Putting The Maserati Grecale Folgore to the Test in Southern Italy

The manufacturer’s first fully-electric SUV — with an output of 410 kW or 549 hp and a focus on sustainable luxury.

Automotive
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Maserati has officially unveiled its first all-electric SUV, the Grecale Folgore, marking a significant moment in the luxury car manufacturer’s storied history. Invited to learn more about the vehicle, we traveled to Apulia, Italy, where we had two days to learn from brand experts, as well as get some time on the road — traversing a variety of environments from old town centers to winding country lanes.

The Maserati Grecale Folgore

Before we get into the details of the journey, it’s important to understand what makes the Grecale Folgore a notable addition to Maserati’s lineup.

The Grecale Folgore, meaning “lightning” in Italian, is a nod to Maserati’s commitment to electrification. Designed, developed, and produced in Italy, the SUV is powered by a 105 kWh battery using 400V technology, enabling a torque of 820 Nm, 410 kW (549 hp) and a top speed of 136 mph. Its performance is typical of Maserati’s standards, promising an exciting driving experience without compromising the luxury setting it’s known for.

It’s worth noting that the design is aimed at being both elegant and sporty, featuring a modified front grille optimized for electric vehicle cooling and aero-driven design elements for improved aerodynamics. The interior boasts the distinctive Folgore embossed pattern, carbon copper 3D touch trim and sporty seats available in a variety of styles through Maserati’s bespoke Fuoriserie program.

“We have elevated the Grecale.”

“We have elevated the Grecale through a series of design elements made particularly for the Folgore version, including a unique interpretation of design through exclusive colors, materials and of course, electrification,” shared Maserati brand designer Alessandro Silva in a conversation with us during a walk through of the vehicle.

Additionally, technological advancements can be seen as a highlight of the Grecale Folgore’s design, with a focus on enhancing the in-car experience. It features a 12.3” central display, an 8.8” comfort display, quick gesture climate controls and integration with smartphone apps like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more.

The vehicle also features four unique driving modes, including MAX RANGE, GT, SPORT and OFFROAD allowing drivers to customize their driving experience — personally, we found the SPORT and OFFROAD to be the most exciting modes. Additionally, the Grecale Folgore is equipped with air suspension, aimed at providing dynamic support and increased comfort, a feature that was most noticeable at lower speeds.

To ease the barrier to entry, Maserati offers an all-inclusive charging solution for Grecale Folgore owners, ensuring ease of use and access to one of the largest charging networks in Europe and China. The SUV comes with a home charging wall box and the convenience of pre-warming or pre-cooling the car while charging.

DAY 1: Design

After a long journey and transport from the airport, we arrived at La Fiermontina, a 5-star luxury hotel in the heart of the historic center of Lecce, with grounds that presented a unique combination of art and design, as well as the perfect backdrop for the Maserati Grecale Folgore.

On this first day, we, alongside other guests, were provided with a deep dive on the Grecale Folgore’s design inspirations through a presentation by Maserati brand designer Alessandro Silva. He expressed how the design of the new vehicle is a masterclass in how luxury and innovation can merge to create something spectacular. One of the most notable features of this all-electric SUV is its exclusive exterior color, Rame Folgore, which represents a bold step forward in automotive design. This unique hue draws inspiration from the dynamic interplay of light and color on the façade of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

The use of iridescent pigments allows the color to shift seamlessly from warm copper tones, reminiscent of the sun-kissed sections of the museum, to cooler shades of bluish-grey, echoing the areas that fall into the shadow. This chameleon-like ability to change with the surrounding light conditions not only highlights the vehicle’s innovative design but also showcases Maserati’s dedication to integrating elements of contemporary architecture into its aesthetic vision.

“Nylon waste… completely reinvented.”

In addition to a new type of “3D” carbon fiber that features copper wire, Silva highlighted the use of sustainable materials in the seats, known as ECONYL, stating “In the center part of the seat we introduce ECONYL fiber, a regenerative fiber, that comes from nylon waste found in the ocean and agriculture industry that has been completely reinvented.”

