Culture / Cars

Maserati’s New SUV Sets Itself Apart From Its Competitors — The Grecale Blows In With Roaring Bravado and High-Tech Perks

The Italian Trident Breathes New Life Into a Saturated Market

BY // 04.14.23

As sinuous to drive as it is sleek to behold, the Maserati Grecale sets a new benchmark in the crowded performance-luxury midsize crossover market, besting offerings from many of its main German competitors.

The Grecale is named for the northeasterly wind that blows across the Italian peninsula. Maserati has named its cars after winds since 1963 when it introduced the Mistral, followed by the Ghibli, Bora, Khamsin and Levante. Now, the Grecale straddles that fine line between snappy and sweet thanks to a performance-oriented, rear-drive Giorgio platform that underpins its Alfa Romeo Stelvio cousin. Maserati’s second SUV to bear the iconic trident logo and signature side portholes, the Grecale furthers the Italian automaker’s pursuit of broadening its lineup while simultaneously redefining the luxury arm of the carmaker’s parent company Stellantis.

Slotted just beneath the larger Levante, the Grecale’s face, like the new MC20 supercar, features that distinctive vertically ribbed grille. But the rest of its bulbous body is decidedly, for lack of a better word, friendly. And that’s not a bad thing. As with the aforementioned MC20, not to mention the newly-redesigned GranTurismo coupe, the Grecale’s sheetmetal flows cleanly down its large, low-slung hood into a squat, fastback-like profile. In back, “boomerang taillights” inspired by the Giugiaro 3200 GT sold around the turn of the millennium integrate seamlessly down to the newly-designed quad exhausts that visually announce the roaring Maserati bravado.

The Grecale’s sheetmetal flows cleanly down its large, low-slung hood into a squat, fastback-like profile. (Courtesy Maserati)
The Grecale’s sheetmetal flows cleanly down its large, low-slung hood into a squat, fastback-like profile. (Courtesy Maserati)

Unlike its brethren Stelvio, the Grecale gets a longer body, more refined interior and exclusive powertrains. The Grecale comes standard with all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission and a combination 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 mild hybrid system good for 296 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque in GT guise. A 325 horsepower, 332-lb-ft of torque version of that engine comes standard on the Modena trim, which is what we tested (and recommend), good for a 0 to 60 mph time of only five seconds.

Both GT and Modena trims reach a top speed of 149 mph. A top-of-the-line Trofeo version, meanwhile, offers maximum performance with a 523 horsepower twin-turbo V6. An all-electric Grecale Folgore (“thunderbolt” in Italian, and a future signifier of Maserati EVs) will join the lineup late this year.

If your neighborhood roads permit, we recommend sizing up to the 21-inch Crio staggered wheels that lend significantly more panache. On the Modena trim, they perfectly complement the sport exhaust and slightly wider track stance shared with the Trofeo, giving the Grecale a formidable presence from that all-important rear three-quarter angle.

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On the Modena trim, optional 21-inch wheels perfectly complement the sport exhaust and slightly wider track shared with the Trofeo, giving the Grecale a formidable presence from the rear three-quarter angle. (Courtesy Maserati)
On the Modena trim, optional 21-inch wheels perfectly complement the sport exhaust and slightly wider track shared with the Trofeo, giving the Grecale a formidable presence from the rear three-quarter angle. (Courtesy Maserati)

In both city driving and at highway speeds, the Grecale felt sure footed and nimble from the get-go with ample mid-range torque, fabulous acceleration and very respectable steering feedback. Some minor turbo lag was noticeable, but negligible. The Grecale’s ovoid-shaped steering wheel features beefy aluminum shift paddles and oozes that quintessential Italian forza.

Simply press the left button to fire the Grecale to life and the right button to dial in the best-case Sport mode. Trust us.

If you must — we are talking about a Maserati, after all — fuel economy estimates from the EPA show the turbo four models with the most efficient ratings: 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.

Living with the Grecale is like wearing a made-to-measure Zegna suit. It’s athletic yet understand exterior belies a discreetly tailored interior — one that hits a home run with its plethora of high-tech flourishes.

The Grecale's elegant interior is dominated by a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and pair of beautiful digital displays on the center stack that control the infotainment and HVAC. Maserati says it uses a soft, diffused light for its displays, giving them a “living room effect.” (Courtesy Maserati)
The Grecale’s elegant interior is dominated by a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and pair of beautiful digital displays on the center stack that control the infotainment and HVAC. Maserati says it uses a soft, diffused light for its displays, giving them a “living room effect.” (Courtesy Maserati)

Alongside generous amounts of carbon fiber and swaths of gorgeous leather, its elegant interior is dominated by a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and pair of stimulating digital displays on the center stack that control the infotainment and HVAC. Maserati says it uses a soft, diffused light for its displays, giving them a “living room effect.” A handsome digital version of the Maserati trident turns into a clock offering multiple analog and digital faces — as well as a G-meter and the convenience of a digital concierge — sits prominently on top.

Unlike many of its competitors, the Grecale’s console doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Plenty of attention was paid to its remarkably clean integration. How refreshing.

As a unique design cue, Maserati morphed and moved the shifter to a series of piano black buttons on the center stack, freeing up space to accommodate a wireless phone charger, a large covered storage cubby, and cupholders for a more minimalistic console. Maserati promises segment-best space, but there is definitely a slight learning curve to be had with the drivetrain controls.

Our Grecale featured the upgraded 21-speaker, 1,285-watt sound system designed exclusively for Maserati by fellow Italian artisan brand Sonus Faber complete with laser-cut metal grilles that is every audiophile’s dream come true. Every Grecale comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Wi-Fi hotspot is also available. The Grecale’s infotainment also works with voice-command services like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

A handsome digital version of the Maserati trident that turns into a clock offering multiple analog and digital faces, as well as a G-meter and digital concierge, sits prominently on top. (Courtesy Maserati)
A handsome digital version of the Maserati trident that turns into a clock offering multiple analog and digital faces, as well as a G-meter and digital concierge, sits prominently on top. (Courtesy Maserati)

Behind the spacious second row, the Grecale’s cargo area offers up to 20 cubic feet of space, along with a flat load floor behind the power-folding rear seats with an extra storage compartment underneath.

All in all, the next decade is looking up for Maserati. It now has the MC220 supercar and a soon-to-arrive GrandTurismo coupe in gas and electric forms. A GranCabrio convertible debuts soon, as does a new Levante SUV and new Quattroporte flagship.

Simply put, there is a lot to love in the new Grecale. Revered for its exhaust note and seductive design flare, Maserati has long tugged on the heartstrings of auto enthusiasts the world over. Now it finally boasts the first-class interior and commanding powertrains to justify its premium prices.

Pricing starts at $64,995 for the Grecale GT and $74,395 for the Grecale Modena.

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