I’ve had the privilege to drive various cars throughout my life. From everyday cars to sports cars and even a couple of my dream cars, none of those that I’ve driven have worn a badge that’s as exotic as what we have here right now. This is the 2022 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid, and it’s the Italian luxury automaker’s first foray into the world of electrification. In a world where the Germans and most especially its sole Japanese rival (aka Lexus) have been doing hybrids or even offering fully-electric vehicles already, is the Ghibli a little too late to the party?
Let’s just get one thing straight first. While this is badged and marketed as a hybrid, this Ghibli can’t run at any distance in pure electric mode. That’s because this is actually a mild hybrid with a 48-volt integrated starter generator (ISG). Nevertheless, the easiest way to spot a Ghilbi Hybrid is through the various blue highlights surrounding its gorgeous exterior. Its long hood and short rear deck proportions are unlike anything in its segment.
As a matter of fact, throughout the entire weekend that this car was with me, there were five random strangers who wanted to have their photo taken with this car. This never happened during my time with its competitors such as the BMW 5 Series, and this is a testament to how much of an occasion it is to see a Maserati. If there’s one gripe I have with this car, it would be its xenon HID headlights. While they look sharply designed, the optional adaptive matrix LEDs would’ve provided better looks as well as more sophisticated adaptive illumination at night.
Other than that, there’s no denying that the Maserati Ghibli hybrid is such a gorgeous-looking machine, and it’s probably enough of a reason for many to splurge on one instead of your usual BMW or Mercedes.
If there’s one area that the 2022 Maserati Ghibli falls short compared to the competition, that would be in its interior. The materials used are great, there’s no denying that–even if you consider that the stalks and wiper switches are from a Dodge or a Jeep (Maserati is part of Stellantis, after all). Even the leather used is soft and very supple, and this is carried over the dash and the doors. Where it lags behind its rivals is in terms of modernity.
Whereas the Germans and Japanese wow you with their giant screens and flashy tech, the interior of the Maserati Ghibli is more straightforward, for better or worse. There are no digital gauges to speak of, only a multi-information display that’s flanked by two analog gauges (albeit a gorgeous-looking one) and a new 10.1-inch infotainment system that’s hooked up to a Harman Kardon sound system.
Build quality isn’t also as solid or as tightly screwed as its German rivals, but if there’s one thing that the Ghibli has, that would be character. The Ghibli has some nice touches like the Trident badge that’s etched onto the headrests or the analog clock that will always be a neat design touch for people like us who appreciate a nice watch.
Features and Infotainment
As mentioned, the Maserati Ghibli Hybrid comes with a 10.1-inch infotainment that actually runs on a reskinned version of Google’s Android Automotive. This is completely different from Android Auto, which is a smartphone mirroring feature like Apple CarPlay (both of which are equipped in the Ghibli). Instead, the operating system of the touch screen is made by Google, which means it runs smoothly and responsively. It’s not as comprehensive as BMW’s iDrive or Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX, but it’s still a very nice infotainment system to use.
The graphics are sharp and the screen has a very high resolution. Even under harsh sunlight, the display never washes out. In addition, the layout is pretty much similar to the UConnect found in other Stellantis vehicles, which means that the menus are logically laid out. There’s also a BMW iDrive-style controller in the middle, but it’s fiddly to use so we wouldn’t bother interacting with it.
Space and Practicality
Space for rear-seat passengers is also another area where the Maserati Ghibli falls short. It’s not exactly cramped, but for a vehicle that’s 4.9 meters long, its rear-seat space is no different from a BMW 3 Series. Even worse, the middle seat is totally cramped, even by compact luxury sedan standards. At least you get charging ports, air vents, and a rear center armrest for those seated at the back.
And then moving toward the trunk, the Ghibli offers 500 liters of space, which is okay for a midsize luxury sedan. For perspective, the BMW 5 Series offers 30 liters more. Oh, and it must be noted that the trunk gets quite warm, so if you’re planning to use the Ghibli for grocery shopping, expect your frozen food to thaw on your way home.
As mentioned, the 2022 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid isn’t exactly a true hybrid. Rather, it’s a mild hybrid that only uses the electric motor for assistance. Mated to a 48-volt ISG, its total output is 330 hp at 5,750 RPM and 450 Nm of torque at 4,000 RPM. This is good for a 0-100 kph time of just 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 255 kph.
Out on the open road, the powertrain feels pretty linear for a small displacement turbo engine. The power delivery comes in smoothly, and this is all routed to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic made by ZF. If you’ve read all of my reviews of cars fitted with this transmission, most of which are BMWs, you know how much I love this gearbox, and in the Ghibli, it’s expectedly the same case. The engine and transmission are a perfect combination, with the gearbox downshifting to the gear you intend it to. Unfortunately, paddle shifters are an optional extra, which would’ve done wonders to the car’s driving experience.
For a turbo four-cylinder engine, the Ghibli’s mild hybrid powertrain sounds good, at least from the outside. The exhaust emits a nice burble especially when upshifting, but from the inside, the Ghibli sounds just like any turbo four-cylinder out there.
As for the rest of the driving experience, the 2022 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid mostly lives up to its Trident badge. The sport-tuned suspension keeps the body flat through corners. Though the resulting ride is firm, it’s never considered harsh. The steering is also sharp and responsive, but I surprisingly found that in terms of road feel, the BMW 5 Series actually feels more consistent. If you thought that the Ghibli would feel sportier than the Bimmer, then I’m just as surprised as you are. In reality, both cars are pretty much neck-and-neck in the sportiness department.
Refinement is also very good, with road and wind noise being kept to a minimum. All four doors come with double-layer acoustic glass, and along with the thick sound insulation, the Ghibli stays serene throughout the journey.
However, if there’s one thing you might be disappointed with, that would be its fuel economy. If you’ve viewed this solely as an electrified luxury sedan, then a fuel economy figure of 8.6 km/l is really nothing to brag about. On the other hand, when you consider the performance and speed the Ghibli Hybrid offers, then it’s actually not so bad. Besides, a Mazda CX-9 achieves more-or-less similar figures but that SUV doesn’t offer the same level of performance as this car.
Maserati has been trying to carve a name for itself and increase its sales to compete with the likes of the German “big three” such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes, but unfortunately, they never even managed to reach half of what those brands sell in a year. With the 2022 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid, it still won’t win in terms of outright sales figures. Based on objective metrics alone, the Germans clearly outshine this Italian beauty. If viewed from that perspective, then the Ghibli is certainly not for everyone.
Where the Ghibli Hybrid excels is in terms of design and character. It’s not a sensible choice, but in a world where our high-end districts are filled with BMWs, Lexuses (Lexii?), Mercs, or Audis, you’ll definitely stand out driving a Maserati. Just seeing one brings in a sense of occasion and drama, and if a car that stirs your soul is what you’re after, then there’s nothing quite like the Maserati Ghibli in that respect. It’s not the most efficient electrified vehicle out there, but it’s still a nice first step for the Italian luxury automaker before it dips its toes into the world of fully-electric vehicles (EVs)–even if they’re already late to the EV party.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★☆☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★☆☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.1 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.