2023 Maserati Grecale First Look: Strident for the Trident
Well, just look at the new luxury SUV a Northeasterly Italian wind blew in...
Maserati has been a brand searching for a mission for the better part of the last decade. Neither sporty nor luxurious enough to compete head-to-head with its German and Japanese rivals, Maserati was beginning to feel like the luxury brand the world forgot. Even internally, even, it felt like a forgotten pillar of the Stellantis neé Fiat Chrysler empire. Under the newly formed Stellantis (the multinational auto conglomerate born from FCA and PSA Group, not a prescription drug), Maserati has a new mission: become the automaker's true luxury arm. While the MC20 supercar is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, the new 2023 Maserati Grecale midsize luxury SUV is poised to be the real pivot point of the brand as it aims to both electrify and significantly increase its sales.
What's the Maserati Grecale (and What's a "Grecale")?
Named for a northeasterly wind that blows across the Italian peninsula, the Grecale is Maserati's new performance-luxury midsize crossover. Built on Stellantis' rear-drive Giorgio platform (currently found underpinning both the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Giulia), the Grecale, is poised to go head-to-head with the BMW X5s, Mercedes-Benz GLEs, and Porsche Cayennes of the world—especially the latter two, as Maserati Americas head Bill Pfeiffer called out rivals "from Stuttgart," during the Grecale's press preview event.
The 2023 Grecale's sheetmetal walks the fine line between performance and luxury. Its nose is imposing, with a large, low-slung grille and headlights inspired by the MC20's, the Grecale's sheetmetal flows cleanly down its long hood and into a short, squat, fastback-like roof profile reminiscent of the Jaguar F-Pace or original Infiniti FX. In back, the Grecale features "boomerang taillights" that Maserati says are inspired by the Giugiaro-penned 3200 GT coupe it sold around the turn of the millennium. The flowing sheetmetal does much to trick the eye into thinking the Grecale is a compact SUV, not a larger midsize.
Each of the Grecale's four trims—GT, Modena, Trofeo, and Folgore—will be further distinguished with unique bumpers, side skirts, trims, wheels, colors, and in some cases, wheel track.
The Powertrains Are Trim Levels and Vice-Versa
In order to be taken seriously against the segment heavy hitters, Maserati is launching the Grecale with three different powertrain options, with a fourth promised in the following year. Each powertrain will be paired with a dedicated trim level designed to encapsulate the essence of "Italian-ness" and the character of the powertrain.
The base model is set to be the Grecale GT, which Maserati says "embodies the brand's most urban, minimal, and contemporary spirit." That, uh, spirit, sports a new mild-hybrid electrically-supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4. Like similar systems, the Grecale uses the electrically-spun supercharger—run by either a Belt Starter Generator (BSG) or a 48-volt battery—to virtually eliminate turbo lag and provide more linear acceleration before the actual turbocharger takes over. (Why not use a belt-driven supercharger? Because by powering one electrically, there is no additional load placed on the engine, and the e-supercharger can be electronically controlled.) Maserati says the 2.0-liter mild-hybrid setup produces 296 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque and will be capable of hustling from 0-60 mph in a respectable 5.3 seconds.
One step up the ladder is the Grecale Modena, built for "those with an innate, timeless elegance, [and] for fans of sport in the great outdoors." The Grecale Modena sports a boosted version of the GT's mild-hybrid four-pot. Power rises to 325 horsepower, while torque stays flat. The hotted-up Grecale Modena is said to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds.
Designed with "an explicit focus on performance while never sacrificing comfort," is the Grecale Trofeo. The Grecale Trofeo eschews the GT and Modena's mild-hybrid four-cylinders in favor of a new MC20-inspired 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6. Featuring a unique (for a six-cylinder) 90-degree V-angle, and both port- and direct-injection, Maserati's take on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio puts out a healthy 523 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque. The engine's performance potential is backed up by Brembo brakes at all four corners, a standard air suspension, and a unique Corsa drive mode. Maserati says the 2023 Grecale Trofeo can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, 0-120 mph in 12.5 seconds, and carry on to a top speed of 177 mph.
