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We drove the Maserati Grecale Folgore — what we liked (and didn’t) about the EV

We get hands on with Maserati's electric SUV

Maserati Grecale Folgore
Dave McQuilling / The Manual

Maserati has unveiled its latest step towards electrification in the form of the Maserati Grecale Folgore — a BEV version of its mid-sized luxury SUV. The vehicle is all part of The Trident’s ambitious plan to provide an electric option in all of its vehicles by 2025, and fully electrify its lineup by 2030.

So at Maserati’s invitation, I ventured out into the heel of Italy’s boot to try out the Trident’s new electric SUV. The Italian EV got a workout on highways, narrow European city streets, and those windy coastal roads where the scenery is beautiful enough to sap away at your concentration.

The obvious comparison for the Grecale Folgore is the vehicle’s other trims, notably the high-performance Trofeo edition. However, it’s also a direct challenge to other European performance car manufacturers — like Porsche and BMW. So, without further ado, here’s everything I could gauge about the Maserati Grecale Trofeo’s looks, practicality, and performance in the short time I had with it.

Looks aren’t everything, but the Grecale Folgore looks good

Maserati Grecale Folgore in blue
Dave McQuilling / The Manual

Smaller and mid-sized SUVs are often pretty uninspiring when it comes to looks. Many of the vehicles look pretty much exactly the same, which can lead to confusion when you leave a mall and have to somehow find your red Kia EV6 lost in a sea of similar colored Dodge Hornets, Chevy Equinoxes, and Volkswagen ID.4s. Yes, there are differences when you look close enough, but it’s all a bit samey.

The Grecale doesn’t conform to this rule. It’s a similar size to plenty of other small to mid-sized electric SUVs but has a far more unique styling. In terms of appearance, it’s more like a plump, jacked-up sedan than a true crossover. Its sporty lines carry over to its front, which is incredibly unique looking in itself. Beyond its shape, there are also colors to consider. Maserati is doing a great job with metallic matte paint at the moment, though if you want something truly special, you’ll need to opt for one of the unique colors.

“Rame Folgore” is one. It looks browny-grey at first glance, but when the light catches it right, you get a wonderful copper sheen. The copper theme also carries over to the logos, bits of trim, and brake calipers—really celebrating the material that makes EVs work. There’s also a delightful, two-tone aquamarine blue that is exclusive to vehicles with the “Folgore” trim. Pick either, and your car will definitely stand out amongst the sea of samey modern SUVs.

Maserati’s interiors continue to impress

Maserati Folgore Interior
There’s nothing worse than parting with a large amount of cash for a luxury car and then finding yourself encapsulated in some cheap, plastic hell. Maserati can save you from this fate, and the company’s interiors are about as luxurious as they get.

The whole Grecale series is a bit of a pop at the Porsche Macan. I can’t, hand on heart, say that the Maserati’s interior is of finer quality than the Macan’s; Porsche does a superb job. But the styles are very different. Porsche’s interiors are very clean, very focused, and very German. Like an architect’s living room. Maserati, on the other hand, invites you to take a plush seat in a comfortable opera box. You can tone it down by picking a black interior, but add some red or cream, and you’re basically spending your commute in an Edwardian private member’s club. It’s absolutely marvelous.

Then there’s the space. Italian architects are fond of high ceilings, and Maserati is no exception. Expect plenty of clearance, even if you’re on the taller end of things, leg room in the back, a comfortable amount of space in the cabin, and a trunk large enough for some very practical use. Maserati claims this is all best in class, and we’re inclined to believe that.

Beyond the comfortable seats, all of which boast heating and cooling settings, there’s a very good infotainment system. The 12.3” central display and the 8.8” comfort display do a great job of relaying information about the vehicle, allowing you to navigate its many settings and providing several entertainment options. It also runs both Apple Car Play and Android Auto if that’s the system you prefer.

Any music you choose will be piped through a high-end sound system designed by the Italian company Sonos Faber. While high-end audio is expected at this price point, keeping the manufacturer within “the boot” is a nice touch—and the sound is superb. Up to 21 speakers are used to create a high-quality “3D-Audio” experience.

