When FCA boss Mike Manley told us back in 2019 he had big plans for Maserati, we didn’t think it would include taking on the supercar elite.
The Maserati MC20 marks the beginning of a new era for the brand, one that’s set to turn the famous Italian marque into a real rival for the likes of Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, as well as former stable mate Ferrari.
It also marks the start of a new era of propulsion for Maserati; although the MC20 will debut with a super-advanced Nettuno V6 under the bonnet, it has been designed with fully electric power in mind, too.
The Nettuno engine features twin-turbos and is the first engine produced in-house by Maserati in over 20 years. With 463kW and 730Nm of torque it gets the MC20 from 0-100km/h in under 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 325km/h.
The 90-degree, dry-sump V6 features twin combustion technology. A combustion chamber is set between the central electrode and the traditional combustion chamber, connected by a series of specially-designed holes, while a traditional sparkplug ensures constant combustion when the engine doesn’t need the pre-chamber to kick in.
A twin injection system linked to the fuel supply pressure at 350bar reduces noise at low revs to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
Plenty of lightweight materials contribute to a kerb weight of just 1,500kg, giving the car a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio, according to Maserati.
The sleek body is the work of FCA chief designer Klaus Busse and his team, referencing the MC20’s predecessor the MC12 and featuring butterfly doors, chosen for access rather than aesthetic reasons.
A prominent Maserati Trident sits proudly in the low, wide grille, while large air intakes sit beneath restrained LED headlights. At the back slim, wide LED lights accentuate the car’s width, while twin exhausts sit just below and to either side of the rear number plate just above the rear diffuser.The V6 engine is just about visible through the rear screen, which sits ahead of a discreet rear spoiler. The Trident also appears on the rear C pillars and the wheel centres, while a metallic MC20 badge sits at the front of the doors.
The overall look is compact although the total length of 4,669mm makes the MC20 slightly longer than a Ferrari F8 Tributo and a McLaren 720S. However, Maserati refers to the brand’s historic identity, citing elegance, performance and comfort, hinting that the car may be more of a GT than its rivals. As such, there’s 150-litres of luggage space, 50 in the front and 100 in the back.
Adaptive suspension features double wishbones all-round with a virtual steering axle, with 97 per cent of the dynamic development of the car done digitally before a programme of road and track work to further refine the feel.
A limited slip self-locking rear differential also features, while Wet, GT, Sport and Corsa settings change suspension, steering and engine settings. They’re selected via a switch on the centre console just ahead of two buttons to select either automatic or manual forward gears, or reverse.The MC20 features an eight-speed dual clutch automatic box with large manual paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, which also features ignition and launch control buttons.
The rest of the cabin is restrained, yet beautifully trimmed with plenty of carbon fibre on show and the Trident appearing again on the bucket seats’ headrests.
There are two 10-inch screens – one in front of the driver and one for the multimedia system, which can be controlled by a dial a bit far back by the driver’s elbow, just ahead of an armrest that hides a storage bin.
Connectivity services include navigation, Alexa and a Wi-Fi hotspot, there’s wireless charging for your smartphone and you can connect to the car through a phone or watch app.
Pricing also positions the MC20 in an interesting place, expected to be some way shy of a Ferrari F8 Tributo or McLaren 720S, but ahead of those brands’ ‘entry-level’ models. You can put your order in now and if you’re one of the first, you can expect delivery by the end of 2021.