Lesser Grecales feature steel springs with electrically-adjustable dampers (though air springs are available on the Modena), front Brembos (four-piston, versus the Trofeo's six-), and five drive modes: Comfort (the default setting), GT, Sport, Race, and Off-Road.
All internal combustion Grecales sport an eight-speed automatic, and standard all-wheel drive.
The Electric Grecale Folgore
The fourth Grecale doesn't have an engine at all. Hitting the market in late 2023, the 2024 Grecale Folgore ("Thunderbolt" in Italian, and a future signifier of Maserati EVs) will be the automaker's second electric vehicle, and the final piece of the Grecale puzzle.
Details are slim at this point, but the automaker says it'll have a 105-kWh battery pack using 400-volt technology, which means it should offer Level 3 peak charge rates of around 150 kW. (That's somewhat behind some of the luxury EV Joneses—Porsche has an 800-volt charging architecture, for example.) Maserati promises the Grecale Folgore will have up to 590 lb-ft of torque, leading us to believe that it could be offered with multiple motor options.
Maserati hasn't released fuel economy or electric range yet, but it promises the mild-hybrids will offer up subcompact SUV-like fuel economy in spite of their two-sizes-bigger footprints.
Inside the Grecale
The Grecale's cabin is refreshingly modern compared to Maserati's most recent efforts. The focal point is undoubtedly its center stack. Featuring no fewer than three screens, the remarkably clean-looking arrangement features a central 12.3-inch infotainment screen running a modified Android operating system and a lower 8.8-inch touch screen for HVAC and other comfort features (similar to Audi's latest display designs); a push-button transmission selector splitting the two screens; and up top, a smart watch-like clock with multiple analog and digital faces, as well as a G-meter.
The few controls that haven't been digitized have migrated to the Grecale's steering wheel. The ovoid-shaped wheel is flanked by meaty aluminum shift paddles and includes buttons for the infotainment and advanced driver assist system controls, a large engine start button, and a combination drive mode selector/suspension adjuster.
All Grecales feature another 12.3-inch display serving as a digital instrument cluster, and a fifth screen on the back of the center console for rear-seat passengers. The automaker says it uses a soft, diffused light for its displays, giving them a "living room effect." Should you need another screen, a head up display is optional and turns the lower, driver's side area of the windshield into another information portal.
Moving the shifter to the center stack and controls to the steering wheel allowed Maserati to free up center console space, which it used to give the Grecale a wireless phone charger, a large covered storage cubby, cupholders, and a center console. Maserati also promises segment-best space and comfort; we had the chance to spend a little time sitting in a pre-production Grecale and it felt roomier and more upscale than Maserati's full-size Levante SUV.
Each trim has its own unique interior trim scheme, but all come standard with a Sonus Faber audio system.
How Much Does a Grecale Cost and When Can I Have One?
Those hoping for a bargain Maserati shouldn't hold their breath. The Grecale GT will start at $64,995, which is more than base-model offerings from Audi, Alfa Romeo, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, but slightly less than an entry-level Porsche Cayenne.
Maserati hasn't broken down pricing for the rest of the Grecale lineup yet, but it has announced it'll sell a reservation-only Grecale Modena Limited Edition. Featuring 21-inch wheels, an air suspension, panoramic roof, and choice of five colors, this limited-run Grecale Modena stickers for $78,895. Maserati will begin accepting $500 refundable reservations for the Grecale Limited Edition on March 22.
While the jury's out on whether the Grecale will prove to be the pivot point towards Maserati's aims of increasing sales and electrification, we won't have to wait long to find out—the first Grecale GTs, Modenas, and Trofeos will hit Maserati dealers this fall, with the Grecale Folgore following in the Fall of 2023.
|2023 Maserati Grecale Specifications|
|LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||2.0L/296-325-hp/332-lb-ft electrically- supercharged and turbo direct-injected DOHC I-4; 3.0-liter/523-hp/457-lb-ft twin-turbo port- and direct-injected DOHC V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,450-4,750 lb (mfr)|
|L x W x H||190.8-191.3 x 76.7-77.9 x 65.3-65.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.6-5.3 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||Not yet rated|
|EPA RANGE (COMB)||Not yet rated|
|ON SALE||Fall 2022|