, whilst bathed in comfort in the cabin.
We meet as he sadly hands the car back, having thoroughly enjoyed his time with Levante.
He finished by saying: "I
just don't think, pound-for-pound, that there's a better luxury SUV on
the market at the moment.
Certainly, there's nothing that looks this
good, that turns this many heads, and that sounds this good. It makes
you smile when you look at it and makes you smile when you hear it.
To drive, it's just unbelievable. It turns and goes so much better than you'd expect an SUV to."
So... the all important question... would he buy one?"I really, really want one" he grins. "My girlfriend says we have to buy a house first. But then..."