The top version pictured here is called the Trofeo. It’s blasted along by a version of Maserati’s own V6 engine, the Nettuno, which first appeared in the delicious MC20. But here it’s detuned to a ‘mere’ 530hp. Maserati says it does 0-100 in 3.7sec.
The other gasoline versions get a 2.0-liter that’s adapted from the Alfa Romeo four-cylinder turbo. Maserati has added a second blower, an electrically powered compressor for lag-free pickup at low revs. That comes in two versions, 300hp and 330hp. The compressor runs at 48V, and that circuit is also used to power a mild hybrid system using a motor/generator belt-driven from the engine. It keeps the CO2 emissions below 200g/km.
All versions are four-wheel-drive for the moment, and most have air suspension.
In early 2024, there will be a fully-electric Grecale, badged Folgore—Italian for ‘lightning’—ready to face off against the electric Macan. No more details about performance on that one. But remarkably, Maserati has squeezed a 105kWh battery into a platform originally designed for combustion only, so we should be talking of a very decent electric range. If not the very fastest charging because it runs at 400V, not 800V.
The Grecale uses Alfa Romeo’s ‘Giorgio’ platform, which makes us optimistic for ride and handling as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is good at both. Especially handling. The Grecale will be built at the same factory as the Alfas, too. But the wheelbase is longer in the Maserati—over 2.09 meters—so space will be increased, and of course there’s more room under the floor for that massive battery in the Folgore.
In the cabin, a new connected infotainment system is based on the Android Auto OS. Count the screens. Apart from upper (infotainment) and lower (climate) touchscreens, there’s the main instrument screen and, optionally, a heads-up display. Even the little dash clock can face-swap to become a g-meter. But it all sits among Maserati’s usual plush leather, with some pretty sudden color options and contrast stitching. The optional sound system is a 1,200-watt 25-speaker job.
Underneath, air suspension is optional, which will be useful to owners who take the ‘utility’ part of SUV literally. It can self-level, and rise up for rough terrain. The V6, called Trofeo, has complex torque vectoring. There’s a new in-house electronic dynamics control system that controls—predictively, in some cases—all the powertrain, braking, diff, damping, air suspension, and other actuators around the car.
You can read of the effects in our prototype drive here—tl;dr, it was fun, a car that felt smaller than it is, with a feeling of rear-drive playfulness as we ramped up the mode dial. We only had the 300hp four-cylinder, but concluded, “this is a characterful engine and it works just fine in this installation.”
We ended up driving the prototype because this full launch has been delayed by about six months, which will have lost Maserati a lot of business. Blame a combination of the chip shortage, and things not being quite ready, anyway.
Maserati thinks the Grecale will be its biggest-selling car. Not a great challenge, as the Levante SUV was supposed to challenge the Germans, but never did the business. Although to be fair, it has had a ‘long tail’ and managed to have a pretty good year in 2021. Maybe the MC20 really is having a halo effect.
In Maserati tradition, Grecale is the name of a wind—in this case, a cold northeasterly one that hits Malta and the western Mediterranean. We knew you’d be asking.
More photos of the Maserati Grecale:
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.
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