Some cars are brilliant. Some are charming. The Ghibli doesn't have enough of either to win people over
The electrification age has dawned at Maserati but it's still a pretty cloudy morning.There will be an all-electric Granturismo replacement next year, but this for now is the Ghibli Hybrid, a large saloon whose electrical assistance comprises a 48V starter-generator and electric supercharger to boost the low-end torque and response of a 2.0-litre petrol engine.At no point does it run on electricity alone, and nor can it be plugged in, but Maserati says that it nonetheless gives the Hybrid the urge of its larger V6 petrol-engined Ghibli while pulling the CO2 figure down to that of the diesel, which it has now discontinued. Headline figures, then, are 325bhp (the V6 has 345bhp) and 192-216g/km (the diesel was 206g/km).The move has also, it's said, improved the weight distribution, because a four-cylinder is lighter than a V6 at the front and a small battery pack sits under the rear. As with other Ghiblis, the Hybrid has a largely steel monocoque but with an aluminium bonnet and front sub-frame, and a magnesium dash cross-member, all to help lighten the front; which is, encouragingly, the kind of thing Maserati worries about. The double-wishbone (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension has coil springs while dampers, by option, and fitted to our test car, are adaptive.For the 2021 model year, there are some mild interior mods, too. Nothing you'd be bold enough to call a facelift, but a new multimedia system running a more reliable, faster and higher-definition set-up, with increased connectivity. The 10.1in central touchscreen (there's a rotary controller, too) is slightly curved, claimed to be a first in a car.It looks good and is functional but just as useful is the diddy shelf beneath for steadying your hand on while you use it. Nice that there are plenty of physical buttons for things, too. And I don't mind having a pair of clear analogue instruments.