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Maserati's new era - Ghibli Hybrid the first step into the future for the famed Italian automaker

2020-07-17 04:30

Charlen Raymond

Maserati Ghibli Hybrid

2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid (Maserati Media)

• New Maserati Ghibli revealed to global audience.

• Ghibly Hybrid first Maserati to make use of hybrid technology.

• This new car is expected to arrive locally before year-end.

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Maserati is heralding a new era with the reveal of its Ghibli Hybrid. This is an entirely new journey for the famed Italian automaker as it looks to a future that will deviate, if just slightly, from the trusted recipe that's been in use for the last century.

The Ghibli Hybrid is a car that goes against everything Maserati has done up until this point. Still, it will be remembered as the car that spearheaded a new era for the automaker in a time when survival was vital. Survival not only because of the dreaded Covid-19, but as an automaker who must adapt to the ever-changing market conditions.

The Ghibli Hybrid is the first Maserati to make use of electrification and implements the smallest engine ever fitted to one of these Italian machines.

The engine

A small group of people worked on the Ghibli Hybrid, which meant that every component received a considerable amount of care. Even the engine, a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit borrowed from the Alfa Romeo MultiAir, was at the receiving end of this very attention to detail.

Maserati says that the entire power unit produces 245kW and 450Nm. This was achieved by mating a 48V hybrid system and an ebooster to the engine to give the car its power readings. The automaker is confident that the new powertrain improves fuel consumption by 25% over the 260kW V6 petrol engine while returning similar economy figures to the diesel Ghibli.

READ: King Neptune would be proud! Maserati enters a new era with self-built 464kW V6 engine

The eBooster plays a role in the overall improved fuel efficiency, given that it supports the turbo lower down the rev range. Maserati says: "The reason for installing an eBooster on the car is to back up the conventional turbocharger, working in tandem with it, to sustain the engine's power output at low rpm. The hybrid system's operating strategy ensures that the eBooster is always available."

The Ghibli Hybrid's engine is considerably lighter than the V6 petrol. And because the engine is up front and the 48V battery in the rear, the car is said to have better weight distribution over the two axles. Also, Maserati says that they did not resort to amplifiers to generate a sound. Instead, tweaks to the fluid dynamics of the exhaust and the adoption of resonators allow the car to have that distinct Maserati sound.

The engine is mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. 0-100km/h is cleared in 5.7 seconds, and top speed is rated at 255km/h.

Maserati Ghibli Hybrid

2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid (Maserati Media)

Styling

The Ghibli Hybrid is instantly recognisable as a Maserati, but subtle cues differentiate it from the rest of the range. Items such as blue trimming on the mudguards, blue brake callipers, and a blue thunderbolt in the pillar logos. The grille is also new, with a fresh design taking centre stage. The grille will also be used to further differentiate the Ghibli Hybrid models from each other, thanks to more pronounced design elements.

Inside, the cabin has been designed with the driver as vocal point. Features like 12-way electrically adjusted front sports seats, sport steering with aluminium gearshift paddles, and Inox sports pedals are standard. The cabin can be specified in either GranLusso or GranSport trims.

READ: Maserati SA shares news on its all-new MC20 super sports car, 2020 plans

Maserati Connect (MC) will be standard on all Maserati vehicles from 2021 onwards, and the Ghibli Hybrid is no different. MC allows users to keep tabs on, among others, the condition of their car, driving conditions, and live traffic updates. Amazon's Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay will also be standard, as well as the option to use your Maserati as WiFi Hotspot.

MC's availability may vary from country to country, says the automaker.

Available as standard on the Ghibli Hybrid is an eight-speaker, 280W Harman Kardon sound system, but buyers can specify (optionally) either a Harman Kardon Premium and Bowers or Wilkins Premium Surround Sound system over the standard one.

Maserati Ghibli Hybrid

2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid (Maserati Media)

Our take

With more automakers joining the electrification route - either full-electrification or hybridisation - it's good to see that Maserati is not sitting idly by. It is a known fact that everything was not particularly well for the automaker from a financial point-of-view the last few years, but re-energised charge and taking the bull by the horns approach gave it a boost to turn its fortunes around.

Of course, they were greatly assisted by the merger between Fiat and Chrysler, and, thankfully, the union did not cast Maserati to the side.

The Ghibli Hybrid is undoubtedly a new era for Maserati and one that must help the automaker realise its ambitions to survive a future post-Covid-19 and one that will be more intent on implementing alternative energies as opposed to the internal combustion engine. The Ghibli Hybrid could be that vehicle to lead the charge. But importantly, it will, and must, stay true to the DNA of what makes it a Maserati.

The Maserati Ghibli is expected to arrive locally late-November, December 2020.

Maserati Ghibli Hybrid

2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid (Maserati Media)

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