MASERATI has begun its push towards electrification with the reveal of its Ghibli Hybrid sedan, marking the first model from the Italian brand to feature some form of fuel-saving green technology.
Due for a launch in Australia before the end of the year, the Ghibli Hybrid is headlined by its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a 48-volt hybrid system comprising a belt-driven starter/generator (BSG), eBooster electric compressor, battery and DC/DC converter.
Combined output for the new powertrain is marked at 246kW at 5750rpm and 450Nm at 4000rpm, with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission sending drive to the rear wheels with the aid of a limited-slip differential on the rear axle.
The hybrid set-up helps propel the 1950kg Ghibli from standstill to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds and on to top speed of 255km/h.
Its four-cylinder engine is derived from Alfa Romeo albeit with a vast number of tweaks from Maserati, and will be the only four-cylinder offering in Maserati’s local line-up, with all other variants and models being powered by at least 3.0-litre V6 or larger.
It is understood the hybrid will replace the 202kW/600Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 in the Ghibli range, while the 257kW/500Nm twin-turbo petrol V6 will remain.
The hybrid set-up weighs less than the six-cylinder equivalent, with weight also playing a large part in Maserati choosing to forgo plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains in its electrification strategy, instead choosing to opt for a mix of mild-hybrid and full-electric offerings going forward.
Sipping 8.5-9.6 litres of fuel per 100km on the WLTP cycle (exact figures are yet to be confirmed), the Hybrid is 20 per cent more fuel efficient than the petrol V6, while its 192-216 grams of CO2 production per kilometre is less than that of the diesel.
The BSG performs as an alternator, charging the boot-mounted battery during braking and deceleration, which can then be used to power up the eBooster, which assists the existing turbocharger at low rpm while also providing an extra level of boost at peak rpm when in sport mode.
Maserati has built the Ghibli hybrid over the same chassis and bodywork as the V6, and has tuned the four-pot exhaust to match that of its stablemates, tweaking the fluid dynamics of the exhaust and fitting resonators.
Stopping power comes courtesy of 360mm ventilated and cross-drilled discs up front grabbed by six-pot Brembo callipers, while at the rear four-pot callipers clamp onto 345mm discs.
From the outside, the Ghibli Hybrid can be distinguished by a number of dark blue trim elements, the colour adopted by Maserati for its low-emission vehicles.
The new shades can be found on the three air ducts in the front mudguards, the thunderbolt in the pillar logo and the Brembo brake callipers.
The front grille has been revised, while a new tail-light cluster has been adopted in what Maserati refers to as a ‘boomerang design’.
Inside, the updated Ghibli features a new-generation multimedia infotainment system, replacing the old 8.4-inch unit with a brand-new 10.1-inch frameless unit powered by an Android operating system.
All updated Ghiblis will also come with Maserati Connect, which can alert drivers of upcoming services and vehicle health, as well as real-time traffic information and emergency services.
An eight-speaker, 280W Harman Kardon audio system comes as standard, while two other sound systems – a 10-speaker and 15-speaker unit – can be had optionally.
Like other Maseratis, the Hybrid can be had in base-level trim as well as the GranSport and GranLusso packages, which enhance sportiness and luxury respectively.
A full range of active safety features including lane-keep assist and lane-centring technology will be fitted as standard.
Local pricing and exact specification levels will be confirmed closer to the model’s release Down Under, likely to be late this year.
Through the first half of the year Maserati has sold a total of 231 vehicles, down 16.3 per cent over the same time last year.