After a hundred years, Maserati is switching gears. The quintessential Italian sports…
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After a hundred years, Maserati is switching gears. The quintessential Italian sports tourer legend — famed for angry, loud vehicles like the Quattroporte and GranTurismo — has finally unveiled its first electrified model, kickstarting the green plan that was first announced in 2018.
The Maserati Ghibli Hybrid is a buzzing new riff on the classic sports sedan that was first introduced to the public as a concept at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2013. Now a reality, the next-gen model has been treated to a minor facelift and fitted with a hybrid powertrain.
The plans will see all current models either updated or redesigned by the end of 2023 and a new MC20 supercar and a small SUV based on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio added along the way.
Interestingly, the Ghibli Hybrid will not get a plug-in system to match its German rivals. Instead, it's starting with a mild-hybrid setup to get the ball rolling, replacing its six-pot diesel with a 2.0-litre inline-four petrol-turbo (adapted from Alfa Romeo's) that's also matched to a 48-volt alternator and electric supercharger at the back.
Combined, this produces 330 hp and 332 ft-lbs of torque, which will launch the Ghibli Hybrid from 0 to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds and allow it to reach a top speed of 158 mph.
This hybrid system counts on regenerative braking to charge the battery, powering the eBooster that fills in torque gaps before the turbo kicks in. The transmission comes courtesy of an eight-speed automatic that drives only the rear wheels.
While its petrol-only predecessor had 345 horses thanks to its twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6, Ghibli 2.0 promises to be more fuel-efficient and better to the Earth. It will emit 25 per cent less CO2 than its counterpart, and it's also 176 pounds lighter. Still, the automaker has ensured that the car will have that renowned Maserati roar.
Looks-wise, it's not a drastic departure from the OG Ghibli, but it feels fresher. The rear end features revamped, boomerang-shape taillights inspired by the 3200 GT and Alfieri concept, while the front received an updated grille and new headlights.
Maserati selected blue to represent its eco-friendly electric cars moving forward, and the hue can be found on the exterior accents, including the air ducts, brake callipers, and the logo on the rear pillar. The colour is also used in the interior, where blue seams are juxtaposed with black leather trim.
The infotainment system has also been treated to a modern revamp. The screen has grown in size to 10.1 inches and now runs on the latest Android Automotive operating system. Fully digital alternatives have replaced the old-school analog gauges.
The Ghibli Hybrid may not be the boldest EV design on the market, but it's a significant milestone for Maserati—one that presages the marque's future. Following the supercar will be another new model, this time a small SUV based on the Stelvio.
It should arrive in early 2021. Maserati will then launch a redesigned GranTurismo later in 2021—the brand's first EV. Though it's yet to be confirmed, the new GranTurismo, which will also have a GranTurismo Convertible option (GranCabrio outside the U.S.) due in 2022, might be offered exclusively with battery-electric power.
According to its most recent plan, Maserati will then introduce redesigned versions of the Quattroporte and Levante in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Note, some of these plans may have changed now that Maserati's Fiat Chrysler Automobiles parent is merging with France's PSA Group to form Stellaris.
Australian pricing and final specifications are due to be announced closer to the local introduction, currently due in late 2020.
For reference, the petrol-powered Ghibli range currently starts at $139,990 plus on-road costs in Australia.