Maserati Grecale GT Review: Worth The Dosh And More
When we drove the Levante GT last year, its 2.0-litre turbo mild hybrid drivetrain paired with an 8-speed ZF torque converter transmission was shockingly good, with punchy low-end torque and a top-end that keeps you going back to the redline for more. So good, in fact, it is the reigning champion for Best in Performance at OneShift’s Car of the Year. Quite how Maserati achieved this with a four pot engine is the magic of the storied Italian touch, I suppose.
Now Maserati has placed this same drivetrain into the smaller and lighter Grecale GT, albeit with about 30 hp less (torque remains the same at 450 Nm). Does the fairy dust shower on the Grecale as well?
I’m happy to report that it absolutely has. The car has to be savoured in Sport mode where it really starts to come alive. Whatever we liked about the drivetrain remains in the Grecale GT, except this time there is even more sport into the equation. It sounds surprisingly rorty in this age of strict emissions regulations, and most of it is real, because there’s an audible roar from the quad exhausts. Full bore upshifts are greeted with a loud clap/fart, which is addictive.
Because the car is one size smaller than the Levante, it turns in with more immediacy and feels more wieldy behind the wheel. Yet, it is always comfortable and plush, always cocooning its occupants in luxury. While it doesn’t unseat the best in the business for ride and handling sophistication, or steering feel (it’s just a tad over assisted), it comes close and more than makes up for it for its charisma, engagement and sense of occasion. I’d even whisper that it might just be the most fun one could have versus its more serious competitors that are lacking a bit of humour.
The big improvement in the Levante GT is actually in its interior technology. It is a lot more digital now - perhaps the most digital Maserati so far - yet it applies it meaningfully without feeling like a huge complication. The HVAC controls are now on a touchscreen, but you can slide a finger on it to intuitively change temperatures and fan speed, which is an idea you reckon why nobody else thought of sooner. The fabled Maserati clock is now also digital, and has multiple looks and functions including a G-metre and a compass. It’s a novel touch that feels quite classy, yet brimming with modernity. The instrument gauges are easily operated with the steering buttons and work really well.
There are small foibles though, like locating seat memory settings together with the HVAC touchscreen (I didn’t know how to save my settings until some trial-and-error) and the lack of auto brake hold, the latter being a core feature many would expect.
Another highlight is the Grecale’s build quality. It seems to be improving with each new Maserati, and the Grecale impresses with its lack of creaks and awkward panel gaps. It is very, very well put together, and best of all, most of the interior is swathed in soft leather or soft-touch materials. I love the cold, metal feeling of the paddle shifters too, which are long and are fitted onto the steering column. All in, the Grecale feels very premium and matches what its price tag would suggest, something I cannot easily say for its competitors which are more mass-produced or would require hefty optional extras to feel as special.
Speaking of optional extras, the Grecale GT comes as standard with a Sonus Faber sound system, the brand being a high-end Italian audio house. Again, a luxury branded sound system is not something we usually find in this segment and at this price. It sounds fabulous when brought through a battery of tests by our in-house sound expert, who gave it his seal of approval.
I think the last thing worth mentioning, because the Grecale GT will likely be used as a daily vehicle, is the car’s high fuel consumption. Throughout the test drive of more than 200 km, we struggled to achieve anything more than 5 km/l, even though we resetted the trip computer a few times to be sure we removed all possible variables. This is rather curious for a MHEV drivetrain, but that said, it is tuned for performance and not efficiency. I quite understand why. To be fair, it isn’t a huge hindering factor given the range of the car is still well above 300 km due to its decently sized fuel tank.
I really adore the Grecale GT and I think it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a compact SUV with quite a bit more flair and character. My heart certainly has fallen for this car…
I got to drive the Grecale GT as well and here I offer a second opinion. Driving a Maserati is all about the sensory experience - aural, visual and touch.
The Grecale GT may not have a sonorous V8 but the 2.0-litre turbo definitely sounds excellent for its class and in an age of strict ESG requirements.
The shape of the Grecale GT is distinctly Maserati and it will grow on you. It possesses an air of sportiness and elegance. By no means is it a small car but it looks more balanced than the Levante. This car will fit perfectly in a 5-star hotel lobby but neither would it be too ostentatious at the wet market for weekend grocery runs.
Lastly, the party piece of the Maserati is its interior which adds to the sense of occasion on each drive. The cabin is well built with leather cladded surfaces and even a stitched dashboard.
Italian cars have come a long way in terms of build quality and it seems like the Grecale GT will bring joy without the reliability headaches of an Italian car of the past!
Photos by New Gen Marketing
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