First drive in the fully electric Maserati Grecale Folgore SUV

Now entering the fourth year of its 100% electric strategy, Italian luxury carmaker Maserati is set to launch its second BEV model: the Grecale Folgore SUV. I was invited to southern Italy to take the Grecale Folgore on the road (and off the road) to see if the famous automaker’s niche in power and luxury translates to the all-electric era.

Background information about an old Italian car manufacturer

Maserati SpA will celebrate its 110th anniversary in the automotive sector later this year and has remained true to its Italian roots throughout its existence. The “Trident” brand, founded in Bologna and currently headquartered in Modena, operates under the Stellantis umbrella.

Following the lead of its parent company, Maserati has made strong commitments to electrification (we’re happy to see it), especially as many of its Italian sports car competitors are making efforts in this regard. In 2020, Maserati shared a five-year strategy to transition to BEVs, developing and selling fully electric versions of each of its models.

Maserati called these variants ‘Folgore’, which is Italian for ‘lightning’, with a ‘rame’ (copper) badge embodying an essential material in BEV components. That initial strategy started with the announcement of two fully electric models: the GranTurismo Folgore and the Maserati Grecale Folgore.

The GranTurismo arrived first, launching in late 2022 before hitting the market in 2023. At the same time, Maserati began teasing its all-electric successor, the Grecale Folgore – a bespoke electric version of a combustion SUV that was initially launched as a 2023 model and has now found a large audience of female drivers (over 40%).

With the Grecale Folgore set to go on sale soon, Maserati invited the media to its native Italy to test the SUV first-hand. Here are my thoughts.

Electric Maserati Grecale Folgore Features and Specifications

As the first fully electric SUV, a lot depends on the success of the Grecale Folgore, but it should do relatively well. First, I want to share what I worked with during my travels around the Mediterranean in Italy.

I drove a dual-motor AWD in Folgore’s signature “Rame” paint, a glossy matte color that looks gray in darker light and then shines a brighter copper in the sun (see above). I loved all three exterior colors in the Italian sun, but preferred the Rame shade, especially with the copper accents in the SUV that you can see above and below.

Okay, let’s start with the specs before I share my thoughts. The Grecale Folgore is the first model to sit on top of Maserati’s fully electric Giorgio platform, consisting of 33 modules with lithium-ion cells. That translates to a whopping 105 kWh pack (97 kWh usable) weighing 1,500 pounds. This is by no means a light and agile EV, but Maserati wanted to deliver the power it has been praised for over the past century.

Two 205 kW electric drive motors deliver 820 Nm (~604 lb-ft) of torque and propel the SUV to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.1 seconds. It’s not exactly ‘Folgore’-fast on the surface, but it certainly gets the job done. More about that later.

Giorgio is a 400V platform, so charging options are unfortunately limited. The Grecale Folgore can reach a top DC charging power of 150 kW. That equates to a 20-80% charge in about 29 minutes (again, 400V platform). We connected it to an IONITY stack and achieved a whopping 122kW of power, which reflects the charger itself, not the BEV.

AC charging can reach 22 kW, almost double the rate of your average 400V EV, which is a big plus, especially when you consider that most owners will primarily be charging at home. Speaking of which, every all-electric Grecale Folgore comes with an AC cable and a Maserati-branded Level 2 charger – a big plus.

Now let’s go inside this copper-clad bad boy. Here are some pictures of the interior:

Luxury from the Maserati brand, with a modern twist

While the Grecale Folgore may not be the fastest all-electric SUV on today’s roads, it is still a Maserati, and the automaker has not skipped a single step to ensure its customers experience comfort, class and quality on every journey.

The cockpit exudes quality, starting with the unique ECONYL seats that feature a black/copper combination separated by an exquisite laser technology that you can view above. The texture is unique, comfortable and most importantly (for me) sustainable – using recycled materials such as plastic bottles and fishing nets for a second life. The design also allows for impressive ventilation plus heat and AC. You KNOW I love an air-conditioned seat. I kept that setting all day and loved it.

Maserati opted for a head-up display for the electric Grecale and opted for a crystal clear cluster screen close to the dashboard that was clearly visible while driving. The Grecale Folgore is also the first Maserati with a digital version of its signature clock in the center of the dashboard.

The center display was easy to navigate and didn’t require much tapping. Especially since you can adjust the regenerative braking and driving modes directly from the steering wheel, some customers may prefer more physical buttons, especially with the HVAC controls. Still, I dug them out and had no problems using them, even while driving.

