The Maserati GranTurismo Folgore Looks Fabulous, But Do Electric GTs Make Sense?

Maserati Granturismo Folgore Topshot

This is the Maserati GranTurismo Folgore and it looks stunning. With even Aston Martin cranking out some absolute mingers (looking at you, DB11), it almost seemed like the era of the really pretty GT car was essentially over. How glad I am to be wrong. It takes the basic lines of the gorgeous old Maserati GranTurismo and sharpens them up a touch. Everything’s just a bit svelter, a bit softer, a bit more lovely. Fabulous.

While the old GranTurismo’s astonishing naturally-aspirated V8 is out of production, the GranTurismo Folgore packs electric power that pairs well with luxury sensibilities. Oh, and it should be quick enough to rip cat’s eyes out of the tarmac. Maserati expects a zero-to-60 mph time of just 2.6 seconds and a top speed north of 200 mph. Credit three electric motors cranking out 1,200 horsepower with achieving those feats. Charging time doesn’t sound bad either, an 800-volt architecture should let the GranTurismo Folgore gain 100 miles of range in just ten minutes. Jaw-droppingly impressive stuff from Maserati of all marques. It wasn’t that long ago that Maserati was plucking switchgear from the Dodge Dart, now it’s making what should be a world-class electric GT car. We just love to see it.

Granturismo Folgore Side

Best of all, Maserati isn’t the only manufacturer bringing an electric GT car to market. Rolls-Royce has the Spectre on the way, while Bentley is cooking up something of its own.

The GT space will soon enjoy a bevy of electric options, which begs a question: What role does an electric GT car have in today’s automotive landscape? Of course, I’m not shaming bourgeoisie decadence here, I want all the toys all the time, but I’m taking a more philosophical viewpoint.

See, a GT car is made for grand touring, criss-crossing areas like Europe with intent to learn new disciplines and experience culture. Fencing lessons in France, traversing the Alps, picking up painting in Italy, and experiencing wonderful cuisine all along the way.

It’s not a road trip of constant motion, but rather a holistic experience that broadens horizons and enriches the soul. [Ed note: Oh my sweet summer child. It’s a chance to drink in new places with new people! – MH] Of course, there is still a lot of travel involved, which brings up a question of charging.

Maserati Granturismo Folgore Charging

Short jaunts between destinations with plenty of time to stop for lunch should theoretically make for the perfect sort of trip for an EV, right? Well, only if consistent, reliable charging is available en route. While large cities like Toulouse and Napoli likely have a few working DC fast chargers, tiny hamlets might not have any charging stations as they only pop up where demand exists. What if someone on a grand tour wants to go to Christophe Bacquié in La Castellet but needs DC charging at their destination? They’d have to stop somewhere else to charge, adding travel time and delaying further experiences, and that’s assuming other charging stations are functional at all.

It’s no secret that public charging networks are hideously unreliable, and consistent charging is key when looking to cover serious distance. Researchers at the University of California Berkeley went around to public Level 3 charging stations and found that 22.7 percent were inoperable. Imagine if gas stations were much less common than they are now and that 22.7 percent of gas pumps didn’t work. It would drive you mad, right? Plus, electric charging networks are strained as it sits, with demand often outstripping the number of reliable Level 3 charging stations in any given area. Forbes reports that a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory claims that 3.4 Level 3 stations and 40 Level 2 stations will be needed for every 1,000 EVs. That may not sound like a lot at first, but it means that charger installation ramp-up would have to be extreme over the next several years to keep up with EV registrations.

Maserati Granturismo Folgore Rear

Don’t get me wrong, I like electric cars a lot. Even the smoothest of V12s can’t compete with the silky action of electric motors, and the convenience of at-home charging for short daily journeys is awesome. However, without substantial infrastructure investment, I’m not sure if an electric GT car plays well with the origin of the genre.

All photos courtesy of Maserati

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35 Responses

  1. That’s a swell looking car.

    And regarding charging infrastructure, the only way that I see the US getting cheaply spread out chargers across the country soon is to use the time-honored capitalistic model to “allow” a company/few companies to essentially monopolize. Think back to the railroads, oil companies, telephone companies, national food companies (McDonalds) and more recently Walmart, Apple, Amazon, Google, etc. They use sheer size and fiscal force blended with government support to spread out nationwide with cheap reliable charging systems squeezing out any local competition.

