I’ve been a fan of the first-generation Maserati GranTurismo for years now. In some uncertain future, I’ve even thought of owning one. It’s an inspired combination of cutting-edge engineering and dynamic style.
The GranTurismo has also been, at times, the least expensive car in the world powered by a Ferrari engine; setting everything else aside, that’s saying something.
The second-generation GranTurismo has finally arrived, the previous model having spanned more than a decade (2007-19), an eternity for this industry. But with models such as the MC20 supercar, Levante SUV and Grecale compact SUV joining the Maserati fleet in the interim, there’s less pressure on the GranTurismo to uphold glory for the brand or drive sales.
This situation has allowed the engineering and design teams a certain freedom with the new model. So, too, has the decision to make the GranTurismo Folgore (Italian for lightning) the first all-electric model in the brand’s history – although this seemed, in part, to be prompted by production delays that pushed back the release of the Grecale line.
Last year, company leaders announced a new phase for Maserati, one that hinged on electrification. (By 2025, all Maserati models will feature an all-electric version.) They also signalled that this new path would accelerate a turnaround for the brand, something that, frankly, we hear from them often. The question is, does the 2024 Maserati GranTurismo Folgore have the juice to power this new era?
To find out, we journeyed to Italy and embarked on a three-day road trip from Rome to Tuscany and from Tuscany to Modena. The event introduced reporters to the GranTurismo Folgore and the new gas-powered GranTurismo, which now features a version of the twin-turbocharged V6 engine from the MC20.
But, first, the technical details.
The GranTurismo Folgore is powered by three 300-kilowatt motors, one at the front axle, the other two at the back. The combined output is more than 1,000 horsepower, but the car’s 92.5-kilowatt-hour battery is able to deliver around 760 of it to the wheels. Sophisticated torque vectoring software allows 100 per cent of the torque to go to the rear wheels; the system can also balance the torque automatically, front-to-back and side-to-side, depending on driving conditions and the lead quotient of the driver’s right foot.
Another innovative aspect is the battery pack. While many current EVs feature “skateboard-style” battery packs that run the length of the vehicles, the Folgore has a T-shaped battery with individual modules placed in various locations, including inside the tunnel where the transmission of the gas-powered GranTurismo normally resides. This move reduces the height of the battery pack and makes the Folgore, Maserati says, the lowest-riding EV on the market.
To cap off the numbers, the Folgore is built on an 800-volt architecture, which means recharging times can be among the quickest of any EV on the road today. The capability is there to add up to 160 kilometres of range in 10 minutes. Total range for the vehicle rolls in at roughly 450 kilometres. But the temptation to just floor it and go for broke will cut into that number significantly.
Here’s why you may well falter in your efforts to maximize driving range in the Maserati: The thing rockets to 100 kilometres an hour in 2.7 seconds. This is roughly half a second quicker than the fastest of the gas-powered models, the GranTurismo Trofeo. The electrified Italian also has a higher top speed, 325 kilometres an hour compared to 320.
The Folgore features four different drive modes, which are selected using a dial mounted on the steering wheel. The modes run the gamut from maximum range to maximum attack.
The most aggressive setting, Corsa mode, triggers the most performance from the powertrain; it also automatically lowers the air suspension, tightens the electronically controlled dampers and reduces the intervention from the traction and stability control systems. Although the Folgore weighs about 465 kilograms more than its gas-powered counterpart, it bends around corners with incredible agility. (If you guessed that Corsa mode was the most fun of the four, you guessed right.)
Rotating through the drive modes alters the look of the digital instrument panel, which displays important information such as speed and state of charge. If the Folgore has at least an 80-per-cent charge, the Launch Control system, accessible through the centre touchscreen, can be employed. (Bear it and grin … .)
Behind the wheel, the Folgore is exceedingly comfortable and well-suited to silent cross-country cruising. In Europe, the southernmost countries lag behind those in the north when it comes to EV charging infrastructure. Still, our daily driving distance of roughly 225 kilometres on this tour proved painless; a 30-minute stop at a properly equipped Autogrill highway rest stop is more than sufficient to boost the battery and throw back an espresso or three.
Although we’re driving preproduction versions of the Folgore, the attention to detail in the passenger cabin is clear to see. The two doors open super-wide to make it as easy as possible to enter. The visibility is improved over the previous GranTurismo, the result of a higher windshield and slimmer A-pillars that have been repositioned.
The seating surfaces are made of recycled fishing nets, the end result is perhaps not as luxurious as some might expect of Maserati. The Folgore is available with two interior colour combinations: one is ice/denim blue with ice stitching, the other in black with copper stitching.
In terms of spaciousness the start of the glass hatch is positioned just above the rear seat, making the space feel less claustrophobic. As to weekend getaways for four … well, this would have been easier to manage if the Folgore featured a front trunk (a “frunk”) in addition to the trunk, but no such luck.
The starting price for the 2024 Maserati GranTurismo Folgore has yet to be announced; rest assured, though, it will be steep — possibly $200,000-or-more steep. But there’s a lot to like about the car, especially its inherent cool factor and its performance, which is on par with the very best performance EVs out there. For Maserati, it’s a bold leap into the all-electric space.
The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.