Maserati is gearing up for hopefully a better year in the House of Stellantis with the Grecale CUV and an all-new Grand Turismo that includes the first battery-electric vehicle to come from the Italian premium brand.
The Grecale is a vital product for the storied brand as its entry-level model enters a segment that has become vital for every automaker — compact CUV/SUV — whether the brand is playing in the mass market or the premium/luxury neighborhoods.
Built on the Giorgio platform, which it shares with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the Grecale has considerable price creep depending on the version selected. The base GT model is $64,995. The Modena model starts at $74,395. The range-topping Trofeo starts at $103,995. You can easily add the price of a whole new Jeep Cherokee by ticking enough boxes.
The Grecale’s standard engine is a 2.0L turbocharged inline 4-cyl. with multiple driving modes: Comfort, GT, Sport, Race and Off-Road.
“Grecale launches a new segment for the iconic Maserati brand, and further legitimizes Maserati as a purveyor of luxury performance SUVs,” says Bill Peffer, CEO of Maserati Americas.
“Like our flagship Levante SUV, Grecale will strategically broaden our presence in North America by appealing to a wider group of discerning customers through its performance with the Trofeo version’s MC20-derived Nettuno V-6 engine, its bold lines, timeless design and numerous best-in-class features,” Peffer says.
GT and Modena trims are powered by 4-cyl. mild-hybrid engines, delivering 296 hp (GT) and 325 hp (Modena). The flagship Trofeo is powered by a high-performance 523-hp V-6, derived from the MC20 Nettuno engine. All are AWD, mated to an 8-speed transmission, and feature three suspension and rear differential variants.
The interior of the Grecale is premium and unique to Maserati, so it doesn’t suggest the sharing of a lot of bits, binnacles and switchgear with Alfa or Jeep.
Standard Grecale tech includes a 12.3-in. (31.2-cm) instrument cluster; 12.3-in. and 8.8-in. (22.4-cm) touchscreens; configurable head-up display; premium 14-speaker Sonus Faber audio; digital clockface that operates like a concierge and is integrated with the Maserati Intelligent Assistant (MIA) and Maserati Connect; Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and SiriusXM compatibility; and Maserati's first wearable key.
Maserati has been managed alongside Alfa Romeo since 2005 when it was spun out of Ferrari. Going forward, Stellantis is trying to make both boutique brands profitable luxury-premium businesses without the volumes getting anywhere near BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus and Infiniti. It has proved virtually impossible for a French or Italian brand to get close to the volumes of the German and Asian premium/luxury brands in the U.S.
Electrifying the Brand
The new GT comes with a V-6, but there is a BEV version sitting in the same showrooms. Maserati CEO Davide Grasso said last year the company plans to have a BEV version of each model it sells by 2025, with a phase-out of all its internal-combustion versions by 2030. All of Maserati’s BEVs will wear the Folgore name, which means “lightning” in Italian.
The new coupé is equipped with the V-6 Nettuno engine, available in two versions: the Modena, with the 490-hp 3.0L V-6 Nettuno Twin Turbo; the high-performance Trofeo version, based on the same engine, but upgraded to a maximum power of 550 hp.
The GranTurismo Folgore employs a battery-electric powertrain. The Folgore system is based on 800V technology, developed with technical solutions derived from Formula E, the company says, including three powerful 300-kW permanent-magnet motors.The battery has a nominal capacity of 92.5 kWh and a discharge capacity of 560 kW, to continuously transmit around 760 hp to the wheels. The setup and layout of the battery results in vehicle height limited to 53 ins. (1,346 mm) , without compromising its sporty nature.
The shape of the battery pack, known as a “T-bone,” forms part of Maserati’s “zero compromise” approach and avoids placing the battery modules under the seats, mainly moving them around the central tunnel and therefore considerably lowering the car’s H-point.
Maserati suffers from a lack of consumer awareness and an unclear brand identity in the U.S. Still, Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer said last fall that Maserati is an “interesting” asset that could “stand on its own” one day when asked about a potential spinoff following the initial public offering of Porsche in 2022.
In 2022, the brand did less than €1 billion in total revenue. That is a pretty small drop in the bucket globally for a standalone automaker, even if it would be riding into the future on Stellantis hardware.
Let’s see 10 years of successful product launches, sales gains, profitability and a complete transition to BEVs before Maserati contemplates issuing its own shares.