Before the V6 can show if it can stomp about 2.1 tons of paper in Blu Intenso towards the horizon with godlike power, we still have to chew on the fourth fact for a while. On the one hand, because the Grecale starts a completely new series in a car class that is new for Maserati, and on the other hand, because it also sits somewhat between the seats.
The so-called D-SUV segment, to which the Grecale belongs, is dominated by the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. But none of them are close to the Grecale’s size of about 4.86 meters, which is actually close to the X5 and GLE. In addition to the top model Trofeo, two four-cylinder variants (GT and Modena) are also waiting for dealers and the E variant (Folgore), which will be presented later this year. The sub-model shares the Grecale with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio. A platform that has Giorgio’s name instead of a secret acronym.
sea quake under the hood
Now on to the bacon. Press the start button on the steering wheel and the three-liter V6 comes alive with a (still) muted rumble. The level of the air suspension goes back from the entry height to the standard position (65 mm adjustment from “Offroad” to “Aero 2”), and the high triangular seat begins to move gently. In view of the powerful 21-inch wheels, the good ride comfort is amazing. The air suspension lowers easily in a comfortable position.
Only one person did not notice this quiet trend, and he is sitting under the hood. It sways, it vibrates, it sends a little drone through the cabin with low sounds and, well, it looks like a triple-insulated cylinder at first, because it is. At least temporarily, because the engine control shuts down three times the six-cylinder. Even at low speeds, the car attracts attention and, from around 3,000 revolutions, takes center stage as a show-runner. From now on, full torque is available, the two chargers spin at full speed, and jets of fire shoot out of the cylinder head chamber, completely igniting the eleven-to-one air-fuel mixture.
Or you can easily listen to the transition from the three-cylinder to the terrible valve exhaust rock that only the Italian V6 can achieve – here, by the way, without the sound of the speaker being heard. But Zucchero never needed that. That the engine lost its lubrication dry sump, 100 hp and revs some of its way from MC20 to Grecale? There’s no drama, even in the Grecale racing hard towards the limit at over 7,000 rpm. The eight-speed automatic transmission shift from ZF is short and tight under full load and is accompanied by a loud hum.
The development of explosive power is also due to the short gear ratio in the lower gears. The fourth gear is enough for less than 140 kilometers per hour. The transmission part can or should be done manually. Because the two aluminum bars on the steering column click in a wonderfully tactile way, and the gearbox reacts very quickly to paddle commands. So it is not surprising that Grecale, despite its dimensions, also meets country roads and entertainment needs. On the one hand through translation, on the other hand through carefully placed steering. While in the case of its competitors it is fake in characteristics depending on the mode, it remains constant in Grecale: direct, spirit, and a high level of communication. Understeer is clearly indicated by a decrease in grip strength. The front axle has a strong binding effect, especially in Sport and Trofeo mode with enhanced damping behavior, and thanks to the chassis’ excellent damping, the handling is confident even on rough roads.
The right compromise
Grecale performs without roll stabilization and allows a certain degree of body rotation, which hardly harms the feeling of driving on public roads and allows more communication from the chassis to the driver compared to reinforced competitors.
On corner exit, the active locking differential on the rear axle comes forward, which clearly encourages the rear of the Maserati to steer under load. In Corsa mode, ESP eases the reins and allows some freedom. However, oversteer caused by changes is on the prohibited list. In the slalom and in the avoidance test, the system controls rather than approximately in the limit zone.
360 mm steel discs are fighting against the attacking civilians in front – successfully. Stopping values are good and constant, but it doesn’t really feel on the brake pedal. The brakes respond with a bit of bite, but with high braking pressure you feel like you’re stepping on a thick lump of buffalo mozzarella.
