True to its recent declaration of entering a “new era”, Italian automotive royalty, Maserati has now stunned fans with its first foray into the world of electric vehicles.

Coming hot on the heels of major announcements made by the company in early July, Maserati late last week revealed that it would now produce a hybrid electric version of its iconic Ghibli sedan.

Maserati: Making good on its move into a new era

This follows Maserati’s announcement that the renowned Trident brand would be “entering a new era” during late 2020. That announcement came with the news that Maserati is to launch its new MC20 “super sports car”, complete with the luxury carmaker’s new and completely home-grown engine.    

Billed as 100% Maserati and “100% Made in Modena” — which is both Maserati’s home base and home to its manufacturing facilities — its new Nettuno engine forms the very foundation on which the MC20 has been built.

With the Nettuno — which will be launched along with the MC20 on 8 and 9 September 2020 boasting technological features derived from Formula 1 racing — Maserati at the time also hinted heavily at a move into racing.  

Maserati-MC20-prototype
The MC20 prototype, centre, the Maserati Eldorado, top left, and the Maserati 250F. Photo: Maserati S.p.A.

While Maserati had also pointed to a string of other developments, also to be revealed in September and which would usher the brand into its new era, last Thursday’s Ghibli announcement may have come, to some Maserati purists, as somewhat of a shock.

Winds of change blowing through Modena

And with like the model’s namesake, the Ghibli — which is the south-westerly winds that originate in the Libyan Desert and occurs most frequently during September — the winds of change will certainly be blowing through Modena come spring.

The Maserati Ghibli Hybrid. Image: Supplied

This was echoed by Maserati South Africa which positioned the news as the spark of electrification that ignites Maserati’s future.

“With the new Ghibli Hybrid, the Trident brand enters the world of electrification,” said Maserati SA, going on to reveal that the company plans to electrify all its new models going forward.  

The ‘Ghibli tradition’

The first Maserati Ghibli was designed and unveiled at the Turin Motor show during 1966 and the model had followed a tradition pioneered by Maserati with its inimitable A6 1500 of 1947.

The iconic 1966 Maserati Ghibli. Image: carstyling.ru

Classed as a grand tourer and having undergone at least three evolutions since 1966, the Ghibli tradition continues to promise its owners and drivers “glorious style, high-powered luxury and peerless comfort over almost any distance the owner cared to consider.”

And, as one of its historically more successful models, Maserati is expecting to maintain, if not increase the momentum of the Ghibli nameplate with its very first hybrid electric project — one which the company said represents one of its most ambitious initiatives to date.  

“The new Ghibli Hybrid now sets the seal on another step forward towards the brand’s new era. The choice to introduce the hybrid technology on the Ghibli sedan is no coincidence. This model, with over 100 000 units produced since its launch in 2013, perfectly embodies Maserati’s DNA,” said the company.

“In fact, the challenge facing Maserati was to enter the world of electrification without altering the brand’s core philosophy and values. The result? The creation of the best possible hybrid.

“What’s more, Ghibli Hybrid will retain the unmistakable sound that has always distinguished every Maserati,” explained the carmaker, adding that Ghibli Hybrid would naturally expand the Maserati range.

The effect of this, said Maserati, was that its stable was now even more competitive and responsive to the demands of the market.

Designer DNA

“Ghibli Hybrid is immediately recognisable, thanks in part to the new design of both exterior and interior. The common denominator of the restyling, developed by the Centro Stile Maserati, is the blue colour, chosen to identify all cars with hybrid technology and the new world they represent,” explained the automaker.

Continuing, Maserati said on the exterior of the Ghibli Hybrid, the blue colour characterises the three iconic side air ducts, the brake calipers and the thunderbolt in the oval that encloses the Trident on the rear pillar.

“The same blue colour reappears inside the car, in particular on the embroidered seams of the seats.

“The new Ghibli Hybrid also introduces new stylistic contents, starting from the new front grille, with bars redesigned to represent a tuning fork, a musical device that emits a sound of extreme purity, and which also evokes the Trident symbol itself.

“There are significant changes at the rear of the car, where the light clusters have been completely restyled, with a boomerang-like profile inspired by the 3200 GT and the Alfieri concept car,” said the manufacturer.

Mild hybrid, major improvements

Describing its transition to hybrid, the company said that in maintaining its “perfect harmony with its DNA, it had selected a hybrid solution focused primarily on improving performance, while also reducing fuel consumption and cutting emissions.

“The hybrid technology exploits kinetic energy the car accumulates when in motion, recovering it and transforming it into electricity during deceleration and braking, and storing it in a battery.

“The innovative powertrain, the outcome of in-depth engineering development work by the technicians and engineers of the Maserati Innovation Lab in Modena, combines an internal combustion engine (four cylinders, turbo, displacement of 2.0 litre) with a 48 volt alternator and an additional electric supercharger (e-Booster), supported by a battery.”

Maserati asserts that this solution is unique in its segment, and is the first in a new generation of powertrains, with the perfect trade-off between performance, efficiency and driving pleasure.

What sets it apart

The new Ghibli version weighs about 80kg less than the diesel version, and to improve weight distribution, Maserati has mounted the battery at the rear of the vehicle.

Boasting impressive performance data, the car produces a maximum power output of 246 kw (330 hp) and torque of 450 Nm delivered from just 1500 rpm. Top speed is 255km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h can be achieved in just 5.7 seconds.

Electric, but still audibly electrifying

Ghibli Hybrid occupants will still, according to Maserati, be able to revel in the unmistakable sound that characterises all Maserati models. This is thanks to an optimised exhaust, which includes specially designed resonators.

Look and listen: Does it sound like a Maserati?

Staying connected

Ghibli Hybrid also marks the debut of the new Maserati Connect programme, which enables a constant connection with the car, while the information exchange continues when on the move — all to improve the services offered to the driver.

As well as updating the software packages, the system performs checks on the car and monitors the Safety Security services in emergencies.

“The Maserati Intelligent Assistant multimedia system is latest-generation – based on digital inputs from Android Automotive – software that delivers an innovative User Experience fully customisable to the driver’s personal preferences,” said the carmaker, adding that a new instrument panel with digital devices and new graphics has also been introduced.

“The multimedia system’s HD screen, with new graphics, more user-friendly and without surrounds, is increased in size from 8”4 to 10”1.”

Image: Supplied

Concluding, Maserati said the new Ghibli Hybrid represents the first step in a plan that will lead to the electrification of all new Maserati models.

“The brand’s first all-electric cars will be the new GranTurismo and GranCabrio, both of which are scheduled for 2021,” said the company.

Onlineautos
Author: Onlineautos