Maserati’s new Grecale Modena Sport SUV

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All images: Masarati S.P.A

The petite performer: a look at Maserati’s new Grecale Modena Sport SUV

6 June 2024 • Written by Simon de Burton

Maserati’s new Grecale Modena Sport SUV is small but perfectly formed, says Simon de Burton.

Car designers have faced a growing problem in recent decades: people are getting both bigger and more demanding. Cars have got more sizeable to accommodate larger occupants and to provide sufficient space for all the extras that we now expect as standard, from concert-worthy sound systems to massage seats and TV screens.

Virtually every type of car on the road has grown but no category has expanded in all directions to quite the extent that the SUV has – a case in point being the benchmark Range Rover. When the so-called Classic version arrived in 1970, it was 445 centimetres long and 178 centimetres wide, while the 2024 model is almost 30 centimetres wider and nearly 60 centimetres longer.

But if you’re on the hunt for an ultra-stylish SUV that isn’t huge, has impressive performance and offers a wide choice of equipment, don’t despair, because car designers haven’t forgotten that some of us really do believe that less can be more. Not least Maserati.

Having launched its Levante back in 2016, the Trident marque set to work creating a smaller cousin – and the result was the Grecale, which arrived in 2023 and has gradually been attracting buyers seeking the appointments and performance of a premium SUV, without worrying about scraping its paintwork when driving between hedges on tight country lanes.

Although there’s no shortage of competition in the Grecale’s segment – it’s vying with cars such as the Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace – none of the others match the distinct Maserati character that blends quiet superiority, playboy raffishness, low-key sophistication and sprightly performance.

Maserati has long been the go-to marque for people who love driving but who find Ferraris too flash and Alfa Romeos a little too pedestrian. It is, if you like, the thinking person’s choice and whether you go for the mild hybrid Modena or  GT models, or the high-performance Trofeo fitted with the visceral, three-litre Nettuno V6, twin-turbo engine, you’ll know you’re driving a Maserati.

And if none of those quite hits the mark, then an all-new limited-edition Grecale called the Modena Sport just might. Landing between the Modena and the Trofeo, it gets a 330-horsepower, two-litre engine matched to an eight-speed gearbox that enables the car to whip from a standstill to 100 kilometres per hour in just 5.3 seconds and continue to a top speed of 239 kilometres per hour.

Special Crio gloss black forged wheels mark out the car as a Modena Sport, along with black exterior trim and badging to complement a choice of paint colours.

Inside, full premium leather comes in black or red along with high-gloss, piano-black wood trim and a plethora of tech, which includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto (which shows your apps on your car display), wireless charging and twin touchscreens. You also get a superb Sonus Faber premium sound system.

The Modena Sport heralds what looks set to be a significant summer season for the 110-year-old Maserati marque – not least since it will also use the Grecale as the platform for its first 100 per cent battery electric vehicle (BEV), which follows the two-door electric GranTurismo Folgore coupe and precedes the GranCabrio Folgore, to be launched later this year after a new petrol version.

SUV fans who still don’t believe that small is beautiful, however, will have to wait a whole three years before the trident logo appears on the front of a full-sized model powered purely by electricity – but it won’t just be an electrified Levante. For the time-being, Maserati is describing it simply as “a brand-new, large E-UV”, which the designers are toiling away on right now.

Engine Two-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder mild hybrid
Power: 330hp @ 5,750rpm
Top speed: 239km/h
Torque: 450Nm @ 2,000 to 4,000rpm
Acceleration: 0 to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds
Price: £72,235

First published in the April 2024 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

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