The hybrid-electric era begins for Maserati
Maserati unveils its first-ever petrol-electric hybrid, the 2021 Ghibli Hybrid.
You know that Europe’s tightening emissions standards are starting to bite when even famously hedonistic brands like Maserati are reigning in their petrol guzzling ways.
The Italian luxury marque has long been renowned for its beautifully designed luxury cars, as well as the delicious growl of their signature V8 engines. And while the sensual style of this latest Ghibli sedan is undiminished, its thrifty petrol-electric drivetrain is unlike anything the company has attempted before.
Maserati says the Ghibli Hybrid is the first step on its journey to offering fully electrified models, which begins with the GranTurismo and GranCabrio EVs that are scheduled to begin production in Turin, Italy, next year.
Until then, luxury sedan fans that have an eye on our rising sea levels can appease themselves with this new Ghibli Hybrid, the first battery-electric car from the Italian car maker and its first all-new powertrain in several years.
Based on the current twin-turbocharged V6 Ghibli sedan, the 2021 Ghibli Hybrid mates an FCA-sourced turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, with a 48V mild-hybrid system, to deliver the best elements of performance and fuel economy, according to Maserati.
The hybrid system features a belt start generator (BSG), boot-mounted battery, a DC/DC converter, and an eBooster which works in tandem with the turbocharger to provide a power boost at low engine speeds and an additional boost when it reaches peak revs in sports mode. Maserati says the BSG does the job of an alternator, recovers energy during braking/deceleration, and charges the battery, which in turn powers the engine’s eBooster.
Driving the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, the combination delivers outputs of 246kW/450Nm, which translates to a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 255km/h. While that’s slightly behind the base V6 twin-turbo’s 5.5 second and 267km/h claims, the new model cuts fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 20 and 25% respectively, when compared to that model. Maserati claims combined-cycle fuel consumption of between 8.6 and 9.6L/100km.
For those worried the Hybrid system will dull the roar of the brand’s signature engine growl, Maserati has assured prospective owners the Ghibli Hybrid will deliver on the brand’s distinctive growl, thanks to tweaks to its exhaust resonators.
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Stylistically, the Ghibli is instantly recognisable against competitors including the BMW 5-series due to its elegant looks, with the hybrid set to introduce special blue-coloured trim elements to distinguish it from the rest of the range. Other specific design changes include new bumpers, taillights, and a redesigned gear selector.
Tech-wise, all hybrid variants will feature Maserati’s Intelligent Assistant (MIA) multimedia system, with 10.1-inch touch screen. The Ghibli also features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, an eight-speaker sound system, a powered tailgate with hands-free control, assisted door closure and keyless entry and start.
Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot assist, seven airbags and a rear-view camera. Owners can also option in traffic-sign recognition, a surround-view camera, an active speed limiter and a wireless smartphone charger.
The 2021 Ghibli Hybrid is expected to reach Australian showrooms early next year, the first of a wave of new models that will include the GranTurismo and GranCabrio EVs, the all-new MC20 sports car, and a new small SUV. Final specification and pricing are yet to be confirmed, but the current Ghibli range begins at $139,990 and stretches to $184,990 (plus on-road costs).