by Karl Furlong
With a rich motorsports history, historical ties with Ferrari, and legends like the MC12 to its name, Maserati's reputation as a producer of engaging sports cars is not to be taken lightly. But outside of performance, it's the glamor associated with owning a Maserati that makes it one of the most desired car brands in the world. It's almost a pity, then, that such a charismatic company seems more interested in crossovers than beguiling convertibles of late.
The new Maserati MC20 Cielo drop-top is here to change all that. This is a reminder that Maserati still has the wherewithal to lure you in with beautiful design. Make no mistake, though: the Cielo shares much of its mechanicals with the coupe and is still a formidable supercar. The Nettuno twin-turbo V6 with 621 horsepower effortlessly overcomes the drop-top's minor weight penalty, but how does the rest of it stack up? Let's find out.
See trim levels and configurations:
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
The 2023 Maserati MC20 Cielo's release date is set for late in 2022, when it is expected to reach showrooms in the USA.
No Maserati MC20 Cielo price has yet been published by the automaker. However, we can safely assume that it will carry a premium over the MC20 coupe in light of the Cielo's advanced retractable glass roof. We estimate a starting MSRP of around $240,000 for the Cielo.
At that price point, the Cielo will go up against rivals like the Ferrari Portofino M which has two more cylinders but less power. The extreme McLaren 720S Spider is another alternative but will cost well over $300,000.
The Maserati MC20 Cielo sports car's exterior design is a triumph. Building upon the already striking MC20, the Cielo - "Cielo" is Italian for "sky", by the way - draws even more attention when its retractable glass roof is down. Even when the roof is up, the electrochromic glass can be transformed from clear to opaque by pressing a button. The opening/closing speed is a swift 12 seconds, and with the roof down, the prominent buttresses lend the Cielo a unique profile.
The rest of the car shares components with the normal MC20 such as the sleek LED headlights and low-set front grille. Even more visual drama comes via the butterfly doors which Maserati promises eases ingress and egress. At the back are dual exhaust outlets and long taillight clusters.
As for the Maserati MC20 Cielo's colors, the launch shade is a three-layer metallic shade known as Acquamarina. Other available colors include Rosso Vincente (red), Grigio Mistero, Grigio Incognito, Giallo Genio (yellow), Bianco Audace (white), and Blu Infinito.
The dimensions of the Maserati MC20 Cielo are similar to those of the coupe. The Cielo measures 183.8 inches in length, 85.7 inches in width including the side mirrors, and 48.2 inches in height. As for the wheelbase, it is 106.3 inches long.
Maserati is most proud of the fact that despite the changes made to accommodate the retractable roof, the Cielo weighs only 143 pounds more than the coupe. We know that the coupe weighs around 3,300 lbs, so the Cielo still manages to come in at below 3,500 lbs.
The Maserati MC20 Cielo's engine is shared with the regular MC20. Recently, the Italian automaker said that it wouldn't be sharing this signature engine with other automakers, reserving it for its more performance-oriented models. The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged Nettuno V6 has excellent specs, delivering 621 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. That power goes to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, enabling a 0-62 mph sprint of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of just over 200 mph. The 0-60 mph time could be as low as 2.7 seconds.
Sharing its carbon-fiber tub with the regular MC20, the Cielo's structural integrity has not been compromised. There are five dynamic modes to customize the driving experience, including Wet, GT, Sport, Corsa, and ESC off.
Mpg ratings aren't super relevant in the supercar segment but, for what it's worth, Maserati claims that the MC20 Cielo will consume 11.5 liters per 100km combined based on the WLTP standard. That translates to just over 20 mpg, although EPA ratings are likely to be worse when they are published.
The biggest change to the Maserati MC20 Cielo's interior is the ambiance. With the roof down, it feels markedly different inside to the coupe. The ability to change the smart glass roof from clear to opaque is a novel touch, too.
For the rest, the interior is solidly crafted from high-quality materials and the exposed carbon fiber looks great. The design isn't super flashy and is quite minimalist, but that means there is less to detract from the driving experience. The Maserati MC20 Cielo's seats can be finished in a variety of color choices like Blu, Nero, and Nero/Rosso. An Interior Carbon Fiber Package is optional and includes carbon fiber paddle shifters and the same material applied to the door sills and cluster cap.
A Sonus Faber premium sound system with 12 speakers is another appealing option, although we'd rather enjoy the wail of the V6. A smart digital driver's display, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and a rotary drive mode selector are among the standard features. The Maserati MC20 Cielo's cargo space won't challenge a Quattroporte but that'll be the last thing on your mind when piloting this beauty.
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