After months of releasing preview images and several delays, Maserati has introduced the Grecale, its long-awaited entry-level SUV. The sub-Levante model is aimed directly at the Porsche Macan, and it will likely become the firm’s best-selling nameplate in the coming years.
The latest addition to the Maserati range stretches 191 inches long and 66 inches tall, dimensions that make it about six inches shorter and nearly the same height as the Levante. Visually, it illustrates what Maserati design boss Klaus Busse meant when he told us that future Maserati models would borrow styling cues from the MC20: its front end is defined by a wide grille positioned below a pair of elongated headlights. Viewed from the side, the Grecale leans more toward sportiness than utility, while the back end wears horizontal lights connected by a strip of bright trim. Vents chiseled into the fenders and trident-shaped logos on the C-pillars link the SUV to the rest of the Maserati range. It’s a design that works, in our opinion: The Grecale is recognizable as a Maserati but not a copy of an existing model.
Busse told us that the idea wasn’t merely to Xerox the MC20‘s front end onto the body of an SUV.
“The design philosophy that I laid out in the beginning was actually done before we designed [the MC20 and the Grecale]. We really had to sit down and get our ahead around what we want to do with the next chapter of the brand. The reality is that 70% of the design process is understanding the message that you want to create, and the car then designs itself and the remaining 30% is just putting it on paper. We didn’t want to design the car purely for Instagram; end up with a car loaded with real or fake features, lines, and creases. We’re very much about purity. Maserati is a very strong performing car, so it doesn’t need to shout, “Hey, look at me!” Quite the opposite; it wants to be a rolling structure, a car that adds almost visual value to its environment. That’s the overreaching philosophy,” Busse told Autoblog.
Inside, Maserati integrated a relatively long list of tech features without making the dashboard look like the automotive equivalent of an iPhone. The driver faces up to four screens: a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch touchscreen for the Maserati Intelligent Assistant (MIA) digital instrument cluster, an 8.8-inch touchscreen positioned right below, and a digital clock — yes, that seemingly counts as a screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard, and the list of options includes a 21-speaker Sonus sound system.
How the Grecale’s cabin is configured depends on the trim level selected. Buyers have several leather upholsteries and trim materials to choose from, including wood and carbon fiber. We’re guessing that the Fuoriserie program will provide additional customization options.
“It was time to up the game with our interior designs, but also with fit and finish and with technology,” Busse said. “Screens were never something that we were known for. And, to be honest, I don’t think that we want to be known for screens. Is the industry at peak screen? But, at the end of the day, we also want to reduce the amount of clutter in the car, so the result is what you see here,” he added.
At launch, the Grecale lineup will include three models called GT, Modena, and Trofeo, respectively. The first two trim levels are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine turbocharged to 296 and 325 horsepower, respectively. It develops 332 pound-feet of torque regardless of horsepower. Linked to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, the turbo-four spins the four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Enthusiasts will undoubtedly be more interested in the range-topping Trofeo. Instead of a four-cylinder engine, the flagship Grecale gains a version of the twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 called Nettuno and borrowed from the MC20 supercar. The six develops 523 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque in this application, and it also sends its power to the four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Brembo brakes help keep the extra power in check, and it sounds like they’re needed: Maserati pegs the Trofeo’s zero-to-60-mph time at 3.6 seconds and its top speed at 177 mph. An air suspension system comes standard on the Trofeo; it’s optional on the GT and on the Modena.
Pricing for the 2023 Maserati Grecale GT starts at $64,995 including a mandatory $1,495 destination charge, while the Modena Limited Edition (which is only available online and for a short time) carries a base price of $78,895. There’s no word yet on how much the Trofeo will cost.
Deliveries are scheduled to start in the fall 2022. Looking ahead, the Grecale range will grow with the addition of an electric model (shown in the gallery) that will wear the Folgore nameplate and that’s scheduled to reach showrooms before the end of 2023.
What’s in a name?
Historically, Maserati has named many of its cars after winds, and the Grecale is no exception. It borrows its name from a north-easterly Mediterranean wind that’s primarily felt on islands like Malta. Levante, Ghibli, Mistral, Bora, and Khamsin are wind names as well.