Maserati has introduced its second SUV, the Grecale, a smaller luxury and performance-oriented entry to broaden its “utility” lineup with the larger Levante. The Italian automaker plans to compete with similar Alfa-Romeo, BMW and Porsche vehicles.
While the equipped as tested Grecale has nothing to hide in off-road capabilities, it will rarely be driven off the pavement. Maserati claims the Grecale is a good balance between sportiness and elegance, and this is its essence. It is available in three versions, the GT powered by a 296-horsepower four-cylinder mild hybrid, the four-cylinder Modena, also a hybrid but with 325 horsepower, and the Trofeo, powered by a no-holds barred V6 with 523 horsepower. A fourth version, the Folgore, is a fully-electric Grecale and is scheduled for North America for 2025. The Grecale is produced at Maserati’s Cassino plant in Italy. Engines are built in Termoli.
The Grecale is the latest Maserati to wear the trident that is named after a wind. This time it is a northeast Mediterranean wind, and other Maseratis named after certain winds include the Bora, Mistral, and Ghibli. The Trofeo version of the Grecale certainly goes like the wind with ample power for just about any road situation. The large Brembo brakes will slow the SUV with confidence, and handling is very adequate for an SUV, just don’t expect it to go around corners like a sports car, but the Trofeo’s efforts are noble.
The Grecale as tested with the powerful engine is very refined and one would not know what lurks under the hood. Even with its 40-series tires, the Grecale rides very well and is very quiet on the road. There is a six-option air-assisted riding package which allows the driver to go from comfort mode to basically an all-out track mode. And there is an off-road mode as well.
As with other vehicles in the Maserati family, the interior fit and finish is impeccable and uses some of the finest materials in a tasteful package.
The exterior is also a tasteful package, as Maserati stylists have provided a rounded profile to all aspects of the four-door SUV devoid of brightwork and with enough styling cues to project a performance image.
There are some quirky aspects to the operation of the Grecale, such as the steering-wheel starter button which does take some getting used to, as do the interior door-opening buttons. The graphics on the dash in front of the driver are excellent, but the 12.3-inch touch screen is in need of some improvement. Functions such as the heater and air conditioning controls are available only through the screen, as well as working the radio. This means you must take your eyes off the road more than one is comfortable with, and these controls should have old-school buttons and switch gear. The shifter is also button-operated from the center control area and its operation is not as positive as it should be.
With a gorgeous, comfortable interior and swoopy styling, along with brakes and suspension to match the engine’s power, the Grecale is a vehicle that one can drive long distances with little effort. The cabin is large enough for four to travel in luxurious and performance-enhanced comfort.
Maserati Grecale Trofeo
Price: Base GT model, $75,200, Trofeo base $117,845, as tested, $129,500
Engine: 3.0-liter V6, twin turbo
Power/Torque: 523 horsepower, 457 lb-ft
Fuel Mileage: 10-14 L/100kms
Drivetrain: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, limited slip rear differential, quadrilateral with virtual steering and air springs front suspension, multilink and air springs rear suspension, six-piston Brembo 360-mm discs front, four-piston Brembo 350-mm discs rear, tires 225/40/R21, 3.70 to 1 final drive ratio
Wheelbase: 2901 mm (114.2 inches)
Weight: 2027 kgs, 4629 pounds
Fuel tank capacity: 63.9 liters
Cargo volume: 569 liters
By Tim Miller