If Grecale sounds Greek to you, you are right, and if the new SUV from Maserati is designed to blow you away, Grecale is indeed a matching name. Before it was the name of Modena’s new SUV, Grecale was a Mediterranean wind rising from somewhere to the south of Malta.
Naming a car after a wind is just an extension of an automotive tradition. Volkswagen and Maserati have followed it and Rimac has followed suit. Scirocco is a Mediterranean wind; Passat and Jetta also refer to winds. Levante is the ‘east wind’ and Ghibli is a very hot car named after a very hot wind. Likewise, Lamborghini and Rimac evoked a storm to name their latest cars Huracan and Nevera respectively!
Grecale is the new SUV from Maserati falling behind the Levante but it really doesn’t look like it deserves the description compact luxury crossover. Grecale is just half a foot shorter than the Levante and twelve centimetres longer than the Macan, which is Porsche’s entry in the same segment.
History seems to influence and inform the Grecale. Maserati’s new visual symbol since the MC20 adorns the Grecale’s low and imposing grille too – the very fluid body takes a meandering, visual journey rearwards, with its technical components highlighted by the use of carbon fibre. The boomerang taillights in the rear are inspired by the Giugiaro 3200 GT.
The Grecale blows like a breeze and raises a storm with its two engine options in three output levels. A 2.0 L four cylinder turbo, which is a mild hybrid combination, produces 300 PS (296 hp) in its GT variant and unlocks its full potential of 330 PS (325 hp) and 450 Nm in the Modena version – this latter engine is what I test drove. There is an athletic Trofeo version with 530 hp and 620 torque available in the 3300 – 5500 rpm range. This is driven by a 3.0L V6 engine based on Maserati’s supercar category Nettuno power pod.
The Grecale is powerful and quick. The acceleration on the Trofeo is 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 285 km/h. The Modena does it in 5.3 seconds as per the books. There is an SUV-like body roll, but the handling is alive. In the overall scheme of things, one tends to ignore the turbo lag. All versions are AWD and mated to a ZF 8-speed Gen2 transmission.
A fourth futuristic version is on its way: Soon, the Grecale Folgore will be the first full-electric SUV in Maserati history with a 400V technology. Folgore means thunderbolt.
Grecale offers 3 drive modes apart from a capable off-road mode. The drive modes are Comfort, GT and Sport in the GT and Modena variants with a track-oriented drive mode called Corsa in the Trofeo trim, which quickens the gearshifts and enhances pedal response. The launch control helps unleash the power from a standing start.
On the Maserati website, the various parameters that form the dynamics have been diagrammatically marked in their varying intensity, as per the driving mode. They are responsiveness, stiffness, efficiency, electronic controls and acceleration.
Additional handling skills and ride comfort
The Trofeo trim comes with an electronic Limited Slip Differential for stable handling. Air suspensions are standard in the Trofeo and optional in the rest. They offer six levels of height to suit each mode. New 100% Maserati Vehicle Dynamic Control Module (VDCM) system for vertical, lateral and longitudinal control is designed to maximise traction and offer 360° control.
Space and size
How the Grecale scores over its rivals are decided by its dimensions. In the GT version, Grecale is 4,846 mm long with a wheelbase of 2,901 mm, a height of 1,670 mm, a width of 2,163 mm (including wing mirrors), with a rear wheel track of 1,948 mm (which is even greater in the Trofeo).
In comparison, Audi Q5 is 4682 mm and Q8 is 4982mm. Porsche Macan is 4726 mm and Cayenne is 4919 mm. (The Grecale beats the Q5 by 16 cm and the Macan by12 cm!)
The dimensions are uncannily close to a midsize SUV. And nowhere is this evident as in the boot which can take 566 L of cargo. The rear seat offers plenty of legroom but slight compromise might be necessary for very tall passengers and those sitting in the rear mid-seat, where the AC vent is.
Cabin and comfort
So, what marks a Maserati – performance or design? I’m almost giving into the temptation to choose design as the winner, especially when I take another look at the new world that unfolds within the Grecale. It gets you excited even before you start driving!
The classy interiors are now modern too and has a 3-screen format – two of them placed in an angular format, one almost an extension of the other. These screens control almost everything by touch or by voice; so the console and dash are freed up of buttons, giving the leather, the wood and the carbon fibre (the natural materials as Maserati points out) enough space to leave an impression. The top screen is 12.3 inches and the one below is 8.8”. The 12.3” driver info screen allows you to pick your display gauges. It shows the speedometer as just a cleanly calibrated digital space, in which numbers appear only as the vehicle grows in speed. There is yet another screen to set comfort features in the rear.
The famous analogue watch is now digital and there is more to it. This icon has now assumed the function of being the in-car concierge that responds to voice commands in a display of waves. The voice commands are still not 100% consistent but electronics is where most cars, regardless of their origin, are struggling with.
The flat console now has plenty of free space thanks to the comprehensive digital interface. This translates to two large cupholders, a storage area with butterfly lids and a wireless charging dock in the shadow of the lower digital deck.
Something very welcome in this cabin is the new Sonus Faber 3D sound system. Sound dynamics exclusive to the land of the opera. I love its name whch translates to something like ‘sound-smith’. They come with a choice of 14 at premium and 21 speakers at high premium. Yet another sound-related innovation is the new sonic alerts exclusively created by Maserati. These customised ‘chimes’ have been created with Italian composer Dardust – now, warnings and alerts will be musical interventions!
A striking change in the gear selection is the introduction of an array of buttons above the comfort display on the lower console screen, which need to be selected with a degree of deliberateness. The Maserati Intelligent Assistant (MIA) Multimedia system & Maserati Connect offer voice-led assistance in the cabin.
The essential Maserati Grecale
The Grecale is truly a Maserati in the way it charms by design and convincingly innovative in the luxury segment with the design and function of the screens, the introduction of an exclusive music partner and musical chime.The deliciously tactile luxury and the ambience in the cabin along with the advantage of spaciousness gives it an edge over rivals.
Starting at AED 299,000 for the GT, AED 369,000 for Modena and AED 449,000 for the Trofeo. Grecale comes with. 3-year unlimited warranty and a service contract up to 45,000 km.