The Trident’s Victorious Return with Maserati GranCabrio Folgore And Trofeo

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By Car Brand Experts


The iconic Italian automaker, Maserati, is striving to move past the era of Levante, Ghibli, and Quattroporte. The latest additions to its lineup – the GranCabrio Folgore and Trofeo – signify a departure from that era. The GranTurismo coupe and its GranCabrio droptop variant play a crucial role for Maserati, akin to a guiding light. While the company also boasts the MC20 supercar, the significance of the two-door four-seater cannot be understated. Maserati had to ensure the success of this model to shed the shadow of the trio of FCA horsemen of the apocalypse and the stale image of its predecessors.

My experience confirms that GranCabrio, available in electric Folgore and petrol-powered Trofeo versions, is a step in the right direction… mostly. It presents a significant improvement over the Maseratis of yesteryears, yet a few factors hinder it from achieving true excellence.

Full Disclosure: Maserati flew me to northern Italy, provided lavish accommodations, and served an abundance of fish, leaving me averse to it, all in exchange for test-driving the new GranCabrio Trofeo and Folgore.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Photo: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

In terms of aesthetics, the Maserati GranCabrio commands attention with its sleek design. The elongated hood, rounded fenders, and compact rear end exude the classic Maserati appeal, elevated further by the absence of a roof. The car’s low profile, characteristic of a true sports car, is accentuated by the decision to position the battery pack of the Folgore model in a T-shape along the car’s center. This not only enhances handling (which will be discussed later) but also allows Maserati to maintain the GranCabrio Folgore’s close-to-the-ground stance.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Photo: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

The designers openly acknowledge that the new GranCabrio maintains a similar appearance to its predecessor, and rightfully so. The original GC boasted an appealing design throughout its 11-year tenure. In my view, the continuity in design is not a drawback since the car remains visually enticing. Differentiating between the two models reveals minimal disparities, surprising considering the stark contrast in their powertrains. The only evident distinction between the Folgore and the Trofeo versions lies in a fender emblem, modified vents, and the aerodynamic wheels. The car’s appearance does not immediately signal its electric nature to onlookers.

Maserati GranCabrio Trofeo
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Photo: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

One area where Maserati did make significant changes is the interior of the GranCabrio. The previous iteration featured dated technology from the early Obama administration era and subpar build quality akin to a counterfeit “Gucci” bag from Canal Street. The new model introduces cutting-edge technology, an aesthetically pleasing design, and superior build quality rivaling that of a luxurious Nordstrom handbag. While it marks an improvement, there is still room for enhancement.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Captured: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

The interior technology is a strong suit for both the Trofeo and Folgore. These two vehicles share nearly identical interiors with slight variations in trim and materials. They feature a highly customizable dashboard display, a central infotainment touchscreen, a secondary angled touchscreen below for essential vehicle controls like HVAC and seat adjustments, and a small circular screen on the dashboard that can display various information such as time, a g-force meter, direction, or battery level indicator on the Folgore model. It may seem whimsical, but who said automobiles always had to be somber? In any case, these integrated systems harmonize beautifully and imbue the GranCabrio with a distinctly modern feel — a far cry from the first-generation GC. Coupled with luxurious leathers, metals, and premium-grade plastics, the interior creates a captivating ambiance.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Captured: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

Furthermore, it can accommodate four adults comfortably. While it may not offer the utmost comfort, it is achievable. Additionally, there is decent trunk space for some luggage.

However, irrespective of the chosen drivetrain, the GranCabrio cannot entirely shake off its Stellantis origins. Enthusiasts of Jeep vehicles will quickly notice familiar elements like the window controls, the excellent infotainment system, and the mounted buttons on the steering wheel’s rear. Having owned a 2004 Grand Cherokee previously, I recognized the similarity in the steering wheel buttons with those found in the Maserati. This fact can be hard to digest, especially when investing over $220,000 in an Italian sports car.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Captured: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

One notable aspect of the interior design that disappoints is how Maserati opted to integrate the transmission selector. Instead of a traditional shifter, there are four buttons on the dashboard located between the two central screens. The issue isn’t with the button configuration itself; while not my preference, it’s acceptable. The problem lies in the poor tactile feedback and quality of these buttons. They feel cheap, wobbly, and fail to exude the same high-end luxury as the rest of the interior. This is a letdown considering that each time you drive the GranCabrio, you interact with these buttons. While these buttons wouldn’t deter me from purchasing the car, I would expect superior quality from a brand striving to distinguish itself from its mainstream automotive siblings.

