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Shopping for groceries in supercars: The Maserati MC20 Coupe vs. the Grecale Trofeo SUV

Coupe de coeur: Maserati's MC20. I wasn’t always so smitten. No, our relationship started awkwardly. Comically, really. As love affairs often do.
Coupe de coeur: Maserati’s MC20. I wasn’t always so smitten. No, our relationship started awkwardly. Comically, really. As love affairs often do.

It’s been a while now since the man came and took the Maserati MC20 away. I try not to think about that. Try putting that eight-speed, 621-horsepower Blu Infinito beauty out of my head.

I can’t. Not that I haven’t tried.

I’ve tried thinking about other cars in my life. Cars with far better fuel efficiency and trunk space and clearance off the ground. Cars that won’t bang or dent the doors of cars parked around me with a door that opens like a butterfly’s wing.

I’ve tried thinking about the MC20’s quarter-of-a-million (!) sticker-shocking price, too. ($256,050 as tested, to be exact.) You know, oh-so practical, common sense, thinking-with-your-head kinds of thoughts.

It’s not working. Each time I try to think practically, I drift back to the torrid, impractical moments we shared in the express lanes of South Florida.

How fast were we moving then? That’s our little secret. I’m not one to kick and tell.

I remember those moments when the sun would catch the curvy lines of the MC20’s triple-layer paint job and twinkle back at me – like a space telescope beaming a billion galaxies back from the Infinito Blu. I remember the night the two of us went to dinner by the beach at DUNE by Laurent Tourondel in Fort Lauderdale, and the valet at that sophisticated, seen-every-supercar on the block spot practically tripped over the median strip to park us out front where everybody could see us. Where he could show us off.

I mean, show off the Maserati MC20, of course. Because, darling, it was always about you.

Darling?! Oh now I’ve gone too far. At least for a car review.

“You better hope your wife never reads this,’’ a friend says, reading this. “Unless you want to sleep in the garage.”

He’s right. What is happening to me!?

Naturally, the valet parked the MC20 right out front of DUNE by Laurent Tourondel in Fort Lauderdale. Where everybody could see it.

I wasn’t always so smitten. No, our relationship started awkwardly. Comically, really. As love affairs often do.

I remember it was raining the day the man came and left the MC20 with me. So much rain, we laughed, I’d probably be using the “Wet’’ drive setting – among GT, Sport and Corsa options on the console dial – more than any other for the time we’d be together.

I gently pulled the butterfly-wing door up and open, and practically fell in the driver six-way power sport seat. I tugged the door closed – and we were alone at last. You showing off your bare-minimal instrument panel, supple leather and Alcantara interior, me awkwardly trying to figure out how to turn on the front lifter system – which raises the MC20’s body an extra 1.57 inches off the ground – because it looked like it was really going to storm all night.

Silly me. I’d left the owner’s manual in the kitchen, so I excused myself and pushed the button to open the butterfly door. Nothing happened. I tried pushing again. Nothing happened again.

I’d wanted to make a good first impression, the moment I saw you in the driveway. I shaved. I considered dry cleaning. I didn’t want to appear to be unsophisticated or inexperienced, pushing any of your buttons. I pulled out my phone and discreetly typed, “How … to open … butterfly-wing door … of Maserati MC20 Coupe … from inside.’’ And I was surprised to find so many hits on the question.

So, darling, I see you’d been with a few others before me? (I tried not to think about that.)

I finally learned from a YouTube video featuring a 9-year-old (apparent) genius that after I pushed the button, I simply had to push the butterfly door up to open. Duh. I laughed and like to think that’s when we finally started to get to know one another.

Me, because I was so comically inept getting to know you. You, because you were so emphatically worth getting to know.

And I’d been with so many cars that were not worth getting to know. Cars I got in and drove without even consulting the owner’s manual, figuring I’d figure out anything important later on down the road. Like, say, how to stop.

Not with the Maserati MC20. I pored over the owner’s manual before I even so much as touched the start/stop button on the steering wheel. Understood the intricacies of the electronic limited slip differential, the carbon ceramic braking system by Brembo, the double wishbone sport suspension with active dampers. Oh, the double wishbone sport suspension with active dampers!

I wanted to know everything about you before I pushed any of your buttons. Especially, you know, that one. The one on the steering wheel marked simply … “Launch.’’

“Wow!” my neighbor startled me from across the yard, seeing us parked together in the driveway. “What a car you got there!”

“Oh, ha ha, it’s not mine,” I managed, a little sheepishly, caught gazing at the Launch button. “It’s just mine for a few days.”

“Well, I like to see people doing well,” she said. “You look good together.”

She was right. We did. Everybody could see it.

Doors that open like butterfly wings on the Maserati MC20 Coupe.
On the wings of butterflies: The Maserati MC20 Coupe.

And we went on to share so much together. Startling 0-60 starts in 2.9 seconds. The Sonus faber audio system, which somehow softened the blast of the rear-mounted V6 engine so we could hear every Pavarotti note of “Nessun dorma” in the cockpit. The way we pressed into each other after each Launch, and held on through the soaring G-forces in the express lanes of South Florida.

Moments I thought would never end.

Until the day the man came and took the Maserati MC20 away. It was bound to happen, I guess. Contractually obligated, actually. I went back and read the fine print of the agreement, just to be sure.

Ours was never meant to be anything more than a car review. Just one of those things. Here today, into the hands of another reviewer tomorrow.

I try not to think about that. Try putting that eight-speed, 621 horsepower Blu Infinito beauty right out of my head.

