When Maserati announced it would be taking to the grid in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship back in 2022, it did so with a sleek and sharply designed prototype grand tourer on the lake in Rome’s EUR district, on the eve of the city’s E-Prix. That prototype would evolve a year later into the new Maserati GranTurismo Folgore, a fully-electric grand tourer with supercar performance from its three 300kW motors.
This return to top-flight singe seater racing after 60 years signalled a radical new all-electric era for Maserati, with its stunning GranTurismo Folgore leading the charge for its road car division. With some of the greatest grand tourers in the marque’s back catalogue, starting with the A6 1500 in 1947, the design of the new GranTurismo was critical – it needed to define a new chapter for the company while referencing the iconic cars that had gone before it.
That responsibility fell to Maserati’s long-standing head of design Klaus Busse. With a firm understanding of the formula behind some of Maserati’s most successful road cars, the designer set about redefining the marque’s design language for the electric age.
“If you go back to the late 1940s, there was even a racing class created called Gran Turismo,” says Busse. They were cars you could drive to the racetrack, race it and then drive home again. That concept did not exist before either you had a race car or road car. So this racing class was the first class to combine the two, spawning Grand Turismo road cars like the A6 1500. Now, with Maserati back in racing in Formula E, it’s a time for us to define the idea of a grand tourer for the electric age.”
Driven by three motors, one in the front and two in the rear, the Folgore has a useable power output of close of 750 bhp. Each motor is specifically designed for the marque’s all-electric grand tourer by Maserati and the motors reach higher levels of power density (9.2 kW/kg), in part due to the silicon carbide (SiC) inverters derived from its work in Formula E. With 800v architecture, the Folgore’s batteries are aligned in a ‘T-bone’ shape down the middle of the car and across the back axel for better balance and weight distribution. “By putting the batteries the heaviest part of the car in the central part of the car, we get the perfect centre of gravity point, so you have fantastic performance,” says Busse.
Despite the radical changes under the bodywork, the Folgore retains the GranTurismo’s classic proportions on the outside, with Busse and his team keen to keep the long bonnet and the central body intersected by the four fenders - saomething Maserati call cofango. Made up of cofano (‘bonnet’) and parafango (‘fender’), the term refers to the single component of the car that includes both parts. Building on the previous generation GranTurismo, the Folgore is a tasteful evolution on the car that’s flown the flag for Maserati’s sporting lineage for the past decade.
Setting the Folgore apart from its combustion-engined sister are subtle stylistic changes, such as Folgore badging behind the front wheel, a three-spoke rim design exclusively for the Folgore, no exhausts and a smoother, more aerodynamic grille and rear splitter to enhance the car’s efficiency and optimise its 450km range. “We have a different wheel design which is even more fine-tuned for aerodynamics and therefore range, and the grille is slightly different because it has slightly different cooling requirements,” explains Busse.
On the inside, the electric GT features a new, more sustainable material called Econyl®, which is made from recycled nylon obtained from fishing nets recovered from the sea. Up front, the tech and infotainment is housed in two angled screens that make up the centre console, as well as digital dials giving all the usual regen and range readouts. Flanking the steering wheel are two metal paddles, which control the level of battery regen, giving drivers the chance to feel like Maserati MSG Racing’s Maxamilian Guenther or Edoardo Mortara on the daily drive.
With Maserati finding its groove in Formula E and more all-electric road cars on route, the GranTurismo has set a high bar for the Modenese manufacturer to stick to. Transferring those learnings from the race track to road will the aim for team as it continues to fight for championships all while reimagining its road car range but if the GranTurismo is anything to go by, the future of the mighty Trident looks very promising indeed.