It’s said that the longest journey begins with a single step. Maserati has taken their first step into the world of hybrid cars with the release of the Ghibli. The classic Italian auto manufacturer has given its four-door luxury sportscar a partially electric heartbeat, replacing the sweet V6 with a four-cylinder and 48V battery system. The turbocharged gasoline four is good for 330 horsepower and Maserati says torque is 332 ft-lb (450Nm) at 4,000rpm. This endows the sleek machine with enough oomph to see 62mph (100kph) in 5.7 seconds whilst sipping an average of 26.1mpg (9.0L/100km). Emissions have been reduced by up to 25% and the Ghibli hybrid keeps the standard car’s 80L tank.
Maserati gave the development of the hybrid some serious back-office support, with a team of 100 members working on all aspects of the car and its new drive system. The Maserati 48 volt hybrid system has four parts: BSG or Belt Start Generator, battery, eBooster and a DC/DC converter. The BSG is akin to an alternator and here it recovers energy during braking or deceleration and charges the battery in the boot, which in turn powers the engine’s eBooster.
This device works with the 2.0L engine’s turbo and will assist it by providing backup, powering side by side, or providing the engine’s output at low revs when the turbo is on idle. This will ensure that the eBooster is always available and on-demand. for the battery or BSG. Maserati says this is a unique combination, providing an extra boost when the engine reaches peak rpm in Sport mode, or when in normal mode it balances fuel use and performance. They’ve also stayed with their eight-speed auto transmission.
Maserati has a legendary reputation for the soundtrack they extract from the Ghibli’s normal power source, the V6, and they’ve ensured that that turbo four and electric drive don’t lose out on the aural appeal. There’s no electronic artificial noise generation here, rather, says Maserati, a method of changing the dynamics of the exhausts and fine-tuning exhaust resonators to deliver that famous Maserati roar.
Weight balance has been improved with the lighter engine up front balanced by the battery mass in the rear. This better weight distribution has allowed the team to tweak the suspension by employing all-aluminum double wishbones up front and a five-bar multi-link aluminum suspension arms rear. Steel springs and anti-roll bars are connected to fixed-rate dampers for precise handling.
The company’s bespoke “Skyhook” suspension system, an electronically controlled damper setup for each corner, is standard on the GranSport, and Maserati offers this as an option on the other Ghibli models. The standard setting is Comfort, one most drivers would ignore when they exploit the power and handling by pressing the suspension button. Body roll is reduced, the dampeners stiffen up and minimize longitudinal and lateral load shifting, with the onboard sensors adjusting with fluid precision the characteristics of the dampers depending on velocity, the wheel movements at each corner and even the vehicle’s body movement.
Naturally, there’s no lack of luxury for the big car. It’s just under five meters in length and has a whopping three-meter wheelbase. This translates into plenty of legroom for the cabin, and a massive 500L of boot space. Soft-close doors have a sensor that quietly and fully closes the doors if they read a partial closure, and the boot lid is now powered with foot movement activation for opening and closing.
When not listening to the engine’s soundtrack, Bowers and Wilkins provide a 280W system as standard or a 900W 12 channel amplifier in the Premium Sound system. And for when too much is never enough, the Premium Surround Sound audio package delivers power to 15 speakers from a 1,280W QuantumLogic amp. The rear shelf has two 100 mm Kevlar mid-range drivers and a 315×200 mm sub-woofer for that stomach-trembling bass. The system includes the Clari-Fi music restoration function as standard, which scans all types of compressed audio files for lost music details, intelligently corrects waveform deficiencies and restores high-fidelity by removing unwanted distortion.
Being a Maserati means only the finest of trims will suffice. The sport-oriented trim level is GranSport. The front seats have 12-way power adjustability and anti-whiplash headrests. There are aluminum paddles for superfast gear changes, Inox sports pedals and superbly crafted Black Piano hi-gloss wood trim. For the less sporting and more luxury inclined, GranLusso brings an electric rear window sunblind, powered foot pedals for self-adjusting, open-pore wood trim from Radica, and Ermenegildo Zegna Silk interiors, with mulberry silk inserts.
The inserts are fitted to the seats, roof lining, sunshades, door panels, and the roof light fixture. Customers can specify Black, Tan, or Red leather with the anthracite silk. Naturally other grades of leather are available but the discerning buyer would specify the Pieno Fiore, the highest grade for those three color options.
Maserati’s Ghibli Hybrid also introduces Mia. The Maserati Intelligent Assistant multimedia system is powered by Android Auto, allowing user personalization via the 16:10 10.1 inch touchscreen. A smart app called Maserati Connect also interfaces with the system and includes Amazon Alexa and Google Assist contact from a home base. The services provide an ongoing commentary of the Ghibli hybrid’s health for servicing purposes, enhances vehicle security, offer real-time road and traffic information, and even provides a wifi hotspot for internet access on the go.
And to ensure all aboard are looked after, Maserati has fitted a comprehensive safety package including Surround View Camera, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a radar-controlled Active Blind Spot Assist. MSP or Maserati Stability Control is also standard. It brings together the electronic subsystems such as anti-lock braking, Brake Assist, and Engine brake torque control which prevents wheels from locking when downshifting on low-grip surfaces.
The Ghibli Hybrid debuts a new front grille with a visibly distinguishable feature. Maserati’s Tuning fork emblem gives the grille its new base look and is chromed for GranLusso or Black Piano for GranSport. The rear has been given a makeover as well and one that involves some high-end plastic manufacturing processing. The classic boomerang motif has been enhanced by a state of the art 3K injection molding process that sees a black edge, transparent lower section, and red-colored center. GranLusso has a slightly lighter overall shade to the cluster.
For the European market, Grigio Evoluzione will debut. Blue overtones run through a distinctive grey shade and there are hints of the Maserati blue on parts of the sheet metal.