Maserati is mounting a luxury comeback with all-new sports cars and a slate of SUV models—first with the midsize Levante and now with the smaller Grecale. Naturally, we’re most interested in the 2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo high-performance flavor featuring the automaker’s exclusive Nettuno V-6 engine, which could be just enough to set it apart from the equally Italian Alfa Romeo Stelvio the Grecale is based on.
More Power to More People
Maserati’s Nettuno V-6 engine strategy is exactly what enthusiasts look for: Put the good engine in all the good cars. Coming from the Maserati MC20 sports car, the Nettuno 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 in the 2023 Grecale Trofeo is tuned to 523 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque, mated to a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic and powering all four wheels. It all allowed the SUV to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a blistering 3.7 seconds in our testing, and the engine sounds good doing it.
The Trofeo feels light and carries speed easily through corners. It offers sharp steering feedback, a well-balanced ride, and responsive braking thanks to its Brembo setup.
There’s no mistaking this is one of the sportiest SUVs we tested this year, and it goes as good as it sounds when you get into it, though its flirtation with track performance versus stuff like family comfort may strike some as a bit one-note. That said, the seats and their bolstering are comfortable and supportive, whether you’re cruising down the highway or attacking a corner.
Our test Trofeo came with a super-sweet red interior seating treatment that impressed everyone who sat in it. There are also four digital display screens on the dashboard, including a new digital clock you can program to function as a g-meter, compass, or even a digital assistant that responds to voice commands. The screens are relatively easy to navigate with a good response rate and nice feedback, though they are prone to fingerprints.
Inside this six-figure Trofeo, the second row was spacious and well equipped, and the Maserati offered plenty of cargo storage in the rear. The cabin is classically pretty with a beautiful mix of old-world stitching and tufted leather, plus aluminum, carbon fiber, and clear, crisp screens.
If everything looks good inside and out, what’s the problem? Our biggest gripes against the 2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo come down to value. Maserati claims to be the only true “luxury” brand in the Stellantis corporate lineup, but many of our editors thought the Trofeo didn’t do enough to distance itself from the equally titillating Alfa Romeo Stelvio it shares the Giorgio platform with—especially when priced at more than $120,000 as tested. You get a few more inches of cargo room with the Grecale body, as well as that treat of an engine, but we couldn’t shake the familiar impression of the cheaper Stelvio during our time with it. Plus, the Stelvio with “just” 505 hp is nonetheless quicker.
The Grecale Trofeo’s performance seems best in the Sport drive mode, which doesn’t take it nearly as far as the SUV’s available Corsa mode. The latter is ostensibly meant for the track, but it made the Grecale worse there because of how insanely stiff the suspension becomes. In Corsa mode, the SUV reacted disproportionately to minor pavement imperfections, feeling disconcertingly unsettled as its body bounced over the road. Woe be upon anyone’s spine who uses Corsa on the street; fortunately, the suspension settles down significantly in Sport mode.
Additionally, multiple editors noted an alarming “clunk” and body vibration when engaging reverse gear, and the dashboard-mounted shifter buttons aren’t the best use of the available space.
Still a Good Drive
Like it or not, the 2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo is exactly what you should expect from a performance-tuned SUV from the Italian luxury marque. The company has packaged its sports car engine in a family-friendly body style and upgraded the rest to keep up. The result is a super quick and incredibly fun SUV to drive, still offering a fair amount of comfort, luxury, and practicality. Priced at more than $100,000, interested shoppers are wise to also consider a performance SUV from Audi, BMW, or Porsche. But none of those has a Nettuno V-6 and its accompanying sound under the hood.
Looks good! More details?
|2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo Specifications|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$122,255|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||3.0L Twin-turbo port- and direct-injected DOHC 24-valve 90-degree V-6|
|POWER (SAE NET)||523 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||457 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,584 lb (53/47%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||191.3 x 77.9 x 65.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||12.2 sec @ 113.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||108 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.87 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.2 sec @ 0.76 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||18/25/20 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||338 miles|
|ON SALE||Fall 2022|