Italy's new style icon takes on Germany's established athlete.
After more than a year of teasing, Maserati finally unveiled its all-new Grecale SUV. With multiple engine offerings and the promise of best-in-class interior space, the 2023 Maserati Grecale looks like a fine machine to spend your hard-earned cash on, but looks can be deceiving. As Germany has proved with the Porsche Macan Turbo, an upmarket badge can be so much more than just a cash cow if you're willing to engineer some true athleticism into the car. So has Italy taken heed and created something special, or is the Grecale just another fancy crossover with a premium name? Well, let's see how it performs on paper while we wait for the opportunity to drive it.
As is common these days, both vehicles are outfitted with LED lighting at each end. For the Grecale, the headlights appear to be inspired by those of the MC20 supercar while the taillights are intended to hark back to the Giugiaro 3200 GT. All models feature Maserati's trident on the C-pillars and front grille, but the Trofeo adds a special badge to the fender vents and gets a more aggressive bumper design. Multiple colors will be offered, and if you're a special customer who can afford to do so, the Fuoriserie customization program will happily fulfill your wildest fantasies. In terms of dimensions, the Grecale measures 191 inches long with a height of 66 inches and a width of 85 inches.
Porsche's Macan Turbo is a little more compact, with a length of 184.5 inches and a width of 76.2 inches. Height here is 64 inches. As with the Italian, a special program is available for the wealthiest of customers who aren't satisfied with the existing offerings, but even without any upgrades, the Macan is a handsome thing.
We have to admit that the high intakes at the front with their proximity to the headlights make the Macan appear far less awkward in our eyes than the Grecale, but there's no doubt that the rear of the Porsche is far more generic than that of the Grecale. Our personal preference overall goes to the Macan, but it's a moving scale and we may wake up tomorrow preferring the Italian. Basically, both brands have done a fine job of styling their athletic SUVs, and we can't really fault either one.
These days, you need a plethora of screens to get noticed by the upscale consumer, and the Grecale has jumped on the bandwagon. Maserati Intelligent Assistant takes care of the multimedia through a 12.3-inch touchscreen display. This is connected to a smaller 8.8-inch screen just below, which takes care of auxiliary vehicle functions while a third screen assists those in the rear. Another large screen displays driver info, and even the digital clock is a screen of sorts that can become a compass or a visualizer for the voice control system. Sonus Faber provides the 3D sound system as standard "at Premium level." This comes with 14 speakers but if you specify High Premium, 21 speakers are provided. As usual, a number of drive modes are offered and the cabin is awash with premium materials like wood, carbon fiber, and leather.
Maserati also promises "best-in-class space for the rear compartment, in every possible dimension you can measure: shoulder room, headroom, legroom, boot [trunk] space, and interior storage."
The Grecale offers 20 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats in place, but what of the Macan? 17.6 cubic feet is the official rating, and like with the Grecale, there are various leather and trim options, including wood, aluminum, carbon fiber, and more. Sadly, the Porsche loses out in terms of tech. While the Maserati comes with a 12.3-inch driver info display, the Macan's is a meager 4.8 inches. Similarly, with the infotainment screen, the German car only gives you 10.9 inches of display area. A 14-speaker Bose sound system is standard in the Macan Turbo with an optional 16-speaker Burmester setup. Disappointingly, Android Auto is still not offered here. Expect the next Macan to close the gap considerably.
The entry-level Grecale is the GT and comes with a four-cylinder mild-hybrid engine that develops a respectable 296 horsepower. The lowest-spec Macan, on the other hand, only manages 261 hp from an unelectrified four-pot. At the other end of the scale, the Macan Turbo's 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 generates 434 hp, but even that is not enough. Sure, it'll outpace the mid-level Grecale Modena that takes the GT trim's motor and turns it up to 330 hp, but the Grecale Trofeo is in a league of its own.
This trim, like the Macan Turbo, uses a twin-turbo V6 engine, but this one is slightly larger at 3.0 liters of capacity. It's also quite special, being based on the Nettuno V6 from the MC20 supercar and as a result, it generates 530 hp. Bye-bye, Porsche. Both the Italian and the German employ all-wheel-drive with automatic gearboxes, but we'll have to drive the Grecale before we can confirm anything. Until then, the Macan loses on paper.
Both Maserati and Porsche are working on electric versions of their respective crossovers. Porsche may or may not call its electric crossover the Macan EV, but Italians are certainly a little more expressive. Thus, Maserati's take on the matter will be named the Grecale Folgore (Italian for "Thunderbolt") and is expected to launch next year as a 2024 model. We know that it will boast 400-volt technology and rumors suggest an output of around 670 hp with up to 590 lb-ft of torque.
Porsche will do things even better from a practical perspective, launching the electric Macan with the Taycan's 800-V electric architecture. The automaker also claims a longer range than the 227-mile-capable Taycan, but power figures are yet to be talked about. Again, we'll have to wait for more info, but both are exciting prospects.
The Grecale will launch with a base price of $63,500, while the cheapest Macan currently available retails for $54,900. Both cars are clearly expensive, but the Grecale is almost as pricy as a Porsche Cayenne. Then again, you are paying for a badge that has close ties to Ferrari, so there is a bit of heritage to consider in the cost of ownership. Still, with the cheapest Grecale starting at over $60,000 and a limited-edition Modena version asking for almost $80,000, the Trofeo is sure to be warned against by your accountant. For reference, the Macan Turbo is almost 85 grand, so the top-spec Grecale will flirt with a six-figure MSRP. It's tough to say which is better without having driven the new Grecale yet, but let's give it a go.
The Grecale is roomier, more exciting from a multimedia point of view, and more powerful. But it is expensive, it is all-new, and it is Italian. Whether those are plus points or cons is for you to decide, but those without an adventurous streak are urged to go for the safe and secure German, while those with fire in their bones could only ever pick the passionate Italian.