Maserati airs out MC20 supercar with retractable smart glass roof
Twenty-twenty will be remembered around the world as a difficult year, but there were some positives to come out of it. The Maserati MC20 was one of them, marking Maserati's return to the true supercar segment. The year is even baked into the model's name, reminding us that light shines even in dark times. And sometimes that light nourishes growth that lasts well into the future. For the MC20, the next chapter of growth is the all-new MC20 Cielo, the much-anticipated convertible version of Maserati's butterfly-doored super-coupe.
"Cielo," quite fittingly, translates from Italian to "sky," something Cielo owners will be seeing a lot of from the driver's seat. That'll be true whether the top is up or down because the car uses a retractable glass roof to offer skyward views with or without blowing air. Opening or closing takes a mere 12 seconds. Should the driver tire of the view to the heavens, perhaps because of excessive sunlight pouring in, he or she can simply hit a selection on the 10.3-in Android-powered touchscreen and the Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC) smart glass will immediately switch from clear to opaque.
Beyond the new roof, the MC20 Cielo maintains the tasteful curviness of its older, solid-topped sibling but gains an unfortunately massive, distasteful trident tattoo on its polycarbonate engine cover. We find the subtler trident-shaped vent that adorned the MC20 coupe's engine cover at launch much more effective and in line with the overall styling. The oversized decal feels more like something a tuner would slap on one of its flamboyant creations, clashing something awful with the Cielo's smooth, restrained beauty. Happily, Maserati clarifies that the decal is an optional extra, not a mandatory punishment.
Power, of course, comes from Maserati's Nettuno engine, a masterpiece as noteworthy as the car itself, setting new benchmarks by pulling 621 hp (463 kW) and 538 lb-ft (730 Nm) out of a 3.0-liter V6 with help from twin turbochargers. By keeping overall vehicle weight gain down to 143 pounds (65 kg) over the coupe for a 3,395-lb (1,540-kg) curb weight, Maserati ensures that the Cielo continues to massage exhilarating numbers out of its twin-turbo, including a 3-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h), 9.2-second 0-124 mph (200 km/h) and 199-mph (320-km/h) top speed. For reference the coupe breaks down 2.9 seconds, 8.8 seconds and 202 mph (325 km/h).
To keep all-around handling and ride dynamics as sharp and confidence-inspiring as straight-line speed, Maserati gently reworks the carbon fiber distribution in the MC20's monocoque to account for the torsional rigidity lost with the switchover to convertible roof. The automaker also carries over the adjustable double-wishbone suspension with optional height-adjustment system.
The MC20 has always been a true supercar for the 21st century and the Cielo variant debuts a new 360-degree camera, autonomous emergency braking and traffic sign information as part of its driver-assistance suite. It also includes the parking sensors, rear-view camera and blind spot monitoring that are a part of the MY22 MC20 coupe's package.
The new roof doesn't affect the distinctive butterfly doors that separate the greater world from the carbon-, Alcantara- and leather-drenched two-seat cockpit. The driver steps in and takes hold of a thickened Alcantara-trimmed sport steering wheel while looking into a 10.3-in digital cluster. Paddle shifters for the dual-clutch eight-speed gearbox are within a finger's reach, and the blue engine start button beckons from its position slight right. A new five-drive-mode selector stands as a touch button located on the central tunnel. The optional Sonus Faber 12-speaker premium audio system automatically adapts the time-alignment, equalization and sound levels according to the MC20 Cielo's open/closed roof position, maintaining precise, seamless audio performance tailored to the real-time interior environment.
Maserati didn't drop pricing at this week's Cielo reveal, but expect it to reside somewhere north of the MC20 coupe's US$212,000 base.
The somewhat ridiculous one-minute intro video below shows a little MC20 Cielo and glass roof action.