It’s not the performance model, but it can still pull

Maserati Grecale from the side
In terms of power, the Grecale Folgore puts out a very respectable performance. That performance comes courtesy of two 205 kW motors that can take the electric SUV from 0-60 MPH in a very respectable 4.1 seconds. Air suspension ensures a comfortable ride, even in “Sport” mode, and the car seems to have enough grip to comfortably cope with those windy Italian coastal roads at the very least.

Despite the fact that this time would smoke most sports cars a couple of decades ago, it does mean there are faster things on the road — including other Grecales. The Trofeo, that’s the trim with the Maserati-designed V6 up front, will hit the milestone half a second quicker than its electric sister.

Keeping things somewhat sensible may have robbed Maserati of a standout vehicle here. A third motor (which would require scaling down or swapping out one of its two current motors) may have provided the extra oomph required to put this ahead of the Trofeo trim in terms of performance. But that would drive up costs and reduce the vehicle’s currently decent range.

Instead, they’ve played it a little safe, which will make sense for the vast majority of people. EVs, as popular as they’ve become, are a niche. Performance EVs are a niche within that niche. A three-second 0-60 time is a neat party trick, but most EV owners probably wouldn’t trade 50 miles of range or hand over an extra $20,000 at a dealership just so they can subject their friends to a little extra G-Force.

If you have a deep love for Maserati, you may also miss the sound a little. The Italian manufacturer, which has long been known for its loud and unruly engines, has tried to replicate that feeling with an artificial noise that gets noticeably louder in “Sport” mode. Unfortunately, you can’t really replicate the roar of a vigorous V8 or a feisty V6. This isn’t a Maserati problem, it’s something all performance vehicle manufacturers are currently working on — and a trade-off all petrol heads will have to contend with when going electric.

Charging is a consideration

Maserati Folgore battery pack
Maserati currently estimates their EV will get 501 kilometers (311 miles) of range before it needs to charge up again. It’s worth noting that many factors go into this calculation, including how many people are in the car, its driving mode, the speed you’re traveling, the amount of braking that happens, and even things like air resistance. The EPA is currently doing its stuff and confirming the figures, but the Grecale Folgore would have to lose a lot of range to drop below the current industry average.

Given that the average fuel tank will take you around 250 miles when full, the overall distance that the Grecale can manage isn’t too much of a consideration — even for those with bad range anxiety. Instead, keeping it charged and recharging as quickly as possible is more of an issue.

I’ve often maintained that most people shouldn’t go for an EV unless they live in an area where charging is excessively simple or they have a charging station built into their garage. Maserati is happy to help you out with the latter and will ship a free Maserati-branded charging unit to you. The wall box can put out up to 22 kW of juice and charges the battery through load balancing. It can also be used to pre-warm or pre-cool the vehicle without using any charge. It is worth pointing out that Maserati just supplies the unit, and customers are responsible for installation. However, the inclusion of a home charger is still a significant saving.

The batteries also have a pre-conditioning setting, allowing you to cool and optimize them for use in a high-speed charging port. The vehicle itself is capable of 150KW DC fast charging and can go from 20-80% in as little as 29 minutes.

It’s still a little bit of Italy

Maserati trident logo
Although it’s talked about a lot and seems to be the common path for most companies, electrification is still a very bold step. What’s being offered in terms of performance and sustainability can just as easily be snatched away when it comes to soul and overall experience. With its Folgore version of the Grecale, Maserati is certainly taking a step in the right direction.

Despite the phrase “electric SUV” being a potential turnoff, I had a lot of fun in the Grecale. It may have been the beautiful Italian coastline I was driving down; it could have something to do with the 20 shots of espresso that were coursing through my system before 9 am, or it could have been down to the vehicle itself. Either way, it was a very pleasant time, and the car definitely contributed to that.

As is often the case these days, inside a Maserati is a very pleasant place to be. If you need a practical, spacious, mid-sized SUV with top-level comfort, then the Grecale is a fantastic choice. If you’d rather plug in than pump when it comes to replenishing your range, it now has a well-implemented electric option. There’s not much more to say, really.

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