For an Italian upper-crust marque that has carved its niche in track meets, it’s quite uncharacteristic for it to go off so late in the starting gates for the “green races”. Nevertheless, the game is afoot for Maserati, as it has just unveiled the first hybrid vehicle in its history on July 16 via a global digital reveal. Global production of the Ghibli Hybrid is stated to commence this September, while the actual presence of the hybrid on local shores will not be felt until towards the latter half of 2021.
The luxury sportscar maker, which still resonates the aura of the racetrack even if it has given up Grand Prix racing for decades now, still proudly wears the three-pointed trident head, and carries a legacy of emotionally charged designs by the best names in the business, powerful engines, and sometimes, as what auto historian Tony Lewin puts it, a tricky chassis.
Lewin adds, “The Italian marque is known for having an impulsive attitude to product planning that puts excitement and aesthetic excellence ahead of commercial prudence.”
Now, the challenge facing Maserati has been to enter the world of electrification without altering the brand’s core philosophy and values. The result, as communicated by Maserati during the unveiling, has been “the creation of the best possible hybrid”, retaining the unmistakable sound that has always distinguished every Maserati.
Maserati is so marinated in its own heritage, one might assume its roots stretched back to the dawn of motoring, rather than “just” to 1914. Still, as auto scribe Giles Chapman said, Maserati does have a history longer than Porsche’s and even that of Ferrari.
The unveiling of the new Ghibli Hybrid is a symbol that should spark the brand’s electric future. It might have entered late in the game, but seems to have gone full throttle to play catch up. Inquirer Motoring has received news that the global direction for Maserati as a brand would be to go full electric within the next few years.
The Ghibli Hybrid was developed by the Maserati Innovation Lab of Modena. The vehicle will be produced at the Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli Plant (AGAP) at Grugliasco (Turin).
It represents one of the most ambitious projects for Maserati, which after the announcement of the new engine for the MC20 super sports car, now seals the deal on another step forward to the brand’s new era.
The choice to introduce the hybrid technology on the Ghibli sedan has been no coincidence: This model, with over 100,000 units produced since its launch in 2013, perfectly embodies the Modena-based manufacturer’s DNA.
The arrival of the new Ghibli Hybrid thus expands the Maserati range, now more competitive and responsive to the demands of the market.
In a press statement, Maserati said that its Ghibli Hybrid is immediately recognizable, thanks in part to the new design of both exterior and interior. The common denominator of the restyling, developed by the Centro Stile Maserati, is the color blue, chosen to identify all cars with hybrid technology and the new world they represent.
On the exterior, blue characterizes the three iconic side air ducts, the brake calipers and the thunderbolt in the oval that encloses the Trident on the rear pillar. The same hue reappears inside the car, in particular on the embroidered seams of the seats. The new Ghibli Hybrid also introduces new stylistic content, starting from the new front grille, with bars redesigned to represent a tuning fork, a musical device that emits a sound of extreme purity, and which also evokes the Trident symbol itself. There are significant changes at the rear, where the light clusters have been completely restyled, with a boomerang-like profile inspired by the 3200 GT and the Alfieri concept car.
Hybrid tech exploits kinetic energy
In harmony with its DNA, Maserati has chosen a hybrid solution focused primarily on improving performance, while also reducing fuel consumption and cutting emissions.
The hybrid technology exploits kinetic energy the car accumulates when in motion, recovering it and transforming it into electricity during deceleration and braking, and storing it in a battery. The innovative powertrain, the outcome of in-depth engineering development work by the technicians and engineers of the Maserati Innovation Lab in Modena, combines an internal combustion engine (4 cylinders, turbo, displacement of 2.0 liters) with a 48-volt alternator and an additional electric supercharger (e-Booster) supported by a battery. This solution is unique in its segment, and is the first in a new generation of powertrains, with the ideal trade-off in performance, efficiency and driving pleasure.
The battery is mounted in the rear of the car, contributing to improved weight distribution. This version weighs about 80 kg less than the diesel variant.
Thanks to the maximum power output of 330 hp and torque of 450 Nm delivered from just 1,500 rpm, the new Ghibli Hybrid’s performance data is quite impressive: A top speed of 255 kph and acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in 5.7 seconds.
Ghibli Hybrid occupants can still revel in the unmistakable sound that characterizes all Maserati models, thanks to the optimized exhaust with specially designed resonators.
Intelligent Assistant multimedia system
The Ghibli Hybrid also marks the debut of the new Maserati Connect program, which enables constant connection with the car: The information exchange continues when on the move to improve the services offered to the driver. As well as updating the software packages, the system performs checks on the car and monitors the safety security services in emergencies.
The latest Maserati Intelligent Assistant multimedia system is based on digital inputs from Android Automotive, software that delivers an innovative user experience fully customizable to the driver’s personal preferences. The multimedia system’s more user-friendly HD screen with new graphics is increased from 8.4” to 10.1”. A new instrument panel with digital devices and new graphics is also introduced.