    Here’s YOUR opportunity to be the new CEO of an American company to dominate the market:

    I can see it now…Jason Torchinsky CEO of Sparky, Inc.
    Tagline: Go to Sparky.com and find one of our 10,000 fast cheap EV chargers nationwide…Just look for our blinking taillight

  2. Hey, look, everyone! Another overpriced 2-ton lardass of a supercar that only rich people can afford(which they will then use them as garage ornaments) with an obnoxiously oversized grille and more concern for looks and marketing than actual performance!

    Yeah, hard pass. Maserati isn’t anything like what they used to be.

    The Osca MT4, Tipo 61 “Birdcage” streamliner, 450S Coupe, now THAT is the cohort that Maserati should use as a basis for their design language. With today’s tech and aerodynamics knowledge, they could make it get acceptable range under street-legal driving conditions with a pack of under 25 kWh and keep the finished vehicle weight well under a ton by doing so. There are batteries today that in such a small package could do thousands of horsepower peak.

    Maserati, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lotus, Jaguar, Porsche, and the like all used to have such deliciously light and tossable cars, and now nearly all of their offerings are obese lardasses whose weight is on the order of a modern SUV, if the vehicle isn’t an SUV outright.

    1. Agreed – however – to dissent slightly:

      Batteries are heavy.

      Batteries that hold enough juice for GT-esque driving are heavy AND bulky.

      Heavy bulky batteries require strong chassis for safety.

      Strong chassis also required for safety regs.

      Strong chassis heavy.

      Stronger chassis also needed for better handling (stiffer etc)

      Stronger chassis heavier, need more power to push to high speed.

      Stronger chassis need more battery.

      More Battery weight more.

      etc etc.

      EV design is caught in that loop, where every point on the loop is a compromise between performance, range and handling efficiency (weight/balance): and every vehicle designer hits their own choice of acceptable compromise.

      Until batteries can achieve the same energy-storage density as liquid petrol this will always be the case.

      1. The McMurtry Speirling weighs under 1,000 kg, has more than 1,000 horsepower, and manages to fit a 60 kWh battery pack. It is claimed the car could have 30 minutes of track time on a full charge, and over 300 miles of range driven at street legal speeds on public roads.

        Batteries don’t need to get any denser to become viable for lightweight/nimble sports cars. They already are. The cars themselves have to be designed around the battery’s limitations. We need less drag, less bloat. This has the side benefit of making the car go faster on less horsepower, not just increasing range. This philosophy could also be applied to ICE cars and have massive positive impacts on fuel economy and performance. But the auto industry is not fond of this idea because it threatens the planned obsolescence business model that has been the reigning paradigm for more than a century, and would cannibalize the sales of vehicles with fatter margins.

        Maserati could easily make a sports car of similar size, power, and mass to the Speirling. It would have a greatly faster car as a result that could also potentially be much less expensive to operate. But it insists on building overweight crossovers dressed in drag that pretend to be race cars, that have little function beyond allowing some desperate rich dude to impress an overly materialistic subset of women and/or being used as garage ornaments, which eat one’s wallet every step of the way. I’m doubtful I’ll ever see this new Granturismo Folgore in person driving around the real world, or if I do, it might be a once in a lifetime event.

        Maserati has lost its way and disgraced its heritage. As has Ferrari, Lotus, Aston Martin, Porsche, and so many others. At least a Miata is still a relative featherweight, and it passes regulations as well.

  3. Looks fantastic and the specs look fun but I do agree that the current charging infrastructure isn’t going to lend itself well to what GT are meant to do. I can see it being a bit hard carving scenic roads out in the middle of nowhere with this car when you can’t find a charger within reasonable distance on your route. That said, I’d imagine that’s hardly going to be a real issue for most actual buyers of this thing who are probably going to spend more time posting about it on Instagram than they are actually going on “grand tours” with it.

    I’ll be more than happy to take it off their hands after the inevitable depreciation bomb hits though. 😉

    (I’m being a bit sarcastic, but it is a Maserati after all…)

  4. Honest question – what differentiates an electric Maserati, from an electric Porsche, Tesla, Corvette or any other EV apart from styling and interior decor? In an all EV landscape, how does any manufacturer intend to differentiate itself outside of the badge?

    Once upon a time, you didn’t buy a Maserati because it was reliable. You bought it because it sounded like sex, rewarded you with perfectly matched ratios that could be explored via a dogleg box and provided an overall driving experience that was UNIQUE.

    In the future, the electric Maserati will still be unreliable (probably more so) and will possess none of the allure of its combustion powered forebears. So what is the point really?

    1. well the EV will have fewer partsf or hte Italian car assemblers to muck up. so I would give it a 50/50 chance it would be more reliable.

      GTS are heavy and powerful, but Maserati units should not venture far from civilization or a dealer currently. so the range on this should not scare anyone, you can’t go far in ice either.