Following this walkthrough of the Grecale Folgore, Maserati took us on a walk through the old town of Lecce, known for its baroque buildings constructed from white limestone and capped the night off with a private fine dining experience at Palazzo Bozzi Corso.

DAY 2: On The Road

Kicking things into gear, we gathered in the morning to receive a technical brief from one of Maserati’s racing team members, who explained our route and helped familiarize us and the other drivers with their vehicles.

The route included a total of five waypoints, each taking us to different environments and road conditions. These stops also included a variety of food, sweet treats and of course, espresso. Placed in the “Dark Aurora” Grecale Folgore, complemented by a white leather interior, we drove from our hotel to the coastal town of Otranto — this route primarily featured highways and main roads, allowing us to experience the vehicle’s GT and SPORT modes.

“Heavier but faster than the ICE version.” 

From a performance standpoint, a few specific aspects stood out to us, primarily that despite the Folgore being 1,000 lbs heavier than its ICE counterpart, it has a 0-60 mph of 4.1 seconds versus the 5.3 seconds from the gas-powered version. While the added weight isn’t all that noticeable in sport mode going down a straight road, we did feel it when navigating the twisty hillsides and opted for the off-road, as well as GT modes to provide us with a more comfortable ride — all available at the twist of a dial on the right side of the steering wheel.

Other notable aspects about the Folgore included its size, which is something between a mid-size and full-size SUV, just small enough for driving through the old Italian towns but large enough to be comfortable for touring with four or more people. We also spent some time playing with various regen braking settings using the paddle shifters — when activated the car regains kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost during braking. Dialing the car into sport mode, we managed to break away from the convoy we were in, testing out the top speed and found the automated feedback, specific to the mode, to be exciting as well as encouraging of higher speeds.

During our stop in Otranto, we took a tour of the old town and talked with Carolina Bologna, a Maserati expert closely involved with the development of the Grecale Folgore model. Most notably, she shared how the Maserati Grecale range, through its global audience, represents the highest percentage of female owners for any Maserati vehicle — with female ownership as high as 45% in the U.S. market as a specific example.

From Otranto we took to winding coastal roads that led us to a private Maserati Hub used to showcase various design fittings from the Fuoriserie program, collaborative tech and more. During this portion of the journey, as previously mentioned, we found the suspension to be most comfortable when the vehicle was placed in the offroad mode, largely due to uneven surfaces and tight turns. After a quick lunch at the Hub, we were met by a representative of Aquafil, who explained more about their sustainable nylon material.

 

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“The most well-known and emotional waste we use to produce ECONYL is through the recycling of fish nets. Nylon is a very resistant plastic material used for things like carpet flooring, textiles and more.” She went on to share that the two most important features of the material are that it is 100 percent made of waste and that “ECONYL nylon is infinitely recyclable.”

Inside the Grecale Folgore, the theme of innovation is expressed with the integration of ECONYL into the vehicle’s interior fabrics. The highly opaque surface of the ECONYL fabric, reminiscent of a ballerina’s bodysuit and enhanced through innovative laser processing, features a parametric design that exudes natural dynamism. This design choice is inspired by the grace and controlled performance of a ballerina in motion, captured in a photograph. Through this, Maserati manages to weave a narrative of environmental consciousness and artistic inspiration into the very fabric of the Grecale Folgore.

Following our visit to the Maserati Hub, we drove down to the charming coastal town of Tricase Porto, a southern region of the Lecce province. While in Tricase Porto we stopped for a classic Leccese pastry, the Pasticciotto, before hitting the road back to our hotel.

To put things in a nutshell, the launch of the Grecale Folgore is more than just the introduction of a new vehicle; it’s a statement by Maserati that luxury, performance and sustainability can go hand in hand in the electric vehicle era. With its combination of advanced technology, innovative materials and electrifying performance, the Grecale Folgore marks a new chapter for the automaker and stands as an example of what’s in store for the future of the SUV class.

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