However, the direction of the Grecale is interesting: its lightness is impressive, but it does not come at the expense of its SUV characteristics. It eschews overly complicated setups in favor of more functionality, as some competitors do – yes, we mean you, dear X3 M -, instead making its unwieldy design as light as possible. But it rolls well over potholes, runs at high speed on patchy highways and does not offer beauty, but at least good stability in a straight line. Only at moderate speeds – around 100 or 120 km / h – where the trident seems to have a kink in its physiognomy. In this range of speeds, the air suspension provides a lot of structural stability on country roads with rutted and changeable, sometimes one-sided impulses, but it reaches short grade gaps on the road with harshness on the leather seats. Directional stability is shaky in this speed range, the engine begs to roar for more focus and acceleration. After all, driver assistance shows a high level of maturity, as long as you disable the large orchestra of sounds and limit yourself to visual warnings. The intervention of ACC and traffic controllers is very robust, it is better not to rely on the recognition of traffic signs. But some unique qualities are expected, after all, Neptune was not considered at all as an independent and conscientious yogi.
In any case, you should look for a long time for the cabinet of oddities in the new cockpit design. Almost nothing reminds Chryslerigkeit of Levante, Ghibli and Quattroporte. Instead, razor-sharp touchscreens, richly textured leather and pure aluminum await scrutinizing palms. Plastic? There is, in bad shape but only down on the back doors. However, Grecale does not quite reach the quality of its German competitors. The steering wheel buttons are very rough, the leather of the seat has creases here and there, the seams on the door panels choose the desired path instead of a straight line, and the gaps between the doors and from the hood to the fenders are not perfect. .
Why is the interior still successful? The touch-based infotainment system is fast, offers nice and pleasant graphics and a flat menu structure. The navigation plugin from TomTom provides convenient routes. In the vehicle menu, spider diagrams can be used to show which parameters the driving conditions affect how and how much power is applied to which wheels. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also on board. Some of the translation errors seem strange. So gearbox temperature is advertised as “transmission temperature”.
Overalls under the jacket
Standard steering wheel buttons ensure easy operation of the cruise control and speedometer display. As with the Ferrari, other switches behind the steering wheel adjust media and audio.
Other basic functions such as light control, climate control or display brightness are operated on the lower, slightly angled screen in the center console. Although all the settings here are at the top level of one menu, you should still be able to use the headlights faster and more accurately.
The front seats offer a fair amount of lateral support and are active while driving, so they’re not too high. There is also plenty of space in the back after entering comfortably, even if the standard glass roof restricts the dining room for passengers over 1.90 meters. The side panels of the back seat also press a little on the shoulders of some people. The trunk comes with 570 to 1,625 liters in the standard configuration of the class and manifests itself quite differently. Although there’s no lower floor, optional skid rails and rear triples ensure a good level of versatility. The backrest is lowered by pressing a button to create a flat loading floor. For convenience, Maserati has placed one button on the left and right side of the back seat and one on the trunk, which saves you from walking unnecessarily.
On the other hand, electric exterior door handles, which hide a small rubber button for opening the door, are a pain to use. From the inside, you open the doors by pressing the button directly under the grab handle in one movement without an elbow – smart.
There is no evergreen
It should be clear that such a level of power, driving pleasure and comfort cannot be achieved without harm in this particular combination. Grecale is the same as green as the complementary magenta color: i.e. not at all. The engine cannot be moved with single-digit consumption, production costs are high, as is the resistance to driving at 130 km / h. Only a short drive over the Alps saves a few areas of the environment.
The test car shown costs around 125,000 euros. The basic price difference is due to driver support and LED headlights (5,902 euros), the Sonus Faber sound system (2,499 euros), which is disappointing in terms of sound, steering wheel heating (250 euros), seat ventilation. (904 euros), a 360-degree camera (1,000 euros) and a few decorative accessories. Everything related to driving dynamics is standard, but Maserati still demands a certain premium compared to competition from BMW or Jaguar.
But even these are nothing more than the truth of the quartet.
Even if he won’t be the king of points, the entertaining Grecale is surprisingly good. He combines good everyday skills with a characteristic drive. A strong relationship with combustion engines is a prerequisite for their downfall despite the great acoustics and high fuel consumption.
|Maserati Grecale 3.0 Trophy|
|trunk volume||570 to 1625L|
|shift / engine||2992 cc / 6 cylinder|
|Performance||390 kW / 530 hp at 6500 rpm|
|use of the test||12.5L/100km|
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