by Jay Traugott
The Maserati MC20 could be the Italian carmaker's most important new model in years. Not only does it feature an in-house developed engine, but it's also a state-of-the-art supercar with endless potential. As one of the most exclusive brands on the market today, Maserati has a reputation for both luxury and performance. Its longtime motorsports activities also must not be forgotten. But this is the 21st century and it's time for Maserati to look ahead and the MC20 supercar halo model is ideally suited to herald in a new era.
The MC20, according to Maserati, is an engineering and styling masterpiece capable of incredible on- and off-track performance. Designed in Modena, Italy, Maserati says the MC20 offers best-in-class power-to-weight ratio, refined aerodynamics, state-of-the-art suspension tuning, and a luxurious interior equipped with the latest connectivity tech and other essential features.
But if there's one core thing everyone must know it's this: the MC20 is not a rebadged Ferrari. This new machine is 100 percent Maserati through and through.
Every supercar requires a stunning design, and the Maserati MC20 is no different. With its mid-engine setup, designers were able to push the boundaries more than ever and they lived up to the challenge by delivering an aerodynamic look that's also elegant with numerous design nods to Maserati's past.
The upper section has a more aesthetic approach while the bare carbon fiber lower part is more aggressively styled with sharp edges and angles. The idea was to create a fine design balance mixing old and new. The front grille, which features the newly redesigned Trident emblem, also sports bare carbon fiber with a body-color upper section. The front wing, one should notice, lacks the three air vents found on other Maserati models for one very important reason: the engine is located behind the driver. Those air vents, instead, are now located on the rear window. Although they can't be seen from every angle, there are air vents on the hood and side to help cool the engine.
A discreet rear spoiler is present along with a rear diffuser with integrated exhaust pipes located above it. And then there are the insanely cool butterfly doors. Six new exterior colors are available.
After opening those butterfly doors you'll find a fully modern and equally elegant yet minimalist interior. There are two 10.25-inch high-resolution screens, one serving as the driver's all-digital gauge cluster while the other houses the Maserati Touch Control Plus infotainment system.
The central tunnel is covered in carbon fiber and luxury watch-inspired driving mode selector is perfectly located at the top of that tunnel. Another noteworthy feature is the racing-inspired sport steering wheel, covered in a mix of black leather and carbon fiber. It has only core buttons and switches. In fact, this steering wheel boasts Maserati's first-ever ignition button. Even the Start and Launch Control buttons are integrated into the wheel's central surround.
A pair of big paddle shifters are fixed to the steering column. Yet another cool feature is the frameless rearview mirror. A six-speaker premium sound system is standard while a 12-speaker Sonus Faber high-premium sound system is optional. Driver and passenger (there are no rear seats) also enjoy modern tech features like a Wi-Fi hotspot.
For the first time in more than two decades, Maserati has developed and built its own engine without the assistance of Ferrari. The result is called 'Nettuno'. This 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 produces a total of 621 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque. That power goes directly to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
This engine has Formula 1 tech and a best-in-class weight/power ratio of 5.3 pounds/horsepower. The MC20 itself weighs less than 3,300 pounds.
Maserati claims the MC20 will blast from 0 to 62 mph in less than 2.9 seconds and to 124 mph in no more than 8.8 seconds. Top speed, depending on road conditions, is above 201 mph. Impressively, these figures are achieved without any electrical assistance, though an all-electric MC20 will arrive in a few years. Maserati designed a new composite monocoque that can accommodate both coupe and convertible body styles.
Drivers can select up to five driving modes and settings for the throttle response, suspension, and gearbox. The adjustable suspension has a double-wishbone design front and rear.
The MC20 will face some stiff supercar competition. Having over 600 hp places it in an exclusive club whose members include the Ford GT, Aston Martin DB11 AMR, and the Porsche 911 Turbo. In the not too distant future, the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will arrive on the scene as well. The McLaren 720S is another worthy rival. Domestically, the MC20 could be compared to the Ferrari F8 Tributo, though the latter has about 90 more horsepower. However, both the Ferrari and Maserati have identical 0 to 62 mph times and nearly the same top speeds.
Maserati has not yet announced official pricing or a launch date, but we expect sales will get underway next year. Expect prices to begin in the low six-figure range. Production will take place entirely in Modena, Italy.