I can’t. And not that I haven’t tried.

Maserati Grecale Trofel SUV, the practival supercar.
Pulling up for Little League practice in Maserati’s Grecale Trofeo SUV, the practical supercar.

Maserati vs. Maserati: Part II

Maserati’s MC20 may be the car you run off with to Paris, but the Grecale Trofeo is the one you want to run the kids to the park. Or to the grocery store. Or, well, to most any practical, real-world place.

Not that you won’t look good pulling up to a Little League field or grocery store or date night in Mizner Park in Maserati’s sparkling new SUV. You will. So good you may lose interest in even running off to Paris.

A brief review, before making any rash, life-changing decisions between the sleek and practical Grecale Trofeo and the sublime and wildly impractical MC20:

The Grecale Trofeo seats five. The MC20 seats two. (So make them count.)

The Grecale Trofeo has four conventional doors. The MC20 has two that open like butterfly wings. (Helpful hint: a number of YouTube videos show how to open them from inside the car. Just remember to bring your smartphone before pulling the door closed.)

The Grecale Trofeo has 20 cubic feet of storage space. The MC20 has … hang on, checking if the MC20 actually has storage space.

OK, I’m back. It does! Technically. How much storage space? Well, if you have to ask … you can’t afford to put anything other than yourself and one thoroughly vetted passenger in it.

OK, seriously: about as much space as you can fit into an overnight bag – assuming you’re packing a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. You might even have to toss out the owner’s manual, tucked like a California roll in the bento box of the “frunk,” to make room.

Grocery shopping in a Maserati MC20 Coupe: Technically possible. (The things we do for love).
Grocery shopping in a Maserati MC20 Coupe: Technically possible. (The things we do for love).

Sidebar No. 1: I tried shopping for groceries in the $256,050 MC20. Really. I called and placed an order for pickup, and the bagger dutifully wheeled my six bags out in the parking lot.

“Dude,” he said. “Where should I put all this?”

“Uh,” I said, opening and alternatively dismissing the trunk and frunk. “Maybe … on the passenger seat?”

And, good news for anyone shopping for groceries in supercars: all six grocery bags fit in there! Well, technically, they spilled into the passenger-seat footwell. But they fit! (When I firmly closed the butterfly door on them). So, technically, yeah! You can shop for groceries in a Maserati MC20. Dude!

Grocery shopping with the Maserati Trofeo Grecale.
Grocery shopping with the Maserati Trofeo Grecale.

Sidebar No. 2: Grocery shopping in the Grecale Trofeo is laughably easier. I popped the hatch, loaded my bags into the back and there was easily room for 20 more grocery bags – and the bagger himself – back there. I could barely see them in the distance of that engulfing space. Engulfing, at least, compared to the aforementioned bento storage box of the MC20.

“Dude!” my neighbor – no relation to the bagger – called from across the street after I got home with my groceries. “Where’s that Maserati bomb you were driving last week?”

“You mean the MC20?” I said. “That was a review car, like this one. I only get to drive them for a few days.”

“Too bad – that car was sick,’’ he said.

“Dude,” I sighed. “I miss it, too.’’

“Yeah, but, really, I like [the Grecale Trofeo] better. I’m a family man.”

I didn’t tell him this, because he’s my neighbor and I didn’t want to unleash any keeping-up-with-the-Jones’-Italian-supercar-next-door tensione in the neighborhood, but his kids would look just as sick coming out of the Grecale Trofeo at Little League as they would from an MC20. They’d be the envy of their friends and teammates – and might even dismantle any thoughts of running off to Paris of their own.

Because the Grecale Trofeo SUV offers many of the attributes so appealing in the much pricier MC20 coupe. Almost the same horsepower (523 hp vs. 621). Better fuel efficiency. Premium leather and Alcantara interior. Power seats. Triple-painted metallic finish. A skinny .7 seconds slower to 60 than the MC20, if you keep track of such things.

All that and you can bring more than a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste with you into the Blu Infinito. And four of your favorite passengers. And save about $130K – which, arguably, goes a ways in Paris.

The Grecale even adds an Off-Road drive mode, in addition to Comfort, GT, Sport and Race settings. Full disclosure, I didn’t try that one. I didn’t have the heart to muddy up that beautiful Blu Infinito SUV in some rut in the Big Cypress or Ocala National Forest.

I’m saving the Grecale Trofeo for more unconventional adventures. Like grocery shopping.

Just the stats

Maserati MC20 Coupe: Looks good even standing still.
Maserati MC20 Coupe: Looks good, even standing still in the rain.

Maserati MC20 Coupe

List price: $212,000; price as tested – which included carbon ceramic braking system, red brake calipers, 20-inch corsa forged wheels, Sonus faber sound system, among upgrades – $256,050.

Fuel efficiency: 15 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, 18 combined.

Fun fact: MC20 stands for Maserati Corse 2020, or “Maserati Racing 2020.’’

Contact: .

Maserati Grecale Trofeo: Looks good standing still, too.
Maserati Grecale Trofeo: Looks good standing still in the rain, too.

Maserati Grecale Trofeo

List price: $105,500; price as tested – which included premium plus package, yellow brake calipers, 21-inch staggered matte crio wheels, among upgrades – $120,100.

Fuel efficiency: 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, 20 combined.

Fun fact: The Gregale (Grecale in Italian) is a north-easterly Mediterranean wind. Trofeo means “Trophy.’’


Mark Gauert is the editor of City & Shore, the ֱ‘s magazine. Write to him at mgauert@sun-sentinel.com


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