Petrol beats electric, for now
At a glance
  • Handling
  • Comfort
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Interior
  • Practicality
  • Costs
Stylish looks
V6 model drives well
There’s an electric option
The Folgore feels heavy
Still a 2+2
Not cheap
  • Variant: Folgore
  • Price: £185,610
  • Engine: 3 x 300kW electric motors with 83kWh battery
  • Power: 750bhp nominal, 817bhp with MaxBoost
  • Torque: 996lb ft
  • Transmission: Single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
  • Acceleration: 0-62mph: 2.8 secs
  • Top Speed: 180mph
  • Fuel: Range: 259-278 miles
  • co2: 0g/km
  • Road tax band: Free until April 2025
  • Dimensions: 4,966mm x 1,957mm x 1,365mm
  • Release Date: Now

Maserati GranCabrio 2024 review: Petrol or electric? There's one clear winner

There's one clear star of the line-up

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When you think of the ideal big Maserati convertible, a few prerequisites probably come to mind. It has to look good, for starters – and, with hints of MC20 supercar to it, that’s a “tick” on the scoresheet for this sleek new GranCabrio. It should also have an elegant cabin – another checkmark for this newcomer. And then there really ought to be a noisy V8 under the bonnet. Ah. Well. About that…

You see, the decarbonisation of every manufacturer’s fleet applies to marques grand and small, and Maserati is no exception to the rule. Which means that, while there is an internal-combustion model of the new GranCabrio called the Trofeo, the one that is going to hog the headlines is the Folgore.

Maserati GranCabrio

This is a super-luxurious, ultra-high-performance, open-top grand tourer aiming to drag Maserati into the modern-day electric vehicle (EV) arms race. And, in case you were wondering, Folgore is the Italian word for “Lightning”.

There’s certainly do doubting whether that’s a misnomer or not when you look at the electric GranCabrio’s astonishing on-paper stats.

It has three electric motors, one mounted on the front axle and the other two at the rear, which means the GranCabrio Folgore has four-wheel drive with torque-vectoring at the back. That means it has the ability to modulate power on each of the rear wheels individually, depending on conditions.

Maserati GranCabrio

Despite weighing a colossal 445kg more than its Trofeo V6 relation, the Folgore is much the quicker accelerating of the two, running 0-62mph in a scandalous 2.8 seconds – compared to 3.6 seconds for the petrol-powered GranCabrio.

It manages this, and – unusually for an EV – a top speed of 180mph, rather than one limited to something relatively low to preserve the battery, thanks to the fact that each of its 300kW electric motors develops 402bhp on its own.

Before you get carried away with a calculator, we must tell you that Maserati doesn’t let the Folgore run its maximum potential 1,206bhp, instead restricting it to a still-substantial 750bhp. For brief, time-limited periods, it can up that figure to 830bhp as part of a process Maserati calls “MaxBoost”.

Maserati GranCabrio

Yet it’s the torque figure (twisting force) of up to 996lb ft that stands out amid all these ridiculous Top Trumps-like stats.

That’s a simply huge amount and it translates into a car which is just monstrously rapid in a straight line, no matter what speed you’re rolling at when you demand more of the Folgore.

Step on the accelerator pedal and the forces deployed are enough to snap your head back into the seat, no matter how much you try and prepare yourself for the subsequent feeling of having been shoved in the back by a planet.

It’s all very impressive, even if you’re used to the power delivery of fast EVs, and we can see how the Folgore is going to conquer new markets for Maserati. But, if we’re honest, after the first few exploratory efforts of sampling its monumental power, the rest of this GranCabrio’s talents proved to be rather more elusive.

Maserati GranCabrio

For instance, there isn’t the trademarke Marathi soundtrack to go with all this sensational speed. There’s a faint whirring sound and the hint of some internal-combustion-mimicking fakery at times, but no real tune – synthetic or not – is evident to overlay the scenery that is going at ten-times fast-forward through the windscreen as you accelerate. Which makes the pace of the Folgore a curiously uninvolving and remote experience.

Much like the handling, to be fair. Maserati has done much to corral the weight of the Folgore but you will sense it on the approach to every corner, because inevitably you’re braking all that much harder from all the easily won and colossal amount of speed you’ll have picked up on the preceding straight.

And it is at this point that the GranCabrio Folgore feels uncomfortable, as you almost have to wrestle with it to get it back down to the right speed for the bend. It also feels quite ponderous for body control, so there’s not much joy in trying to hustle the Maserati soft-top like a sports car.

So as a performance machine, aside from the excessive speed, the GranCabrio Folgore doesn’t really convince. But it doesn’t thoroughly convince as a grand tourer, either, because the workings of the suspension on the Folgore is considerably more noticeable at all speeds than it is on the Trofeo.

You sense more of the wheels moving up and down in the arches at all speeds, which can translate into a few too many thumps and bumps making their way into the cabin on rougher roads at town pace. It settles down a bit at higher velocity but it always feels that touch more leaden on its feet than the petrol version.

Maserati GranCabrio

So the GranCabrio Trofeo is a far more convincing all-round prospect than the Folgore, and probably deserves more column space than it’s going to get sitting in the EV’s shadow.

Its 3-litre twin-turbo V6 is shared with the Maserati MC20 supercar, as is the eight-speed automatic transmission the Trofeo uses.

Indeed, if you’ve driven a lot of Alfa Romeos powered by that company’s 2.9-litre V6, the Maserati drivetrain will feel – and sound – familiar, despite the fact that both companies insist these are separately developed engines.

Maserati GranCabrio

Nevertheless, while the 3-litre engine in the GranCabrio Trofeo isn’t quite as sonorous as the 4.7-litre V8 in the old car this model supersedes, it still sounds terrific under load and gives the Maserati the thoroughly sporty acoustics a car like this deserves.

