First drive in the all-electric Maserati Grecale Folgore SUV

Italian luxury automaker Maserati is now entering its fourth year of its 100% electric strategy and sits on the precipice of launching its second BEV model – the Grecale Folgore SUV. I got invited to Southern Italy to take the Grecale Folgore to the road (and off the road) to see if the famed automaker’s niche for power and luxury translates to the all-electric age.

Background on a legacy Italian automaker

Maserati S.p.A is celebrating 110 years in automotive later this year, and during its run, it has stayed true to its Italian roots. Founded in Bologna and currently headquartered in Modena, the “Trident” brand operates under the Stellantis umbrella.

Following suit with its parent company, Maserati has made firm commitments to electrification (we love to see it), especially as many of its Italian sports car competitors drag their feet on the matter. In 2020, Maserati shared a five-year strategy to transition to BEVs, developing and selling all-electric versions of each one of its models.

Maserati called these variants “Folgore,” which is Italian for “lightning,” donning a “rame” (copper) badge that epitomizes a vital material in BEV components. That initial strategy began with the announcement of two all-electric models – the GranTurismo Folgore and the Maserati Grecale Folgore.

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

As the Grecale Folgore approaches the start of sales soon, Maserati invited media out to its native Italy to test out the SUV first-hand. Here are my thoughts.

Electric Maserati Grecale Folgore features and specs

As the first all-electric SUV, a lot is riding on the success of the Grecale Folgore, but it should fare relatively well. First, I want to share what I was working with in my travels around the Mediterranean in Italy.

I drove a dual-motor AWD in Folgore’s signature “Rame” paint, a shimmery matte that looks grey in darker lighting, then shines in a brighter copper in the sun (see above). I found all three exterior shades stunning in the Italian sun but was partial to the Rame tint, especially with the copper accents throughout the SUV you can see above and below.

Alright, let’s start with the specs before I share my thoughts. The Grecale Folgore is the first model to sit atop Maserati’s all-electric Giorgio platform, consisting of 33 modules housing lithium-ion cells. Those translate to a whopping 105 kWh pack (97 kWh usable) weighing 1,500 pounds. This is by no means a light and nimble EV, but Maserati aimed to deliver the power it has been celebrated for over the last century.

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

Giorgio is a 400V platform, so its charging capabilities are unfortunately limited. The Grecale Folgore can reach a top DC charge rate of 150 kW. That equates to a 20-80% charge in about 29 minutes (again, 400V platform). We plugged it in on an IONITY pile and got as high as 122 kW, 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 figure most owners will be charging primarily at home. Speaking of which, each all-electric Grecale Folgore comes with an AC cable and a Maserati-branded Level 2 charger included—a big perk.

Let’s move inside this copper-clad bad boy next. Here are some pics of the interior:

Maserati branded luxury, with a modern-day spin

While the Grecale Folgore may not be the fastest all-electric SUV on today’s roads, it’s still a Maserati, and the automaker skipped no steps in ensuring its customers experience comfort, class, and quality during every drive.

The cockpit screams quality, starting with the unique ECONYL seats that feature a black/copper combination separated by a superb lasering technique you can view above. The texture is unique, comfortable, and most importantly (to me) sustainable – utilizing recycled materials like 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 on the entire day and loved it.

Maserati opted away from a head-up display on the electric Grecale in favor of a crystal clear cluster screen flush in the dashboard that was easily visible while driving. The Grecale Folgore is also the first Maserati to feature a digital version of its signature clock in the center of the dash.

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

The park/drive settings are physical buttons in the center display, which I was not a fan of. I admittedly got in the driver’s seat to start the day and had to ask my ride partner how the hell to put the thing into drive. I didn’t see them at first. I can’t speak to the nav system because Maserati had us use Google Maps from a phone. Still, I’d probably go that route (literally and figuratively, anyway) because most infotainment maps suck.

The software was sometimes a little buggy, lagging or giving a black screen for a second, but nothing major. Overall, the vehicle stats and diagnostics were superb in real-time. You can monitor many interesting metrics from the center display, including things like consumption rate, efficiency, and the regen functions. Check it out:

I have more thoughts on the regen below. Lastly, the interior of the electric Grecale was roomy. It’s a relatively small-looking SUV from the outside, but its 2,903 mm wheelbase and completely flat Giorgio platform offer a lot of space for passengers and cargo. The backseat has ample legroom, and the trunk is sneaky big. Especially when you put the seats 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 was off, putting it through its paces around the countryside and quaint towns around 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 quietness. The laminate windows keep the outside world out, although some wind noise can be heard at higher speeds, which is to be expected.

The four drive modes (Max Range, GT, Sport, and Off-Road) were easy to switch through, although I noticed little differences. The regenerative braking is available in four levels, from an ICE-esque roll to a stiffer D- setting. As I always say, I’m a massive proponent of one-pedal driving, and this SUV did not suit my preferences. Even the highest regen required plenty of braking.

Sport mode was the most fun as we got out onto open, windy roads along the Italian coast, away from speed traps, stiffening the suspension a bit with a polarizing feature – simulated engine noises. That’s right, Maserati, no strangers to boisterous engines, added speakers inside and out of the Grecale Folgore to give it a more powerful feel audibly – the most prominent in Sport mode.

I’m personally indifferent since I’m usually blasting Blink-182 anyway, but I can see why some people would want the revving noises and some wouldn’t. Here’s the kicker, though: you can’t turn the sound off. Keep the feature for sure, but give customers the option to silence it if they want.

Aside from Sport Mode, we also got the opportunity to take 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 showcase the SUV’s versatility at a lifted height. It’s a nice feature and good to have for unpaved terrain, but the suspension was still pretty bumpy, so it felt a little gimmicky to me. I wouldn’t take this EV true off-roading because it probably couldn’t handle it, it’s also just too pretty to get all muddy.

While on paper, the acceleration of the all-electric Maserati Grecale is just average, its power can’t be looked over, and it’s still a well-designed vessel for overtaking slow drivers or whipping around hairpin turns. It didn’t feel as sporty of a ride as you’d imagine when you think of the Trident brand, but its makers describe the SUV as a well-rounded, versatile EV, and I won’t disagree.

Overall, the quality of the Grecale Folgore shines, especially in its interior. I’m personally indifferent to the exterior design and found it a little boring from a side profile, but that copper paint is a winner on this one. Its 426 km (264 miles) WLTP range leaves a bit to be desired for the average consumer, but most of those customers likely won’t need more than that driving to and from work.

That heavy battery pack certainly plays a significant role, but Maserati really wanted to deliver full AWD power, but that’s at the cost of efficiency. I would have liked to see a dynamic motor function that automatically turns off the front motor when appropriate 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’d surmise it starts 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 are buying for the logo and the luxury; this is also an SUV, after all. 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 efficiencies could be improved in future models to really max out range and performance. They’ve got the look and feel down for sure, though. I was also quite impressed at the brand’s dedication to BEVs in the future. It’s refreshing to see a company rooted in loud, combustion sports cars tout the foresight to get with the times and adapt its ethos to fit 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 be coming to light later this year. I plan to keep you in the loop on all that as soon as I can, so be sure to check back with Electrek soon. Catch you on the next one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=460Gs4RAysY

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