Raising The Stakes, And Price, On Premium SUVs


Maserati just jumped into one of today’s most competitive vehicle segments with its 2023 Grecale. This all-new, premium SUV is going up against established, and successful, players from Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo. But Stellantis’ global luxury brand doesn’t appear concerned, launching the 2023 Maserati Grecale with a base price of $65,300, well above its rivals priced in the upper $40,000 to mid $50,000 range.

That’s not the standard vehicle launch protocol — enter a segment with a brand new model, go up against popular, established competitors, and charge 30-40 percent more. But the Grecale offers a compelling combination of features, even in the base “GT” trim. The exterior features curving body lines, with headlights that rise above the fenders just enough to be graceful, not garish. There’s almost a hint of BMW Z8 in the front end proportions — not a bad thing at all.

The base model is powered by a 2.0-liter, 296 horsepower four cylinder turbo engine, which sends power to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Maserati says zero-to-60 mph happens in 5.3 seconds. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, LED exterior lighting, leather seats, a dash-mounted digital/analog clock, and a 12-inch touchscreen sitting above an 8.8-inch climate control screen. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Alexa voice controls are also standard, along with a Sonus Faber 14-speaker audio system.

Between exterior styling and interior design (and material quality), Maserati is clearly targeting a premium luxury experience, even in the base Grecale. And the Italian brand seems to have hit its target. Our mid-level Grecale “Modena” started at $74,500, which includes a more powerful, 325 horsepower version of that same four-cylinder engine, capable of zero-to-60 in 5 seconds flat. Our car also had options like beautiful “Grigio Cangiante” tri-coat paint, blue brake calipers, radar cruise control, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, open pore wood trim, and a 21-speaker Sonus Faber audio system, bringing the as-tested price to $96,100.

That’s serious money for a compact luxury SUV, and if the Grecale wasn’t well executed we’d likely balk at the price. But between its excellent steering feel, confident handling, comfortable ride quality, and emotional exhaust burble during full-throttle upshifts, the Maserati Gracale feels every bit the Italian exotic its brand implies. The comfortable-yet-supportive seats covered in supple leather, the exquisite sound quality from the audio system, the truly diverse ride and handling dynamics offered by various driving modes (Comfort, GT, Sport) conspire to give the Grecale a confident presence, even amidst its more-established, lower-priced competitors.

We’ve yet to experience the top-trim Trofeo version, which further ups the performance ante with a 523 horsepower twin-turbo V6. We can guess its acceleration and exhaust note push the Grecale’s driving experience toward “supercar” status, with a zero-to-60 time of 3.6 seconds. It also pushes the Grecale’s price into supercar territory, with the Trofeo trim starting at $105,500.

The Genesis GV70 delivers excellent luxury and value, while Porsche’s Macan matches the Grecale’s performance thrills. But the Grecale’s balance of premium materials, advanced tech, and emotional driving dynamics is unique to the segment. If that combination sounds appealing, the Grecale is likely worth the price bump. And for buyers seeking a pure electric option, the battery-powered Grecale Folgore, is due next year.



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