Maserati GranCabrio Folgore review: silence is golden in drop-top Italian | CAR Magazine

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore review: silence is golden in drop-top Italian

Published: 03 July 2024 Updated: 03 July 2024
Maserati GranCabrio Folgore front action
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Piers Ward

CAR's deputy editor, word wrangler, historic racer

By Piers Ward

CAR's deputy editor, word wrangler, historic racer

► Convertible electric Maserati driven
► Luxury and refinement dialled up to 11
► AWD, 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds

Not many people can pull off a pink car. The Micra that Nissan did in the early 2000s? No, thanks. A Maserati GranCabrio Folgore, on Lake Maggiore in Italy, with an electric powertrain? Go on then.

This is the all-new drop-top Maserati, available as both a Folgore version with an all-electric drivetrain, and as a Trofeo, which uses the twin-turbo V6 petrol from the MC20. The last-gen car was a sales hit for Maserati so the firm is back in the game with this version, playing in a rarefied pool with very few natural rivals for the Trofeo and even fewer for the Folgore.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore static beach

At a glance

Pros: Whisper quiet and so smooth, looks, build quality top notch, pace, ride quality

Cons: Not a sports car, optional paint colours look great but cost the earth

What’s new on the GranCabrio Folgore?

Everything. Not only has Maserati lopped the roof off the GranTurismo coupe, but it’s also the first time anyone has done a luxury, convertible electric car (and yes, we know the MG Cyberster exists but the price points are somewhat different).

It looks utterly stunning, arguably the best of Maserati’s current offerings, with a long-nose, mid-cab stance that works so well on convertibles, everything in proportion. The bonnet itself measures more than three square metres, so be wary of dinging it.

There’s nothing radical about the design, Maserati actively opting to follow the previous generations’ lines. To us, that seems sensible – even when the last car went off sale, having been in the market for well over a decade, it was still one of the better-looking cars on forecourts.

Incidentally, the petrol and electric versions have largely similar looks as Maserati has opted to keep a much more traditional front grille for both, rather than blanking off the Folgore’s. It’s just that the Folgore’s has a honeycomb effect and a blanking infill on the lower chin.

With a fabric folding roof that collapses in 15 seconds, there aren’t many packaging compromises so the looks aren’t spoiled by having to cram a roof into an awkward space. Boot space is improved from the last version but you’ll still need to pack carefully for a weekend away – it’s not Jaguar F-Type but squishy bags are your best bet. Both the GranCabrio and GranTurismo coupe were developed alongside each other, with torque vectoring possible on the Folgore thanks to its twin rear motors and allowing it to send up to 396bhp to a single rear wheel. Both are 65% aluminium but even with that lightweight material in use, the Folgore is still 440kg heavier than the Trofeo.

What are the specs?

Tri-motor (one front, two rear), 751bhp and 996lb ft, 0-62mph in just 2.8 seconds, 800V charging technology, 260-mile range. On paper, then, everything you’d want from an electric convertible.

Speed is never an issue and the way it can effortlessly increase the mph is something to behold in a convertible – it’s just so relaxing to have all the torque of the electric motors to silently flex the car.

The 83kWh battery is arranged in a ‘T’ shape under the car, Maserati opting not to go down the full skateboard route because they needed the car to sit lower, both for aesthetics and how it drives. As it is, it’s still 12mm taller than the last one.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore cabin

How does the GranCabrio Folgore drive?

As a car for wafting along the Riviera, few get close. The silent running that’s possible with an electric drivetrain suits it well, smoothly building torque and contributing to a car that feels relaxed with itself. No element seems to fight against another so it’s an easy car to relax into. Even in Italy, where some of the roads are sized much more for classic Fiat Pandas than the two-metre+ width of the Maserati.

There’s a bit of scuttle shake – more so than on the carbon-tubbed MC20 Cielo – but it’s not horrendous and the damping is well-judged.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore rear action

With the sun out and the speed limit of 50mph on smooth Italian roads, few cars get close to the Folgore’s feelgood factor.

It’s no sports car, though. Up the pace and you need to drop the drive mode into the sportiest Corsa setting to keep the body control in check, otherwise you can feel the near 2.5-tonne kerbweight trying to heave the car about. Once in Corsa, there are two suspension settings to choose from – ‘S’ will be better for British roads, ‘H’ keeps the body more tied down. You need to keep switching between the two, varying it depending on the road surface and topography because Maserati hasn’t quite nailed the compromise between them. Arguably, that doesn’t matter much with this sort of car. You want the handling one, go buy the Trofeo. Or the GranTurismo. Or the Porsche 911, come to think of it. But it’s still a pity that you can’t take advantage of the electric motors pace as much as you’d like.

What about the interior?

Quite simply a thing of beauty. Just as you’d expect from the outside looks, the Italians have nailed the mix of tech and luxury on the inside as well. There’s the odd nod to sustainability as the middle section of the seats is finished in Econyl, a recycled nylon material that sounds awful but both looks and feels good. Our cars had air-conditioned seats so there was no danger of a sweaty backside.

The touchscreen set-up is improved with a twin-screen approach that works well. The lower one controls all the climate and roof (although it’s a bit daft to have the roof control buried in a sub-menu) while the upper is your information screen with elements like the radio and nav.

Maserati GranCabrio Folgore cabin

One tip – avoid the orange effect in the carbon trim, dubbed 3D carbon with copper effect. It’s one more colour in a smorgasbord of finishes and isn’t needed. Keep it simple.

Rear room isn’t limo-generous but you can get two mid-sized adults back there without too much drama. It’s not a place to spend hours but because the backs of the front seats are quite sculpted, there’s enough knee room to make a trip down the coast road bearable. It’s certainly an improvement on the 911 Cabrio, if not quite as good as the Bentley Continental GTC.

Before you buy (trims and rivals)

There’s just the one trim but as you’d expect you can hit the options extensively. Maserati do some beautiful colours on the car but be aware as they’re unbelievably expensive – the Fuoriserie Matte Blue paint is £29,160, for instance.

Things like the air scarf are standard, which works well to keep your neck warm, while the excellent Sonus Faber stereo is available with either 11 or 13 speakers, the latter costing £3360.

As for rivals, there aren’t any as no-one else exists in this market. Sorry.

Verdict: Maserati GranCabrio Folgore

Those wanting to listen to the rasp of a V6 or a rumble of a V8 with the roof down need to park their preconceptions at the door. At no point did I miss the engine noise while driving the Folgore. It was a gloriously smooth and elegant way to enjoy a convertible, a very 21st century way of enjoying a bit of climate change.

It’s not the finest handling car because of the additional weight, but it offers something unique and interesting that should appeal if you live in sunnier climes. Miami, the south of France, the Italian lakes – you can see the GranCabrio Folgore working well at those spots. It lacks the look-at-me factor of a noisy engine, but for class and ease of driving, few get close.

Specs

Price when new: £185,610
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 83kWh battery useable, three e-motors, 751bhp, 996lb ft
Transmission: Single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Performance: 2.8sec 0-62mph, 180mph, 260-278-mile range (official), 0g/km
Weight / material: 2340kg
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4966/2113/1365

Photo Gallery

  • Maserati GranCabrio Folgore front action
  • Maserati GranCabrio Folgore front tracking
  • Maserati GranCabrio Folgore rear action
  • Maserati GranCabrio Folgore drone image
  • Maserati GranCabrio Folgore cabin
  • Maserati GranCabrio Folgore static
  • Maserati GranCabrio Folgore static beach

By Piers Ward

CAR's deputy editor, word wrangler, historic racer

Comments