Old school Italy with a buzz: Maserati launches first-ever hybrid model
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The Trident now has a spark leaping off it.
Maserati has introduced the first electrified model in its history: a Ghibli sedan with a 48-volt mild hybrid system that it claims is the link “between past and future” for the brand.
Essentially an alternative to the diesel-powered Ghibli, the Hybrid combines a direct-injection 2.0-litre petrol engine (derived from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stablemate Alfa Romeo, but heavily redesigned) with a lithium-ion battery pack, Belt Starter Generator (BSG) and “eBooster” (basically an electric turbocharger).
It retains an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Maserati says the hybrid system is for the benefit of both performance and economy. The powertrain makes 246kW/450Nm, gets the car to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds and returns between 8.5-9.6l/100km in the WLTP cycle depending on specification.
Or “faster than diesel, greener than gasoline” as Maserati says. It matches the C02 of the diesel and is 20 per cent more economical than the conventional V6 petrol.
Start of production is scheduled for September, with markets outside Europe getting the car in 2021.
Maserati says the hybrid system was developed by just 100 people within the company. The 48-volt setup is claimed to match the pickup of the previous diesel at lower engine speeds thanks to the eBooster, but also the higher-rev response of the petrol-V6.
Maserati claims the handling of the Hybrid is actually better than the V6 petrol thanks to superior weight distribution and that it still offers the Maserati “roar” without resorting to amplifiers – just adjustment of the “fluid dynamics of the exhausts” and resonators.
Styling changes focus on Hybrid-specific detail: the trademark triple air ducts on the front guard have a blue trim, as do the Brembo brake calipers and thunderbolt in the side pillar.
The Hybrid gets a new grille with the Maserati “tuning fork” as well as styling changes made to the MY21 cars across the range, such as new tail-lights created with 3K injection moulding technology that produces a three-colour lens.
The Ghibli range also gets a major change to the infotainment system, with the new Maserati Intelligent Assistant (MIA). It’s an Android Auto based setup that runs through a much larger 10.1-inch screen with “frameless” appearance.
Maserati Connect is now standard, which allows owners to keep in touch with the car’s status via a smartphone or smartwatch.
The Ghibli Hybrid is really just baby steps towards a brave new world of electrification for Maserati. Its forthcoming MC20 supercar will be launched with a conventional (but all-new) 3.0-litre twin-turbo six later this year, but the future holds even faster, electrified versions.
Expect more news of Maserati's first pure-electric model when it unveils the MC20 in September as well.