Maserati Grecale GT, Trofeo review: would you pay $62k for two extra cylinders?

David Linklater
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Flagship Maserati Grecale Trofeo (left) meets entry-level GT (right).


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sport utility vehicle
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  • Cool Maserati cues at the front
  • Outrageous straight-line speed and handling
  • High-quality and interesting cabin
  • Looks a bit SUV-generic at the back
  • Hard to pick from $124k GT version (above, in blue)
  • Might be ousted by forthcoming Folgare EV version

Okay, we don’t seriously think any Maserati Grecale buyers will be cross-shopping the entry-level GT version with the flagship Trofeo.

You might need to read the badges to tell Maserati Grecale models apart.

But it’s still an illuminating exercise to compare them, because Maserati has the taken the novel step of making the two virtually identical to the casual observer, meaning the really big difference is what’s under the bonnet and in the chassis. Badges aside (and they aren’t all that big), the $62,000 difference between the two is really buying you tangible performance and handling abilities rather than status.

Rookie mistake or a radically refreshing approach from a luxury product? Let’s find out.

Before the world became obsessed with SUVs, Maseratis were all about awesome engines. And yes, the Grecale Trofeo still is. Its 3.0-litre V6 is a detuned version of that used in the MC20 supercar, but sans the dry sump and with cylinder deactivation to save fuel.

Maserati Grecale's V6 engine is borrowed from the MC20 supercar.

It’s techy and clever, including a “pre-chamber” combustion system that ignites the fuel separately before shooting it into the cylinder.

The Trofeo's V6 is a hard act to follow, but the GT’s 2.0-litre has a few tech tricks of its own

Technology, blah blah. Point is, the V6 sounds quietly cool in normal driving and absolutely epic in full Corsa mode (a setting unique to the Trofeo), with hair-trigger throttle response and small bouts of machine-gun fire accompanying gearchanges. It’s also one of the fastest combustion-engine SUVs you can buy: 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds.

Maserati Grecale Trofeo's air suspension even includes an Off-Road mode. Seriously?

It’s razor-sharp in corners, at least in an SUV context, and with air suspension that has a 65mm range in height (linked to the drive modes, which include Off-Road, ha ha), you can tailor it just-so. The rear track is 34mm wider than the GT; it means business.

You could buy the snarling GT version and feel quite smug. And have $60k in the bank for a luxury holiday to Italy

The Trofeo's V6 is a hard act to follow, but the GT’s 2.0-litre has a few tech tricks of its own. It might be borrowed from any number of more humble Stellantis cars (including Alfa Romeos and, ahem, Jeeps), but it sounds arguably as charismatic than the V6 at lower speeds, with a raspy note that grows in stature as you click from Normal to Sport modes.

Cheapest Maserati Grecale GT still really looks the part - especially in Blu Intenso.

It’s a mild hybrid, which means you get the usual energy-regen to help power the vehicle’s electrical equipment and reduce load on the engine. But you also get the equivalent of an electric turbocharger (in addition to the real one), to fill in the torque deficit at low speed, making the GT exceptional flexible.

It’s nearly two seconds slower to 100km/h at 5.6sec, but that’s as much a comment on the rapidity of the Trofeo as anything. Less than six seconds to the legal limit is still pretty quick; the next-model-up Modena bumps the 2.0-litre to 246kW (torque unchanged), but only takes 0.3sec off the sprint time.

Maserati Grecale GT has smaller wheels and narrower rear track than Trofeo.

Air suspension is an option on the GT, but the standard passive setup still strikes a pretty good balance between luxury-appropriate ride and precise handling. The steering is great and the chassis is superbly entertaining. Again, the Modena adds active shocks and a locking rear differential, but doesn’t go all the way to the Trofeo’s fully active chassis.

Mixed-size tyres are a Grecale thing on all but the GT: 21-inch rims on the Trofeo (different widths front and rear), 20in for Modena and 19in for GT.

Maserati Grecale cabin is thoroughly modern and beautifully made.

And that interior. After years of creaky Maserati cabins and outdated technology (we so often tried to convince ourselves it was “character”), the Grecale offers a thoroughly modern and high-quality driving and occupant environment.

Four screens are combined to create a virtual expanse from the main instrument panel down to the centre console. It looks complex, but it’s surprisingly intuitive to use and there are genuinely innovative touches: the centrally mounted clock (apologies to Porsche’s Sport Chrono setup) is actually a digital notification centre that’s right in your eyeline, while a swipe up from the bottom of the climate control screen (mobile phone-style) reveals a whole new drag-and-drop adjustment menu for left/right and temperature.

Maserati Grecale clock is not just a... clock. It's a digital notification display.

There are trim and colour differences as you move up the range of course, but in terms of basic design and technology you’re not losing a lot in the transition from GT to Trofeo.

There’s an undeniable cachet in the Trofeo’s MC20-derived engine, the performance is explosive and the breadth of handling ability well above anything else in the range. So yes, we get it.

But Grecale is also a medium SUV, not a sports car, and if you’re honest enough to admit you don’t necessarily need such extreme dynamic ability in your luxury crossover, you could also buy the snarling GT version and feel quite smug about your choice. And have $60k in the bank for a luxury holiday to Italy.

For a really different Grecale, we might have to wait until the Folgare pure-electric version next year. But that’s another story.

ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four with 48-volt mild hybrid system including e-booster
POWER: 224kW/450Nm
GEARBOX: 8-speed automatic, AWD
0-100KM/H: 5.6sec
CONSUMPTION: 8.7l/100km (WLTP)
PRICE: $124,000

ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin-spark, twin-turbo V6
POWER: 395kW/620Nm
GEARBOX: 8-speed automatic, AWD
0-100KM/H: 3.8sec
PRICE: $186,000


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