Maserati has unveiled its first-ever hybrid vehicle – and promises it will still sound like a sports sedan, despite being powered by a four-cylinder engine.
The 2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid will retain its distinctive exhaust note, but come with the fuel economy of a diesel car.
Based on the V6-powered Ghibli sedan, the Ghibli Hybrid pairs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, petrol engine with a 48-volt mild hybrid system which recoups energy when the car brakes or coasts.
The hybrid system also features an eBooster, which works in tandem with the traditional mono scroll turbocharger to sustain power in the lower rev range as required, as well as providing an additional boost at the peak of the rev range in sport mode.
The Italian car maker says the addition of the hybrid system has cut CO2 emissions by 25 per cent and fuel consumption by 20 per cent compared to the petrol variant, with emissions and fuel usage more comparable to a diesel.
Maserati claims a combined fuel consumption figure of between 8.5-9.6L/100km.
According to Maserati, the new Ghibli was built on the philosophy, "faster than diesel, greener than gasoline," with the hybrid powertrain able to generate up to 246kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
Maserati says the hybrid variant weighs less than its purely petrol-powered siblings, with improved weight distribution thanks to the front-mounted engine and rear-mounted battery, allowing for improved handling.
As in other Ghibli models, an eight-speed automatic transmission drives the rear wheels only, with a rear limited slip self-locking mechanical differential.
The car boasts a top speed of 255km/h and can complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.7 seconds – a slight downgrade on the performance of the entry-level Ghibli petrol offering, which manages a top speed of 267km/h and a 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds.
For those concerned the addition of hybrid power will compromise the engine's sound, Maserati promises the car retains its "distinctive growl" thanks to a tweak to the fluid dynamics of the exhausts and the adoption of resonators, which have been tuned to deliver the familiar exhaust note.
Aesthetically, the hybrid Ghibli receives a new front grille and a 'boomerang' style rear light cluster, as well as a number of dark blue exterior accents, including blue brake calipers and air ducts on the front mudguard – a colour Maserati claims is the universal symbol of "clean mobility".
The Ghibli Hybrid will be available in two trims - the GranLusso and GranSport – with the latter receiving an interior created by Italian fashion designer Ermenegildo Zegna, which combines fine grain leather with anthracite silk inserts on the seats, door panels, roof lining, sunshades and ceiling light fixture.
As standard, all Ghibli Hybrid variants receive the Maserati Intelligent Assistant (MIA) multimedia system, controlled via a 10.1-inch touchscreen, plus an eight-speaker sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry and start, assisted door closure and a power tailgate with hands-free control on the 500-litre boot.
On the safety front, the cars are equipped with seven airbags, adaptive cruise with stop and go functionality, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision alert, lane-keep assist, blind-spot assist and a rear-view camera as standard, with traffic sign recognition part of an optional pack.
Certain driver assistance features will either be standard or optional depending on the market, including the surround-view camera, active speed limiter and smartphone charger.
Production for the Ghibli Hybrid is scheduled to commence in September 2020, with the first cars expected to hit global showrooms at the end of October and production for the Japanese and Korean markets slated to start slightly later, in February 2021.
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.