Long gone are the days when drivers had to choose between powerful performance and practicality, something that has been made abundantly clear with the recent unveiling of Maserati’s new Grecale SUV. In fact, I would argue that some of the best cars on the road now are SUVs — plucked from the soccer-mom sidelines to become sought after by drivers of all kinds, from those who seek speed and grunty performance to those who want comfortable space and luxury, to those for whom practical pursuits are the only priority. Dubious? Let me explain.
The Maserati Grecale plays into its tagline of ‘Everyday Exceptional’ for the way it expertly balances the luxury and technical prowess of an Italian sportscar with the space and functionality of an SUV. Designed to offer a slightly smaller profile when compared to its larger sibling, the Levante, the Grecale is available in three distinct iterations — the GT, the Modena and the Trofeo — each offering different things to different drivers.
In its GT form, the Grecale is Maserati’s expression of a minimalist, urban vehicle that, from its sophisticated interiors (anchored by sleek, leather detailing and burnished inserts) to its four-cylinder, mild hybrid engine (capable of 300 horsepower) is ideal for the design-minded driver. Perfect for an everyday city-ready drive, the Grecale GT offers a balance of performance and poise, and will likely attract a whole new category of driver to the historic marque.
The Modena, on the other hand, has been designed for those who like driving out of the city, for fans of the great outdoors. Sporting the innate, timeless elegance that is expected from Maserati, the Grecale Modena is powered by a four-cylinder, 330-horsepower mild hybrid engine and delivers an eye-catching interior thanks to its recurring, stitched graphic motif that weaves across the dashboard, panels and seats.
Rounding out the trio is the undeniably impressive Trofeo — an embodiment of the most extreme aspects of Maserati, offering pinnacle performance and power. This is the peak of Maserati’s SUV offering. It is the car for sports enthusiasts seeking comfort and luxury, yes, but above all, a driving experience that is second to none. Under the hood of the Grecale Trofeo hums a breath-taking 530-horsepower petrol V6 engine, which (for those who know) was based on Maserati’s iconic MC20 Nettuno engine — an impressive feat indeed. Inside the cabin, the Trofeo oozes cool, from its three-dimensional carbon fibre to its perforated leather, to its chevron motifs that emphasise the car’s dynamism and speak to its eye-catching presence on the road carried by 21-inch alloy wheels with sporty, contrasting callipers.
It’s fitting that the Grecale was named after a prevailing, Italian wind (following the time-honoured Maserati tradition) because it really has blown every other SUV of its kind out of the water. For me, who loves performance but needs practicality, it offers the kind of balance that is truly hard to come by, drawing me in for its striking good looks and unparalleled driving experience and keeping me hooked for the attention to detail.
Here, nothing has been left to chance. The Grecale takes into consideration the lifestyle and comfort of its driver via innovative technology, a best-in-class sound system and a level of customisable comfort that means you can pack your lanky teenagers into the back with zero complaints or embark on a lengthy road-trip without needing multiple leg-stretching stops. When I was lucky enough to take the Grecale Trofeo for a drive, highlights included the immersive experience of the car’s award-winning Sonus Faber multi-dimensional sound system, the generous, 12-inch digital display on which I could control all the features of the car with a simple touch, and the way that I could change the shape of my driver’s seat so that it hugged my form perfectly, allowing me to feel even more comfortable behind the wheel.
On the road, the Grecale offers a driving experience that feels almost bespoke, allowing me to switch between Comfort Mode (perfect for my morning coffee run) to GT Mode (upping the ante for my drive to work), to Sport Mode (which made my expedition to the other side of town a thrilling experience), and finally, to Corsa Mode, which I was privileged to experience by virtue of the fact that I was driving the Grecale Trofeo (exclusive to the most luxurious iteration of the Grecale, this mode transforms the SUV into the truest expression of Maserati’s exceptional performance and history, offering a power and a sound that is almost indescribable). There is also an Off-Road Mode which, being city-bound I didn’t experience first-hand, although I have heard great things.
I could go on about the technical prowess of Maserati’s newest addition, but for someone like me, it is the sum of all those parts, plus the marque’s meticulous design that make the Grecale such an appealing prospect. For those seeking something that will set pulses racing but is still perfectly acceptable for the morning school run, this is the car for you.