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Car Review

Maserati Grecale Folgore review

£109,850
710
Published: 26 Mar 2024
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A classy alternative to the EV norm-core and accomplished to drive. But the Macan outwits it, so it's close… but no cigar

Good stuff

Has presence and character, rides and handles well

Bad stuff

It’s very expensive, range is only just about good enough

Overview

What is it?

Sounds like a shady character from a Martin Scorsese film, doesn’t it? It’s actually meteorological: ‘Grecale’ is Italian for a north-east wind, and ‘Folgore’ means lightning. As opposed to lightening, which is something this new Maserati could possibly do with.

Why so?

Because this is the pure-electric version of the company’s well-received mid-size SUV, and with two electric motors – one on each axle – and a 105kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery, it weighs in at a hefty 2,480kg. Yes, we know EV hardware is heavy but this is the same as three Fifties Maserati A6GCSs (a very pretty car, incidentally). With four adults on board… well, you do the math.

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Noted. But this is 2024 and it won’t be long before combustion engines are as historic as that A6. Time to get with the programme, right?

If you insist. The Grecale is Maserati’s biggest seller, with 18,000 sold worldwide last year. It’s crucial to the company’s ambitions as it continues to reassert itself as a genuinely credible force rather than the left-field choice of incurable romantics and die-hard Italophiles. In the US, almost half of Grecales sold are bought by women. You’d be hard pushed to tell the Folgore apart from its combustion-engined siblings, though.

It looks identical to the ICE version…

It does, and that’s deliberate, says Maserati designer Alessandro Silva. “We don’t want to follow a trend, we want to be timeless,” he tells TG.com. “Our aim is to achieve a visual longevity. Some electric cars have been conceived to deliver that ‘wow’ effect, which can work in the moment but doesn’t last beyond a few years. We don’t want to shock our customers, we want to bring them with us on the journey to electrification.”

Silva also talks about something called ‘tridentity’, short-hand for Maserati-specific design cues (analogous to Lucidity and Teslattitude, perhaps), like the lights, wheel design, and fuselage effect on the bonnet. The Grecale Folgore is a handsome enough machine, one that riffs off the high performance Trofeo version whilst adding a few twists.

Although the motors and battery still need some cooling, the strident concave Maserati grille features fewer apertures. There’s a redesigned diffuser at the rear. The signature trio of air vents on the front wings are filled in here with LEDs. Look closely and you’ll see copper-coloured accents in the brake calipers, an EV-only affectation. New alloy wheels are also available, in 19, 20 and 21in diameter, all designed to help reduce the drag coefficient and thus improve range and efficiency.

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There’s also a bespoke paint finish, called Rame Folgore, which takes its inspiration from the exterior façade of Frank Gehry’s majestic Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. Depending on how sunlight hits it, the result is grey/brown/blue, and achieved using iridescent pigments. Maserati is working hard on ways of differentiating itself, in terms of colours, materials and fabrics. Note, however, that iridescent pigmentation is pricey: this paint finish is a circa £15k option.

The Grecale is a physically imposing car: it’s 4.8m long and 1.6m tall, but its near-three-metre-long wheelbase certainly delivers ample rear seat space. The battery is located under the floor but it’s still roomy, and the boot has a capacity of 535 litres. Maserati says the Grecale can accommodate 99th percentile human beings in the front and rear, pumping up that weight yet more. As does the panoramic roof.

What’s it up against?

Some heavy hitters. Porsche’s new Macan, for one, which we’ll drive very soon. Audi has just revealed its new Q6 e-tron, BMW’s iX continues to impress, plus there’s the Mercedes EQE SUV, the Kia EV9 if you need seven seats, and the Tesla Model X. Oh, and don’t forget Lotus’s impressive Eletre.

What's the verdict?

Suffused with enough of the old spirit to make a potent case for itself, even if we’d prefer something a little more extrovert

There are those who query Maserati’s relevance in 2024, and given that it’s a more combustion-centric brand than most, they might have a point. The Grecale Folgore is suffused with enough of the old spirit to make a potent case for itself, even if we’d prefer something a little more extrovert. It’s a classy alternative to the EV norm-core, well-made, and accomplished to drive. But it’s ambitiously priced and the Porsche Macan outwits it in most of the key metrics. Close, then, but no cigar.

The Rivals

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