    2. You’ve already hit on half of it; the looks. The other half is the badge.
      Those two are already a big part of the reason that most people pick one car over another. With EV’s it’ll just become a bigger proportion.

    1. the color is pretty far from beautiful. But I have a thought that maybe it was just a plain old douche. The bro’s would not likely be caught dead in an EV for now, much less a pinkish one.

  5. This is a gorgeous car of the current time. I would be happy to have one in my garage. But it won’t/can’t be alone. At this level, I don’t think anyone is looking at one of these as a primary travel vehicle.

    But to your very valid point, I don’t think the Grand Touring lifestyle is undertaken anymore. Rarely are the gasoline contemporaries on weeks-long, continent-wide tours. These cars have outgrown or perhaps evolved beyond that wondrous use.

    As I type, I’m thinking maybe the large EarthRoamer and similar expedition-size/style builds are the new “GT” vehicles. What better way to [silently /s] display your wealth and culture than a huge vehicle that can reach far parts of the globe and the insinuation that you have the ability to take months off to drive yourself there.

  6. A beautiful car…until you get to that charge port. Is this the most out of place looking charge port door ever? Putting it on the side like a fuel filler would be much more attractive. If you’re going to move the charge port from the fender, you need to integrate it somehow.

  7. Maybe the silver lining of all these too expensive, heavy statusmobiles is that the owners will be the ones with the clout to piss and moan about the dire state of the charging network and actually get it to improve rapidly.

    1. I know quite a lot of Taycan owners arent happy with the charging experience when they roadtrip. Chargers break or are down for maintenance and it’s not known until they arrive.

  8. I have recently been trundling about in the most infuriating GT, a Jensen FF. Brilliantly engineered AWD anti-lock braked 130 mph continent crushing piece of 1969 genius. With a 15 gallon fuel tank! Yes the thing has a 150 mile range. Perfect for a grand tour of every filling station in Europe.

  9. Terrible colour and surgery scar on the rear bumper do not do this car any favours.

    It’s a very meh design, and I’d argue the DB11 is more attractive simply because at least it has some aggressiveness to it.

    This looks too much like a bar of soap.

    1. Not sure it’s a bar of soap, but it certainly is worse than the actual GranTurismo. It’s hard to believe that the GranTurismo came out 16 years ago; the styling is fresh.

      Yeah, the cutout on the bumper is horrible. It’s such a small detail, but it becomes so apparent. It looks like an afterthought. At least they could have put it up against an existing body panel gap to hide two seams…

      1. It’s all just so smooth without enough definition IMO.

        I still browse classifieds for early 2010s GranTurismos, that glorious sounding V8 and wonderful styling stand up today.

  10. Oh you kids!
    I remember when cross country travel involved impromptu valve jobs and generator overalls on old Volkswagens. Or old Ferraris with 3x the valves.

    I’m sure that if you are traveling from Michelin star to star the support system wil be in place.

  11. Nice looking car. I like that it doesn’t look angry. Makes it much more appealing and elegant and timeless. I think it’ll age well. It’s not unique IMHO, but it’s nice nonetheless.

  12. Looking at plugshare and filtering for non Tesla 75kw or better chargers you can barely driver 20 miles in western Europe without running into a charger. It would seem a traditional”gt” trip in western Europe would be fairly easy. Where EVs would suck would be the American style 900 mile a day road trip

    1. Yep, you stretched it even, there is chargers in every village of more than 1000 people, sometimes even much smaller than that. I think it’s more around every 10/15miles if you stay outside highways, and who likes to do a roadtrip on highways, it’s super boring and you spend 30$ per hour saved compared to the regular fast network, you see no landscape, you get no taste of local culture, boring.
      Highway is for business trips.

    2. I guarantee every hotel that is upmarket enough that the driver of a GT might stay there, already has a charge port. Be it a stately home deep in Wales or a bijou château in Tuscany.

  13. I don’t see it. The GranTurismo is a 15 year old design. It’s aged relatively well but this “restyle” makes it look like a Chinese knock-off.

    When every other automaker is building electrics from the ground up on new platforms, this looks incredibly lazy. We get a 15 year old gas car with electric motors shoved in and a questionable restyle and Maser expects people to pay supercar prices? Hard pass.

  14. Yes, an EV car for long trips is not optimal right now but someone that buys this will also have a Panamera sitting in their garage for that continental jaunt.

    1. I’d say more likely a Cayenne Turbo S, Range Rover, or even a Cullinan or Bentayga (the Levante is in the shop waiting for parts). At least for the North American continental jaunt.

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