Maserati’s First Hybrid Sportscar Unveiled

After the much heralded hype, Maserati has finally unveiled its first hybrid sportscar, an electrified version of the Ghibli.

While not the most powerful model in the Maserati line-up, the Ghibli Hybrid still claims a maximum power output of 326bhp and torque of 331ft-lbs delivered from just 1,500 rpm. The outputs allows the car to claim a top speed of 158mph and acceleration from 0 to 62mph in 5.7 seconds.

Naturally, machismo exhaust notes are important to purchasers of Italian stallion sportscars and the automaker assures us the mild hybrid powertrain will still mimic the sound that characterises all Maserati models thanks to an exhaust that includes specially designed resonators.

That powertrain, the outcome of engineering development work at the Maserati Innovation Lab in Modena, combines a four-cylinder turbo-charged 2.0-liter internal combustion engine  with a 48 volt alternator and an additional electric supercharger (e-Booster), supported by a battery. The automaker says this solution is the first in a new generation of powertrains claiming the perfect trade-off between performance, efficiency and driving pleasure. The battery is mounted in the rear of the car, with benefits in terms of improved weight distribution. This version weighs about 176-lbs less than a diesel equivalent.

The Ghibli Hybrid also marks the debut of the new Maserati Connect program, which enables a constant connection with the car whether stationary or on the move. As well as updating the software packages, the system performs checks on the car and monitors the safety security services in emergencies.

Its ‘intelligent sssistant’ multimedia system is based on digital inputs from Android Automotive, software that delivers a user experience fully customizable to the driver’s personal preferences. The multimedia system’s HD screen, with new graphics, more user-friendly and without surrounds, is increased in size to 10-inches. A new instrument panel with digital devices and new graphics is also introduced.

The automaker says the car 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, scheduled for 2021.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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