Maserati Grecale Trofeo 2022 review
The top-spec Grecale Trofeo is good in some areas, but needs to be better in others. Our brief early drive showed that while there’s plenty of personality, it could be more polished. It’s the firm ride that sticks out in particular. However, the performance and theatre are also particularly noteworthy for all the right reasons, while what feels like a sharp chassis bodes well. Improved technology and a (mostly) premium feel inside means the Maserati is not without merit in range-topping Trofeo trim.
We’ve already sampled Maserati’s new Grecale mid-size luxury SUV in more affordable mild-hybrid GT form, but to rival sporty off-roaders such as the Porsche Macan Turbo, BMW’s X3 M Competition and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the Grecale line-up needs to offer a high-performance variant.
Enter the Grecale Trofeo, sporting Maserati’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo ‘Nettuno’ V6 engine that also powers its MC20 sports car, detuned slightly to produce 523bhp and 620Nm of torque here.
With four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the Trofeo is rapid, sprinting from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, which makes it quick enough to rival genuine sports car machinery in a straight line.
It feels it too. The V6 unit uses F1-derived pre-chamber combustion technology and delivers a great wallop of power; there’s little turbo lag and the V6’s compressors spool up quickly, helping hurl the Grecale forward at an impressive rate.
It’s accompanied by a gruff soundtrack, and while it isn’t the most musical, it is authentic. Pull the upshift paddle in Corsa mode and a cacophony erupts from the exhaust as the change slices home. The gearbox is rapid enough here and sufficiently smooth and refined in the regular Comfort or GT settings.
The Grecale’s Vehicle Dynamics Control Module also relaxes its grip on the car’s stability control in Corsa mode, giving us our best chance to sense the Trofeo’s dynamic ability – albeit on some fairly terrible roads in and around the city of Milan. Initial impressions suggest there’s a fun chassis with a rear-biased feel in Corsa thanks to its electronic limited-slip rear diff, but we couldn’t fully explore this on our initial encounter. The upgraded six-piston front brake set-up is definitely up to the task though.
The VDCM system also stiffens up the standard adaptive air suspension set-up, which already feels firm in the softest default setting. You can independently dial the dampers back to a less aggressive mode if you select the Corsa drive profile, but regardless, the Trofeo is a firm car and on our route the 21-inch wheels sometimes crashed over big bumps.
Body control is also taut, which does at least mean the Trofeo feels agile from our brief experience with the car on winter tyres, which was also not ideal.
The steering is precise, fairly light and not brimming with any sense of communication, so you have to trust the grip is there and the all-wheel drive system’s traction. Although the Grecale is based on a heavily modified version of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s Giorigo platform, the Quadrifoglio version of the Italian SUV feels more expressive than the Trofeo, even if it doesn’t match it for luxury.
This is possibly a decision Maserati has made to carve out a niche for the top-spec Grecale, but our first exposure to this model showed that it doesn’t offer the duality of purpose that the best in this class do, such as Porsche’s Macan Turbo. However, neither does BMW’s X3 M Competition.
The Maserati platform has had its wheelbase lengthened compared with other cars it underpins, such as the Stelvio, so there is plenty of space inside the Grecale; passengers won’t complain for head and legroom. Because the Trofeo does without the mild-hybrid tech of the lesser GT and Modena variants, this top-spec car also boasts more boot space, at 570 litres.
It also feels relatively luxurious inside. While our early test car’s build felt like it could have been a little tighter, we had no complaints over the majority of the materials. Soft leather and cool metal set the interior off nicely, with a few nice styling details meaning the Grecale sits easily in this class, even with a price tag that will likely top £70,000 when it goes on sale in the UK this summer.
A luxury car has to offer strong tech these days too, and thankfully Maserati has taken this on board with its latest infotainment system. Like the MC20 sports car, the Grecale’s interface offers hi-res graphics on both its central 12.3-inch touchscreen and the digital dash.
Responses are good and there are plenty of functions, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity offered, plus other connected services and Amazon Alexa integration. There’s also a new voice control system called Maserati Intelligent Assistant, with the car’s digital clock the focal point for this tech. It’s the first such item to feature in a Maserati and can also show a G read-out.
However, the two centre console-mounted screens do appear a little overwhelming at first, especially the 8.8-inch panel lower down that controls the climate and seat functions. Once you figure it out it becomes simpler to use, but it’s still not the most intuitive layout.
Another drawback of the two tonne-plus kerbweight and the impressive performance potential is the Trofeo’s claimed efficiency, but then if you’re in the market you’ll know this already. It could make range more of an issue however, with a 64-litre fuel tank and claimed economy of 25.2mpg (plus 254g/km of CO2 emissions).
Production of the Mercedes-AMG One – Merc’s hugely complex F1 engine-powered car [..]
The new Alfa Romeo Tonale is now on sale in the UK, [..]
Car company bosses come in all shapes and sizes. Elon Musk is [..]
Porsche has won countless races around the Nurburgring in its history, and [..]
The A-Class was the fourth best-selling vehicle in Britain last year and [..]