Future Maserati models to use tech from MC20’s new 463kW V6

Nettuno engine will be offered only in supercar, but its twin-combustion ignition tech will appear elsewhere.

Maserati’s new 463kW twin-turbocharged V6 –  the first engine it has produced in-house for more than 20 years – will be offered only in the MC20 supercar, but technology from it will appear elsewhere.

Named in reference to the Roman god who inspired the Italian firm’s trident logo, the Nettuno is being developed and hand-built at the new Maserati Engine Lab in Modena.

Producing 583lb ft of torque along with 463kW of power, the 3.0-litre engine is entirely free of electrification, instead using a twin-combustion ignition system to improve response.

Derived from Formula 1 technology, each of the 90deg-mounted cylinders features an extra pre-chamber containing a second spark plug, along with a dual-direct-injection system. Fuel can be fed into both chambers, with the twin sparkplugs allowing each to be fired separately. Maserati says this improves the engine’s response while also reducing fuel comsumption and reducing emissions.

The Nettuno has been developed for the MC20 – which will also be offered in future with an electric powertrain – but Matteo Valentini, Maserati’s chief engineer for high-performance petrol engines, said that it won’t be built elsewhere.

“The Nettuno is built only for the MC20, so you will see it only on that car,” he said. “But the plan is that the technology from it, particularly the twin-combustion system, will be used on many other engines in the future.”

Maserati is currently developing a new range of vehicles, including the Grecale small SUV and new versions of the Granturismo and Grancabrio, which will be offered with a range of petrol and electrified engines. It’s likely that the twin-combustion technology will be offered on higher-end performance versions of those models.

Maserati didn’t specify whether powertrains featuring its technology will only be offered on only its models or could also be used by other Stellantis brands.

While pre-chamber technology has been used in engined previously, Maserati claims the Nettuno is the first production road engine to feature it and has patented key parts of its technology.

A number of rival supercar firms have turned to electrified hybrid technology to increase power and reduce turbo lag, but Valentini said the pre-chamber technology enabled Maserati to retain a pure-petrol unit.

“When we set the performance parameters of the engine, our first choice was to increase the size of the turbocharger and introduce some e-booster to get rid of the lag,” he said. “When we analysed it, we decided that was expensive, not very reliable and very complicated.

“With the pre-chamber technology, we could generate the performance and efficiency we wanted but keep the same size of conventional turbocharger.”

James Attwood

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