Maserati's first hybrid isn't what you expected.
Maserati has a bold new plan to reinvent itself for the modern era, which includes a slew of new electrified product reveals before 2022. Among these will be hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs but Maserati has decided to dip only a toe in the electrified waters with a new mild-hybrid model as a starting point. The 2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid arrives rather unexpectedly as the first electrified model from the Trident brand.
We knew the Ghibli would be the first Maserati to receive a hybrid variant but we didn't expect it to only be a mild-hybrid with a 48-volt system. Maserati is a bit late to the 48-volt engine game, as competitors like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes have offered this feature on several models for a few years now. Is this new drivetrain enough to keep the Ghibli interesting or could it be dead on arrival?
In addition to the new mild-hybrid powertrain, the Ghibli has received a mild facelift on the exterior. The revised front grille features vertical bars that are meant to represent a musical tuning fork. At the rear, the taillights now have a boomerang-like profile inspired by the 3200 GT and the Alfieri concept car. To denote the hybrid model, Centro Stile Maserati has added blue accents on the three side air ducts, the brake calipers, and the thunderbolt within the Trident logo on the rear pillars. We will need to wait for the next-generation Ghibli to see any more significant styling changes.
For 2021, the Ghibli gets a major dosage of new technology. A 10.1-inch touchscreen replaces the outgoing 8.4-inch unit and is now powered by Android Automotive with quicker performance and improved graphics. That larger screen is now paired with a new digital instrument cluster, which replaces the old analog gauges and brings the Ghibli into the modern era of luxury infotainment. Maserati's blue theme on the exterior continues into the cabin with blue accent stitching on the seats including the Trident emblem on the headrests. With this facelift, the Ghibli finally looks up to par with its luxury contemporaries.
It may be called the Ghibli Hybrid but using Maserati's logic, the V8-powered Ram 1500 with eTorque would also be classified as a hybrid vehicle. This new Ghibli actually uses a 48-volt alternator with an electric supercharger, which is known in the industry as a mild-hybrid. Paired with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the system puts out 330 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque going out to an eight-speed automatic.
This is 15 hp shy of what you get in the base V6-powered Ghibli but the hybrid should be around 20% more efficient than its gas-only counterpart. 0-62 mph takes 5.7 seconds, which is about two-tenths slower than the standard Ghibli. We also anticipate that this four-banger won't emit the same emotional sound of Maserati's Ferrari-fettled V6 but the company claims the engine will make an "unmistakable sound" courtesy of the optimized exhaust system with specially designed resonators.
The Maserati Ghibli Hybrid will roughly compete with the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, all of which are now offered with mild-hybrid engine options. No pricing information has been provided for the Ghibli Hybrid but at $69,490, the standard Ghibli is priced significantly higher than its German rivals. Whereas the German sedans all offer their mild-hybrid options paired to a V6, Maserati's use of a turbocharged four-cylinder could put off buyers who care more about performance than fuel efficiency. The updates inside should help keep the Ghibli relevant until the next-generation arrives but it will likely remain a low-volume seller in the mid-size luxury sedan segment.