The park/drive settings are physical buttons on the center display, which I wasn’t a fan of. Admittedly, I got behind the wheel to start the day and had to ask my ride partner how on earth I was going to line the thing up. I didn’t see them at first. I can’t talk to the navigation system because Maserati let us use Google Maps from a phone. Still, I’d probably go that route (at least literally and figuratively) because most infotainment cards suck.

The software was a bit buggy at times, lagging or giving a black screen for a second, but nothing major. Overall, real-time vehicle stats and diagnostics were excellent. From the center display you can monitor a lot of interesting data, including things like consumption, efficiency and regeneration functions. To look at:

I have more thoughts on the rain below. Finally, the interior of the electric Grecale was spacious. From the outside it’s a relatively small-looking SUV, but its 2,903mm wheelbase and completely flat Giorgio platform provide plenty of room for passengers and cargo. The back seat has sufficient legroom and the trunk is secretly large. Especially when you put the chairs down. No frunk though. Not a huge loss, but it would be nice to have that extra space for luggage, tools, or all the seafood I consumed during my visit (SO much fish).

After getting a feel for the all-electric Maserati Grecale Folgore (say that five times fast), I set out and tested it through the countryside and quaint towns of southern Italy; here are my thoughts.

Grecale Folgore is a decent start in electric Maseratis

The first impression behind the wheel of the Grecale Folgore is a feeling of comfort and tranquility. The laminate windows keep the outside world out, although some wind noise is audible at higher speeds, which is to be expected.

The four driving modes (Max Range, GT, Sport and Off-Road) were easy to switch, although I noticed little difference. The regenerative braking is available in four levels, from an ICE-style roll to a stiffer D setting. As I always say, I’m a big believer in one-pedal driving, and this SUV didn’t suit my preferences. Even the highest regeneration required sufficient braking.

Sport mode was most fun when we hit the open, windy roads along the Italian coast, away from speed traps, stiffening the suspension a bit with one polarizing feature: simulated engine noise. That’s right, Maserati, no stranger to boisterous engines, has added speakers inside and out of the Grecale Folgore to give it an audibly more powerful feel – most prominently in Sport mode.

Personally, I’m indifferent, since I usually use Blink-182 anyway, but I can understand why some people want the rev sounds and others don’t. Here’s the kicker, though: you can’t turn off the sound. Definitely keep the feature, but give customers the option to turn it off if they want.

In addition to the Sport mode, we also got the option to drive the Grecale Folgores off-road… which in my opinion was more like ‘off-the-road’. We trekked through large puddles and mud on a dirt road to demonstrate the SUV’s versatility at elevated altitudes. It’s a nice feature and good to have on unpaved terrain, but the suspension was still quite bumpy, so it felt a bit gimmicky to me. I wouldn’t really drive this EV off-road as it probably won’t handle it, it’s also just too nice to get all muddy.

While the all-electric Maserati Grecale’s acceleration is just average on paper, it can’t be overlooked, and it’s still a well-engineered craft for overtaking slow drivers or flying through hairpin bends. It didn’t feel as sporty as you might think when you think of the Trident brand, but its makers describe the SUV as a well-rounded, versatile EV, and I wouldn’t disagree.

Overall, the quality of the Grecale Folgore shines, especially in the interior. Personally, I’m indifferent to the exterior design and found it a bit boring from a side profile, but that copper paint is a winner here. The WLTP range of 426 km (264 miles) leaves something to be desired for the average consumer, but most of those customers probably won’t need more than just driving back and forth to work.

That heavy battery pack certainly plays a major role, but Maserati actually wanted to deliver full AWD power, but that is at the expense of efficiency. I would have liked to see a dynamic engine feature that automatically shuts off the front motor when needed to maximize range, but that’s easier said than done.

We don’t have official pricing for the electric Maserati Grecale Folgore yet, but I suspect it will start at an MSRP between $90,000 and $100,000. Considering the specs you get, it’s too rich for my blood, but most Maserati customers buy for the logo and luxury; After all, this is an SUV too. If you want speed, go for one of the electric coupes.

Overall, the Grecale Folgore is a step in the right direction for Maserati, but efficiency can be improved in future models to really maximize range and performance. However, they certainly have the look and feel. I was also quite impressed with the brand’s commitment to BEVs going forward. It’s refreshing to see a company rooted in noisy combustion sports cars touting the foresight to move with the times and adapt its ethos to that future.

I’m looking forward to the official debut of the GranCabrio Folgore next month, as well as some other surprises that may or may not come to light later this year. I plan to keep you updated on all of this as soon as possible, so be sure to check back with Electrek soon. See you at the next one.

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