Maserati’s new era is set to begin with the $438,000 MC20

The all-new Maserati MC20, a mid-engined supercar that will spearhead the relaunch of Maserati as a top-level luxury and performance brand, will arrive in Australia next year wearing a $438,000 price tag. The Australian allocation for the first 18 months is already sold out.

Featuring a completely new chassis, powertrain and design language, the MC20 is a big moment for the brand, but promises to be just the start of its renaissance. The new MC20 not only signals the beginning of a new generation for Maserati, but a sign that the brand itself will be an important part of the new world order between FCA and its merger with French conglomerate PSA.

The MC20’s technical story begins with its carbonfibre tub chassis, matching McLaren’s new Sport Series in offering a flexible, rigid and lightweight structure that underpins the package. The chassis itself was designed by Maserati with support from legendary Italian racing constructor Dallara due to their experience of structural carbon, and just as Alfa Romeo did with the 4C, Maserati will also then outsource production of it to Dallara. The tub will then return to Maserati’s rejuvenated Modena production facility where the car is assembled.

The MC20’s dynamic behaviour is the result of 20,000 hours in the firm’s new dynamic simulator, with 96% of dynamic development taking place in the virtual world. Both the front and rear suspension are double wishbone in design, with each wishbone having a two bottom links and a single top link. Unusual for the MC20 is a ‘semi-virtual’ steering system, which essentially reduces the amount of camber and castor the front wheels experience to reach full lock, keeping more of the front tyre’s contact patch on the road consistent regardless of steering angle. Maserati quotes the DIN kerb weight at 1470kg.

The ‘Nettuno’ engine is all-new and – for now – only used in the MC20, with a bespoke block, crank and rods. At 3000cc exactly, the 90-degree V6 is twin-turbocharged and rated at 463kW, the highest output of any non-hybridised six-cylinder engine currently on the market. Peak power is achieved at 7500rpm, with peak torque rated at 730Nm between 3000 and 5500rpm.

To achieve these figures, Maserati has employed a range of new technology, led by a new dual-combustion system pioneered in Formula 1 during the 2017 season. The system works in simple terms by priming each power stroke in a second, smaller combustion chamber that then is released into the main chamber, smoothing out the combustion process, thus improving efficiency and increasing power.

This process is supplemented with a dual-injection system with direct injection taking place under low loads, switching to the more traditional port injection at high load forcing more fuel into the cylinder. It also has twin-spark ignition and a dry sump lubrication system.

The engine powers the rear wheels via an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission, with no plans for a manual option, and then through an electronically-controlled rear differential that can split torque by up to 100 percent to each individual rear wheel.

An all-electric version of the MC20 will follow the petrol-powered model, with the carbonfibre chassis designed specifically to support both powertrains with little-to-no modification. Maserati promises that the MC20 will reach 100km/h in 2.9 seconds, 200km/h in less than 8.8sec and go on to a top speed of at least 325km/h. Maserati has also revealed performance figures of the EV variant, with it hitting 100km/h in under 2.8sec while also having a 380km range.

Alongside the new chassis and powertrain, the MC20 also introduces a new design language that less references the past and instead looks to Maserati’s future. Transformed from a simple sketch into a production model in just 18 months, the MC20’s combination of classic Maserati design elements and a more contemporary, technical aesthetic have created what appears to be a handsome car.

Aero devices have been largely kept below the bodywork, with no obvious wings or active aero visible within the bodywork.

At $438,000 plus on-road costs, the MC20 lands right among the established supercar players. It sits above the $395,000 Audi R8 Performance, $409,888 Ferrari Roma and $395,000 McLaren 570S, but below the $460K Lamborghini Huracan Evo and $484,888 Ferrari F8 Tributo.

Jesse Taylor 

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