Maserati GranCabrio Trofeo
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Captured: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

That being said, the distinguishing factor where the GranCabrio Folgore and Trofeo truly excel beyond their automotive relatives is in their driving experience. We’ll touch on the propulsion methods shortly, but it’s crucial to emphasize the sheer pleasure of piloting these vehicles in any scenario — whether cruising around town at moderate speeds or pushing the rev limits on winding roads. Irrespective of the configuration, the power is always present, but for me, the real standout is the GranCabrio’s handling. These vehicles embrace cornering with enthusiasm, boasting ample grip (aided by the summer tires), a satisfyingly progressive brake pedal feel, and some of the most precise steering feedback I’ve encountered.

Maserati managed to capture the precise and agile handling typical of Italian automobiles. It’s best characterized as subtle. The tiniest movements lead to a change in direction, yet it maintains a stable feel. Moreover, the steering wheel provides detailed feedback. Driving over a pebble allows you to discern the type of rock it chipped off. This exceptional quality enhances the overall driving experience of the GranCabrio. Even in Folgore form, due to the T-shaped battery, the vehicle’s responsiveness and handling remain exceptional. It’s truly a remarkable engineering achievement to make this 5,249-pound car (Trofeo weighs 4,316 pounds) handle as gracefully as it does. The suspension setup of both variants is equally impressive. While they are quite similar, I’d say the Folgore is slightly softer. Nonetheless, both are expertly tuned to handle the imperfect roads of northern Italy with finesse, adeptly absorbing bumps while remaining agile for enthusiastic driving.

Maserati GranCabrio Trofeo
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Photo: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

As such, the Folgore and Trofeo share many similarities in their design and specifications, but beneath the surface, they are drastically different. The Trofeo is propelled by Maserati’s cutting-edge front-mid-mounted Nettuno twin-turbocharged V6 engine, generating 542 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque delivered through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. This power enables the grand tourer to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.6 seconds. While these figures are commendable, they are dwarfed by the performance of the Folgore.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Photo: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

According to Maserati, the Folgore features three electric motors (two in the rear and one upfront) that produce an incredible 818 horsepower and 996 lb-ft of torque. Remarkable. This potent setup propels the Folgore from 0 to 60 in a mind-blowing 2.7 seconds, a sensation that matches the rapid acceleration. It retains this impressive performance all the way up to 180 mph. Furthermore, the vehicle boasts a capacious 92.5-kWh battery (83 kWh usable) that powers these robust motors, allowing Maserati to claim an estimated range of 233 miles (EPA ratings pending). Recharging is also convenient; thanks to the 800-volt architecture, the Folgore can DC fast charge at up to 270 kW, efficiently bringing the battery from 20 to 80 percent in approximately 18 minutes.

In many regards, the Folgore stands alone. While the Trofeo competes with traditional rivals like the recently rejuvenated Bentley Continental GT, Mercedes-AMG SL, BMW 8 Series, and various Aston Martins (if price is disregarded), the GranCabrio Folgore occupies a unique niche. One could draw comparisons to cars like the Tesla Model S Plaid and Lucid Air Sapphire, although these parallels may be a stretch.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Photo: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

The term “standalone” is quite literal in this case. Not only is this the sole fully electric luxury convertible available, but it is also the solitary electric convertible offered in the U.S. at large, unless one fails to consider the GMC Hummer EV as a genuine convertible. Maserati has successfully created a truly remarkable option, tailored in a manner that appeals even to novice EV enthusiasts. Regrettably, the biggest drawback of the GranCabrio is its exorbitant price tag. Starting at $206,995 (inclusive of destination charges), it is slated to arrive at dealerships this autumn. Perhaps the premium is the fee for being the sole participant in this exclusive league, a notion that is somewhat understandable.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Image by: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

Commencing at an elevated $193,995 (inclusive of shipping), the Trofeo positions itself in an unusual price segment. It surpasses the cost of vehicles like the Lexus LC 500, BMW M8, Mercedes SL, and Porsche 911. At its price range, the Maserati faces stiff competition primarily from the Bentley Continental GT, which offers superior performance and upscale interior materials. However, the Bentley lags behind in driving dynamics, leaving the final preference to personal tastes. Despite my wish for a $50,000 cost reduction, the brand’s prestige—however tarnished over the past decade—still holds value. Mentioning to a layman that you own a Maserati generally garners more admiration than if you mention a BMW or Mercedes. This factor might justify the premium for some.

Both the Maserati GranCabrio Trofeo and Folgore stand out as exceptional grand tourers with a touch of athleticism. Buyers investing in either model are unlikely to regret their decision despite encountering some minor quality concerns and the premium required for a brand on the rise. Opting for one of these Maseratis over competitors seems justifiable given their performance; however, a few factors prevent them from leading the class outright.

Regarding my preference and potential purchase choice between the two, let’s put it this way: The V6 engine in the Trofeo doesn’t evoke the same emotion as the electric motors in the Folgore.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Image by: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Image by: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

Maserati GranCabrio Trofeo
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Image by: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore
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Image by: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

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