Maserati’s story is that the hybrid model is ‘faster than diesel, greener than gasoline’ because it replaces the former while providing nearly the same power levels as the existing V6 petrol engine with lower emissions. Plus, thanks to a smaller and lighter 2.0-litre in-line four up-front and a battery pack out back the Ghibli now boasts 50:50 weight distribution. That battery pack however doesn’t allow you to glide silently around ghost-like in your Ghibli as the 48-volt system is really there as a regen system and to power an electric supercharger which adds a healthy whack to the turbocharged ICE’s output.
The result is 330PS (243kW) and 450Nm (333lb ft) with a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 158mph. That is hot hatch rather than hot hybrid quick and that powertrain does put us in mind of a Golf GTI at times with the distinctive sound of a turbo four-pot and a gruff bark at top rev upshifts. It’s not bad but it is no sonorous Maserati V6 or screaming V8. The electric supercharger also delivers, upping the mid-range torque to a noticeable extent in the driver-selectable Sport mode and increasing the car’s feeling of eagerness.
A large, long wheelbase saloon is never going to be performing the cocking a wheel in the air antics of a hot hatch regardless of its pedigree however and the Ghibli is considerably more grown up. There is a good impression of waft when driving around town but that does translate into some float at higher speeds through long bends. Sport mode helps to tie things down somewhat but there is still noticeable roll. Smartly though Maserati allows separate control of the damping allowing drivers the engine and steering response of Sport mode without suffering a choppy ride trade off.