Meet the Maserati Grecale: 523-hp Trofeo aims at Porsche, M, AMG
Unlike a lot of automakers, Maserati was happy with its sales performance in 2021, with its Quattroporte and Ghibli both posting decent numbers and the midsize Levante SUV, the brand’s biggest seller, surging 81 percent. Of course, the brand is still small and doesn’t even compete in many of the most lucrative segments of the luxury vehicle market, so it has a lot of room to expand given the right offerings. The most glaring omission from the lineup will soon be filled with the Grecale, a compact SUV (competing against the BMW X3, Porsche Macan, and Mercedes GLC) that should become the brand’s highest-volume product.
The Grecale, named after a north-easterly Mediterranean wind, slots in under the mid-size Levante and shares several styling cues with the MC20 supercar. Note the Maserati trident in a similar location on the C-pillar.
The Grecale will be available in three trim levels, starting at $64,995 including destination.
GT will be the entry point for the Grecale, equipped with a 296-hp powertrain made up of a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. It comes standard with 10-way adjustable leather seats, 19-inch wheels, and a suite of safety features including automatic emergency braking. Next up, Modena, which should be the volume model, adds a boost of power, with an uprated 2.0-liter and a similar 48-volt mild hybrid system that delivers 325 hp. The wheels get bumped up to 20 inches, and the seats are 12-way adjustable. At the top of the lineup sits the Grecale Trofeo, and it ups the performance quotient significantly with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that has its roots in the midengine MC20 supercar’s 621-hp “Nettuno” mill. In this iteration, the Maserati-built engine gains a wet-sump oiling system and is tuned for 523 hp. Maserati promises a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.6 seconds. You’ll be able to identify a Trofeo from its unique front and rear fasciae and 21-inch wheels. Inside, its seats take the customization up a notch with 14-way adjustability.
Maserati promises that Grecale will outperform its German rivals and offer significantly more room in the process. We had a chance to poke around a top-spec model. While we didn’t get to drive it, or even hear it start, we did sit in both rows and explore the interior. A dual-pane sunroof is standard across the Grecale line and does steal an inch or so of headroom from what you’d expect, although that won’t be much concern unless rear-seat passengers are taller than six-feet-three-inches or thereabouts. Maserati noted that the Grecale was made to comfortably fit the 99th percentile, so that seems to check out. When the front seats are moved far enough rearward to fit someone of that height things start to get tight, but there’s still enough knee room for most tall rear-seat passengers to be comfortable.
While the seats, wheels, and fasciae will differ from one trim to the next, the multiple instrument panels and displays should remain rather consistent, as each Grecale will use at least four screens to deliver information. The driver will receive vitals from a 12.3-inch panel behind the steering wheel, the main, central touchscreen also measures 12.3 inches, and another 8.8-inch touchscreen will handle the AC and ventilation. Rear-seat passengers also get their own touch screen to control the rear seat HVAC. Another bit of continuity across the model range is the transmission. Behind every powertrain is a ZF eight-speed auto, one of the most consistently praised torque-converter automatics on the market.
Maserati also plans for an all-electric Grecale Folgore, which should debut in about a year and get the brand started on its goal to be all-electric by 2030. At the moment Maserati is tight-lipped about further Folgore details and won’t comment on where it will wind up in the model hierarchy. The Grecale will debut in Europe in a few months but won’t make it to North America until the fall of 2022. Starting today, however, buyers can pre-order a special Grecale Modena Limited Edition, starting at $78,895, that comes with some of the aesthetics of the Trofeo, including its 21-inch wheels.
This is a late entry for Maserati, which has struggled to keep its model lineup relevant in recent years. With the MC20 filling the role of halo car and the new Grecale occupying the entry level, Maserati is clearly hoping to move past the FCA days defined largely by the sub-par Ghibli sedan and enter a new era with fresh product. This is no doubt a promising start.