And while it is no nimble sports car, given that it’s nearly five metres long and two metres wide, the 1.9-tonne kerb weight results in a much more involving, enjoyable driving experience than the Folgore, even if the 542bhp Trofeo is never quite as startlingly fast in a straight line as the electric one.

It’s more than quick enough for most people’s needs, given it will still run 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and go on to a higher 196mph top speed.

Of course, that’s only relevant where such velocity is either legal and/ or appropriate; on an empty Autobahn or a racetrack, basically. Neither of which place will appeal to an owner of an open-topped GT.

The Trofeo definitely has the superior agility on a twisty road, never providing that sensation you get in the Folgore in similar circumstances, where it can feel like you’re trying to move a grand piano rapidly down a very narrow staircase without damaging it.

Maserati GranCabrio

Instead, the GranCabrio V6 turns in sweetly, feels more balanced and composed – although it has more body roll than the keenest drivers would want – and generally better rewards with a cohesive display that overshadows the rather binary “point and shoot” approach you need to adopt in the Folgore.

But, more realistically, where the Trofeo further proves its credentials is that it rides more smoothly at all times than the Folgore.

You’re never as acutely aware of the size of the alloy wheels at all four corners of the car in the petrol Maserati as you are in the electric one. And so, while the near-silence of the Folgore’s drivetrain gives it an edge for refinement in terms of noise, when it comes to the all-round rolling comfort that a dignified grand tourer needs there’s no doubt the Trofeo makes a much better fist of the job.

In other regards, the GranCabrio is an impressive piece of work, whether it be a Folgore or a Trofeo. The styling is neat, if not drop-dead gorgeous, it being a sleeker evolution of the long-serving car which went before, only titivated with some MC20 cues.

Maserati GranCabrio

These include smaller, upright headlights and a simpler oval grille bearing the famous Trident logo, although at the back the light clusters of the new GranCabrio look a lot like those of the old model.

There are very subtle differences between the Trofeo and Folgore externally, including different grilles and front-bumper air intakes according to the cooling requirements of their respective drivetrains, while the charging port for the EV is situated beneath one of the rear light clusters – somewhat awkwardly, in all fairness, as it could have been more neatly integrated elsewhere on the car’s body.

Another feature of Maseratis past and present is the long distance between the front wheels and the rear, and in the GranCabrio’s case this feature is an attempt to maximise cabin space.

Maserati GranCabrio

To an extent, this has worked. You’d still call it a “2+2” rather than an out-and-out four-seater, especially if you’re truly intending to go grand touring in it across a continent; no one is going to thank you for making them sit in the back of the Maserati for thousands of miles on end.

But taller passengers can sit in the second row in a reasonable degree of comfort, although it needs some careful shuffling and positioning of the front seats in order for them to do so. In short, two couples could probably go to dinner in the GranCabrio, as long as one partner in each duo was less than six-foot tall.

Passenger space is better than boot volume, though. If the romantic ideal of cars like this is that they’ll travel long distances on holiday with a suitcase-swallowing cargo bay to match, you need more than a feeble 172 litres (in the Trofeo with its hood up) to play with – and that number tumbles to just 114 litres in the Folgore with the hood folded away. A Fiat 500 Electric has more boot capacity than any GranCabrio model.

Maserati GranCabrio

It’ll mean that those exquisitely trimmed rear seats in the Maserati will inevitably be used to stash luggage, more often than they ever will the backsides of human passengers.

But otherwise, the GranCabrio’s cabin is a success. It’s beautifully appointed and put together, with little in the way of squeaks, creak and groans from any of the trimmings while the car is on the move, hood up or down.

Technologically, the main 12.3in touchscreen looks good and works nicely, there’s a 12.2in digital driver’s cluster which is also excellent, and then the 8.8in “comfort display” houses the climate controls, with a very discreet set of drive selector buttons slotted in above it.

There’s also a digital interpretation of the traditional Maserati clock in the dash, “Econyl” seat trimmings in the Folgore make use of recycled nylon for an ecological bent, the fabric roof can be raised or lowered in just 14-16 seconds (including on the move at speeds of up to 31mph), there’s a configurable head-up display, a powerful 815-watt, 13-speaker Sonos Faber sound system, and even little vents in the front seats which blow warm air around the occupants’ necks.

Maserati GranCabrio

Our one gripe with the GranCabrio’s cabin relates to the unnecessary “push button to exit” door release mechanism, which – as it ever does with these things – requires a secondary, back-up physical lever to be placed in the door bin. We could do without these, in favour of a nicely sculpted, single mechanical door handle.

But overall, this is a largely superb grand tourer. Which means the rating in this review is for the Folgore, rather than the Trofeo. The electric GranCabrio is a car designed to satiate those with an incredibly short attention span – probably youthful multibillionaires who’ve made their fortune on the internet, mainly through YouTube.

It’s an incredible piece of engineering to stuff all that powerful EV running gear into a grand tourer that remains long, low and lithe, and there’s a truly eye-opening experience to fully deploying the outrageous outputs the Folgore’s motors can summon up.

Maserati GranCabrio

So it’s not without its merits. But as a car for a driving enthusiast, it falls short. It always feels heavy and inert, a vehicle which masks its clear deficiencies in corner speeds with ballistic electric urge on the straights. It’s a brutally effective tactic, but not a particularly beguiling one.

Luckily, if you want a Maserati GranCabrio that feels a wholly more joyous thing to steer, there’s always the V6 Trofeo – which we think, rightly or wrongly in an age when we’re all supposed to be going electric, is a clearly superior car to its Folgore relation.

Good looks, a quality cabin and a decent soundtrack? Yep, the GranCabrio Trofeo ticks all of those boxes… and a few more besides.

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