2.0l 4-cylinder engine with a 48-volt Hybrid system has been designed to deliver performance and efficiency while conserving driving pleasure for most committed motorists
Italian exotics have always been about excess performance, noise, high-quality materials and pantomime. And Maserati is perhaps one of the most evocative names in the business. So, image the scepticism in our office when Maserati announced the Ghibli Hybrid will be replacing the magical V6 engines with a 4-cylinder 48-volt hybrid system. But these are the Italians remember. They’ve conserved driving dynamics for enthusiasts by offering this hybrid as a powerful performer, lighter to improve weight distribution and classic exhaust roar as akin to Maserati. Further, the company has introduced a new Maserati Connect program with an MIA (Maserati Intelligent Assistant) multimedia system to improve user experience. But most important are Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) and ADAS systems to improve safety and offer Level 2 autonomy to the Ghibli hybrid. Let’s take a deeper look into the new powertrain before we get to drive one if Maserati would be kind enough to lend us one.
Derived from the FCA and built at Termoli, the new 2.0l engine develops 330 HP of maximum power and 450 Nm of peak torque. This enables the Ghibli Hybrid to accelerate from naught to 100 kmph in 5.7 seconds on to a top speed of 255 kmph. The performance matches the torquey nature of the V6 diesel engine and acceleration of the V6 petrol engine powering the outgoing versions. Further, the CO2 emission has been reduced by 25 percent compared to the V6 petrol, and similar to the V6 diesel version. The eight-speed ZF transmission remains unchanged, however, the gearshift lever has been redesigned for shorter travel and enhanced operation.
The car is now able to detect various driving scenarios, such as uphill or downhill driving, hard braking, or fast cornering, and is able to select the optimal gear for optimised performance. Maserati never compromises the roaring soundtrack of its beautiful cars. Ghibli Hybrid being no exception has a distinctive growl without using exhaust amplifiers. It adopts resonators and tweaks to the fluid dynamics to deliver its recognisable Maserati roar from the hybrid as well.
Engineers have worked extensively on the hybrid system to deliver maximum efficiency without causing any hindrance to the driving experience. They equipped the 48-volt hybrid system which has four parts; BSG, battery, eBooster, and DC/DC converter. The efficient BSG (Belt Starter Generator) does the job of an alternator, recovers energy during braking/deceleration, and charges the battery in the boot, which in turn powers the engine's eBooster. This combination of the BSG and eBooster offers an extra boost when the engine is peaking near the redline in the sport mode.
Another substantial benefit of the system is in weight reduction, as the hybrid is lighter against its V6 brethren. The engine is front-mounted and the battery is placed at the rear of the vehicle to provide better weight distribution advantages and increasing agility. 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, via battery or BSG, whenever it is needed.
IVS with MSP and Level 2 Autonomy
Ghibli Hybrid incorporates Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) with the improved Maserati Stability Program (MSP) thus handing more safety and control of the vehicle to the driver. It is now able to prevent, instead of correct, driver errors that may lead to loss of control. Developed with Bosch, the cutting-edge IVC system adds additional safety and improves driving dynamics. It uses a smart, feed-forward controller that predicts driving situations in advance and adapts the engine speed and brakes accordingly. IVC intervenes more smoothly and with less noise than a traditional ESP, ensures better traction at the limits of the car’s dynamics, and employs intelligent torque vectoring to optimise lateral dynamics in a natural way even when the driver turns off the MSP.
Offered as an option, Level 2 Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) include Highway Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and even Traffic Sign Recognition increasing a major step for the Italian brand towards semi-autonomous driving. The Active Driving Assist component is an evolution of the previous Highway Assist where the scope has increased from just highway use to any kind of well-maintained road, at speeds up to 145 kmph. Working in tandem with Forward Collision Warning Plus (FCW Plus), Advanced Brake Assist (ABA), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), and Adaptive Cruise Control with ‘Stop & Go’ function, Ghibli Hybrid is a technological showboat against other mainstream manufacturers.