Home Business On the track with the prototype of the Grecale SUV: this is how Maserati is back to challenge the Germans

On the track with the prototype of the Grecale SUV: this is how Maserati is back to challenge the Germans

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Don’t call it Stelvio. To dispel any doubts about the distance of kinship between the Maserati Grecale and the Alfa Romeo SUV, just get on board, touch the original interiors and drive for a couple of kilometers. The car was supposed to debut on November 16, but the chip shortage crisis forced Maserati to postpone the launch. However, we went to Balocco, the historic Italian test area, to test the prototype, practically a pre-series specimen in disguise.

Despite the shared use of the Giorgio platform (that of Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Giulia), the Grecale also shows in the prototype version the segment jump compared to the Biscione model, including the attention to detail typical of the Modenese manufacturer. Grecale is part of the Maserati “new era”, which started with the MC20 and is ready to bring twenty new products to the dealership by 2025, thirteen of which are new models including the new Folgore electric range. All thanks to the 2.5 billion euros allocated for the relaunch of the brand which, within the Stellantis group, is the only one in the luxury segment among the 14 brands in the portfolio. Another aspect not to be forgotten derives from the expected sales volumes of Grecale, ready to challenge the Porsche Macan and at the same time aiming at the fleet market by offering a solution to those looking for a premium hybrid d-suv.

The mild hybrid engine was the protagonist of our first test at Balocco. Even before getting on board the Emilian car, but built in the Cassino plant, it shows increased dimensions starting from the length and the wheelbase respectively equal to 4.85 and 2.9 meters which translate into a truly generous space on board and with a compartment load of 535 liters. Another absolute novelty comes from the dashboard (which we were able to preview without the possibility of publishing images), where in the center stands the large touchscreen from which to manage the Mia system (Maserati Intelligent Assistant) based on Android Auto and equipped with an assistant intelligent voice, while for air conditioning there is a second touch screen. The instrumentation is also completely digital, as is the new watch that for the first time on a Maserati says goodbye to analog hands.

The general impression is as finally nothing is missing on Grecale; the Adas list is complete, connectivity is extensive, the standard and optional equipment includes all the essential accessories on a car of this type. Because in the past the problem of Maserati was precisely the sense of incompleteness, where excellent dynamic qualities did not always combine with premium German equipment and materials.

Now, however, the time has come to test the Grecale on the “Langhe” circuit in Balocco, powered by the 2.0-liter, 300-horsepower 48-volt mild hybrid turbo petrol engine with all-wheel drive and 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. The first good news comes from the sound, more than satisfactory despite the 4-cylinder architecture, while the highest ratings come from the dynamic sector. Compared to the Stelvio, the absorption of roughness has significantly improved, without sacrificing an agility unthinkable for most SUVs on the market. The all-wheel drive, derived from Alfa Romeo but with management software rewritten by Maserati, prefers the rear axle but is able to download power up to 50-50, with exemplary fluidity of use in every situation. By picking up the pace (and changing the car’s setting using the steering knob), the trident SUV shows the right balance between ease of use and fun. Passing from Sport to Offroad, the height varies by 45 mm, thanks to the air suspension, thus ensuring a wide functionality of use.

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