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New Maserati Grecale Folgore 2024 review: an electric SUV with an eye-watering price tag

Maserati has beaten Porsche to the punch with its all-electric Grecale Folgore, but is it good enough to compete when the new electric Macan does arrive?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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Verdict

By purely objective metrics, the new Maserati Grecale Folgore is going to have a hard time out-performing a wave of rivals from Porsche, Audi and BMW. It’s expensive, offers only mediocre range, and a driving experience that’s slightly stiff-legged. But by translating Italian desirability into an electric SUV, it offers a unique selling point against its more staid German competitors.

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It’s not every day that Maserati beats its rivals to the punch. After all, it took eight years to conjure up a competitor for the phenomenally successful petrol-powered Porsche Macan.  But now, with a few months still to go until the all-electric German SUV lands, Maserati’s Grecale Folgore has arrived in style.

Kicking off with a single high-specification model priced from £109,900, the Grecale will have to deal with the top-spec Porsche Macan Turbo when that car arrives in the next couple of months. No pressure then. 

As the name suggests, the Grecale Folgore is directly related to the combustion-engined car, sharing an Alfa Romeo-derived Giorgio platform. While this means it doesn’t feature a bespoke EV-specific architecture, as the new Macan does, Maserati’s engineers insist that the underlying chassis is so flexible, its job of turning it into an EV was relatively straightforward. 

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The technical layout suggests this, too, with a 96kWh (usable) battery pack mounted in a flat panel, with a few of those cells stacked in under the rear seats. Identical 205kW motors are then mounted on each of the axles, which have been reinforced to deal with the extra weight. Peak power and torque are rated at 542bhp and 820Nm respectively, and Maserati quotes a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds.

But an inevitable comparison to the new Macan Turbo reveals the Italian is off the pace on almost all fronts. Its German rival is able to generate up to 630bhp (on overboost), 1,130Nm of torque, and comes with a 0-62mph time of just 3.3 seconds. The Maserati is also slightly heavier than the Porsche, and doesn’t feature fancy chassis tech such as rear-wheel steering, dual-valve dampers, or a torque-vectoring rear differential. 

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The same can be said of the Maserati’s battery pack and quoted range, which despite having an extra 5kWh of gross capacity, is capable of only 310 miles – in contrast to the Porsche’s 364-mile maximum. The Porsche also features a higher-spec 800V electrical system and therefore comes with much faster 270kW charging, which is significantly up on the 150kW Maserati offers. In practice, this means the Porsche’s only marginally smaller battery will charge from 10 to 80 per cent in 21 minutes. Maserati quotes 29 minutes from 20 to 80 per cent.

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At this point, the Grecale Folgore might seem a little bruised by the Porsche’s figures, but from a more subjective point of view the Maserati still offers plenty of appeal. First and foremost is the design, which is very definitely Italian. While some might see a small resemblance to a certain Ford-badged crossover up front, the body and its detailing is elegant and distinctive in the flesh.

Unique to the Folgore is a new front-end that closes up the Maserati’s grille, while copper-coloured badging and detailing around the wheels and brakes are also specific. These are not an unusual motif for electric cars, but it’s somehow done with more flare and style than you might find on German rivals. In the light blue metallic of our test car, in combination with a stunning set of 21-inch three-spoke wheels, the effect is very striking in mundane traffic. 

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It’s the same story inside, with an opulence to the materials and finishes that aren’t typical of most rivals. The tech on board is good, if not great, with a dual-touchscreen setup mounted on the dash – the upper display handling nav and media, while the lower screen controls the air conditioning and a few other subsidiary elements like the ambient lighting and digital clock face. This clock sits front and centre of the dash, and can be customised to show a variety of things including a compass, or your remaining range. 

In front of the steering wheel is the fourth and final digital interface, displaying a mash-up of contemporary graphics without totally abandoning all of Maserati’s history of ornate dial packs. Space inside is very accommodating, with lots of room in the second row for three adults, plus a decent 535-litre boot, which usurps that pesky Porsche Macan Turbo by a few litres. 

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On the road, the light touch to the control weights that modern Maseratis are becoming known for, is apparent here – despite the extra weight stuffed under the carpet. The large 21-inch wheels do have a habit of picking up bumps and surface imperfections at low speeds, and there’s also a touch of motor whine that makes its way through to the cabin. This is not unusual in less expensive electric cars, but something luxury and premium EVs have almost completely dialled out. 

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As our speed rose we also found the standard air suspension to be relatively firm, and that a little bit of suspension noise was also audible over particularly rough surfaces. However, the ride improves considerably when the Grecale’s Sport mode is engaged, with the tighter dampers actually settling the ride better than the softer setting in GT or Eco modes. Thankfully, you can set the dampers to their firm setting independently of the main driver modes, via a switch on the steering wheel. 

What is apparent, though, is that the Grecale Folgore is not a particularly sporty electric SUV; it displays little of the dynamic acumen we’ve experienced in a pre-production Macan Turbo. There’s plenty of grunt from the motors, but despite a general rearward bias in normal driving conditions, hard acceleration evens this back out to a 50:50 split. Yet it’s the general suspension setup and chassis balance that positions this as powerful luxury EV rather than a truly sporting family car.

The stark reality for this Maserati was that it was always going to appeal by offering a high-end Italian EV experience rather than a subjectively superior one, and on that metric it fulfils its brief. And while there’s not a snarling V8 engine under the bonnet, the Grecale Folgore still does channel some of that idyllic feeling back to the driver, offering character in an era of EVs so often totally devoid of it. 

Model:Maserati Grecale Folgore
Base price:£109,900
Powertrain:105kWh battery, 2x e-motors
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power/torque:542bhp/820Nm
0-62mph:4.1 seconds
Top speed:120mph
Range/charging:310miles/150kW 20-80% in 29 mins
Size (L/W/H):4,865mm/1,948mm/1,651mm
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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