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New Maserati GranCabrio Folgore 2024 review: electric open-top cruising at its best

Believe it or not a 750bhp electric powertrain feels a perfect fit for the Maserati GranCabrio, creating a truly unique experience for the wealthy few

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Verdict

Maserati has come out with a unique and highly desirable proposition by packing its relaxed four-seat GranCabrio with an all-electric powertrain. This unique combination really does create a brilliant open-top cruiser, with plenty of performance and impressive refinement. The figures are big – this is a heavy and expensive car – but the GranCabrio Folgore fulfils its brief as a serene grand tourer. Just don’t go expecting it to be a sports car

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The all-new Maserati GranCabrio Folgore is part of an open-top duo of petrol and electric cars joining the elegant GranTurismo coupe in the range. This is a traditional open-top four-seater, with two true rear seats that are capable of seating most adults, although headroom under the folding roof is a little more limited than the amazingly capacious coupe.

Sat glinting in the Italian sunshine, our ‘rose gold’ example looks about as sophisticated as cars get – somehow more elegant and exotic than a Bentley or Rolls-Royce – and, by an order of magnitude, more special than anything with a German badge on the nose. 

In reality it doesn’t rival any of these cars, though, due to Maserati’s decision to fit this otherwise traditional luxury car with a cutting edge, triple-motor electric powertrain. Despite a long heritage of snarling V8s, this new, more serene powertrain feels as natural to the package as Parmesan cheese on a bowl of pasta. 

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The specs are pretty impressive, too, with maximum outputs of 750bhp and 1,350Nm of torque produced via the three motors drawing from a 92.5kWh (gross) battery pack. Each motor is actually capable of 394bhp creating a slightly mad 1,182bhp total, but it’s the battery which is the limiting factor here. The price? A hefty £185,610.

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Performance is still beyond what is strictly necessary for anything with four wheels though, reaching 62mph in 2.8 seconds and 124mph in 9.1 seconds. Top speed is a touch under 180mph. In reality it doesn’t often feel this fast, as those figures are only able to be achieved in the full-fat ‘Corsa’ mode. But when you wish for it, this car’s turn of speed can be quite something, and makes big speeds feel easy to achieve. 

Range isn’t too bad considering the pace on offer, with a theoretical maximum of around 275 miles. It’ll charge 10-80 per cent in around 18 minutes thanks to a peak 270kW rate. 

If you’re wanting to use this for a long journey, there is perhaps another limiting factor, and that’s the relatively tiny 151-litre boot space. If you wish to stow the roof, this will actually drop to just 117 litres, but as unsophisticated as it might seem, if you’re only two up, the rear seats will hold a number of soft bags. 

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On the scales, the Folgore’s 2,340kg weight figure is a big number, but it’s worth remembering the latest plug-in hybrid Bentley Continental GTC is now a 2,636kg car, making the all-electric Maserati seem like a comparative superlight – or superleggera if you will. 

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So while the agility and lightness of touch that defines the petrol-powered coupe is missing, in its place is an even more resolved take on its GT credentials. This starts with the ride quality. All Folgore models run on the same air-suspension system as the ICE cars, and with that are a set of adaptive dampers and variable ride height, giving the ride quality a very wide operating window. 

When in GT or Comfort mode, the ride is incredibly plush and well controlled. There’s none of the lateral wobble that can sometimes resonate in these systems, and there seems to be lots of travel that’s able to contain and control the car’s vast weight without much effort. The EV-specific high-performance Michelin tyres play their own part, too, with a rounder shoulder and more stiffness to the tyre structure giving it a touch more pliancy over sharper bumps and intrusions. 

Switch through to Sport and Corsa modes and there is an appreciable improvement in roll support as the body hunkers down on its air springs. As speeds rise, you can feel the suspension working harder to control and contain the body’s overall mass, but it never deteriorates to feeling uncomfortable – although aggressive undulations can catch out the nose or underbody when the suspension is on its lowest setting. Being a modern Maserati, you can also disconnect the dampers from the rest of the drive modes through a switch on the steering wheel, giving you access to maximum power with a more compliant ride. 

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The really impressive part, though, is that regardless of which setting you’re in there’s always a sense of stiffness from the structure, which is very impressive considering the big, open four-seater cabin layout. The steering is a touch heavier than in the petrol cars, which is no bad thing, and thanks to the clever T-shaped battery pack, it feels as if you’re sitting amongst the weight of the car, rather than on top of it.

There’s no ignoring the Folgore’s sheer mass, however. It always needs some level of management, and despite good rather than great brake feel, you also need to keep on top of the inertia when pushing on. You can, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, take advantage of the true-torque vectoring on the rear axle, but it’s never really comfortable at this higher pace.

But when you do slow things down a bit, fold the roof down and enjoy the wonderfully appointed cabin, its Italian handbag-quality leather strewn across almost every surface and even a quite excellent level of protection from wind buffeting, it’s clear that Maserati has this car nailed in the aspect that it knows its customers will appreciate. 

From the exceptional refinement of the electric powertrain and its relentless performance, superb ride quality, eccentric and luxurious interior and the fact it will seat four people, Maserati has found an as yet unoccupied niche with lots of appeal. In a collection of two, three or more cars in a garage, the GranCabrio Folgore should absolutely have a place on the shopping lists of the super rich. But that would be a shame, as the Folgore’s so good it could, and should, be used every single day. 

Model:Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
Base price:£185,610
Powertrain:83kWh battery, 3x e-motors
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power/torque:750bhp/1,350Nm (818bhp on overboost)
0-62mph:2.8 seconds
Top speed:180mph
Range/charging:277 miles/270kW 20-80% in 18 mins
Size (L/W/H):4,966/1,957/1,365
On sale:Now
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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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