Maserati has kicked off its hybrid era, but the first electrified car to wear the brand’s famous trident is more mild than wild.
When it touches down in Australia, the Ghibli Hybrid will be the first hybrid Maserati. It’s expected to lead a more comprehensive electrified rollout, with both mild-hybrid and pure electric options eventually to become available.
Exact launch timing and pricing haven’t yet been confirmed, but a late 2020 arrival is likely.
The Ghibli has also been treated to an updated infotainment system, and a range of new Level 2 autonomous driving systems for 2021.
The 2021 Ghibli MHEV blends a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 48V starter/generator capable of offering an engine boost under heavy loads, allowing for smoother start/stop and coasting at highway speeds.
Peak power is 246kW, and the 100km/h sprint is dispatched in 5.7 seconds from standstill. Flat out you’ll be doing 255km/h.
Although it doesn’t go as far as the electrically-driven compressors used by the Volkswagen Group, the electric booster in the Maserati system can provide torque fill at low engine revs, before the turbocharger is singing.
The petrol engine shares its bones with the unit in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce, but Maserati says it’s kitted out with unique control software.
Critical for emissions-conscious Europe and displacement-conscious China, the Hybrid replaces the Ghibli Diesel and will be slotted in alongside the existing range of petrol engines.
Separating the Ghibli Hybrid from the regular range externally are deep blue highlights, along with a range of detail changes compared to the current car.
The car will be offered in both GranSport and GranLusso trim, and will pack standard equipment such as six-way powered leather sports seats, a sports steering wheel with aluminium paddles, and sport pedals.
Wireless phone charging is finally available, as is a new touchscreen infotainment system on a curved display measuring either 8.4- or 10.1 inches. Dubbed Maserati Intelligent Assistant (MIA), the new system is based on Google’s Android Automotive architecture.
Not only will the system support wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it will support wireless over-the-air updates. The new infotainment system will gradually spread across the Maserati line-up as the brand updates its models for the 2021 model year.
It’s backed by a new smartphone application, although when it will be rolled out in Australia isn’t yet clear. 2021 is likely, as Maserati works to first set it up in the USA, Europe, and China.
The switch from hydraulic to electric power steering has allowed Maserati to add a range of Level 2 autonomous driver assist systems to the Ghibli, bringing it closer to rivals such as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Adaptive cruise control with active lane-keeping assist is now capable of keeping the Ghibli within its lane at up to 145km/h, while the car also features blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert, and a system capable of increasing brake pressure if a driver doesn’t stamp on the anchors hard enough to avoid a crash.