Automotive

Maserati is back in the game: Meet the gorgeous MC20 supercar

Maserati is back in the game: ...
With the MC20, Maserati returns to the world of serious performance, exotic supercars, and indeed racing
With the MC20, Maserati returns to the world of serious performance, exotic supercars, and indeed racing
View 17 Images
With the MC20, Maserati returns to the world of serious performance, exotic supercars, and indeed racing
1/17
With the MC20, Maserati returns to the world of serious performance, exotic supercars, and indeed racing
Upward-opening doors: you better believe it's got 'em
2/17
Upward-opening doors: you better believe it's got 'em
Multi-mode infotainment system is geared more towards performance parameters
3/17
Multi-mode infotainment system is geared more towards performance parameters
Wet, GT, Sport and Corsa modes
4/17
Wet, GT, Sport and Corsa modes
Sporty seats that look quite comfy
5/17
Sporty seats that look quite comfy
Center console is sparse and business-focused
6/17
Center console is sparse and business-focused
Steering wheel and full color dash
7/17
Steering wheel and full color dash
There's lots of carbon in the cabin, which attempts to bring a few luxury touches to a very performance-focused platform
8/17
There's lots of carbon in the cabin, which attempts to bring a few luxury touches to a very performance-focused platform
Sharp, thin tail lights
9/17
Sharp, thin tail lights
The trident makes an appearance in abstract form in the engine cover vents
10/17
The trident makes an appearance in abstract form in the engine cover vents
MC20 stands for Maserati Corse 2020
11/17
MC20 stands for Maserati Corse 2020
Wheel and skirt aerodynamics in carbon
12/17
Wheel and skirt aerodynamics in carbon
Engine air intakes are de-emphasized in the design
13/17
Engine air intakes are de-emphasized in the design
The MC20 is low, wide, lean and beautiful
14/17
The MC20 is low, wide, lean and beautiful
Maserati's first serious underbody aerodynamics
15/17
Maserati's first serious underbody aerodynamics
Top-down view
16/17
Top-down view
Rounded grille recalls F1 cars of the sixties
17/17
Rounded grille recalls F1 cars of the sixties
View gallery - 17 images

Early leaks over the last few days may have ruined some of the surprise, but Maserati has finally launched its MC20 supercar and the future of its brand. The 630-horsepower V6 engine is a fully in-house design, and the car itself is a beauty.

It must've been tough for these guys for the last 20 years, sitting there in the storied Motor Valley of Modena, watching its neighbors Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani pumping out blisteringly fast supercars year after year as Maserati relatively humbly took Ferrari's engines and made a series of increasingly anonymous sedans and SUVs out of them.

Now, the company can hold its head up high again. It's got a proper exotic supercar on its books, with a record breaking engine designed and built in-house. That record is for the highest power density in a V6; the Nettuno engine extracts 630 horsepower and 730 Nm (538 lb-ft) from three liters of displacement.

Today we see the rest of the car, and while it does maintain some of the classy design restraint that characterizes the rest of the Maserati range, it's every inch a supermodel and makes a few statements of its own in the supercar class.

The MC20 is low, wide, lean and beautiful
The MC20 is low, wide, lean and beautiful

The philosophy here is business at the bottom, party at the top. The lower half of the car is all engineering, a carbon fiber chassis with Maserati's first serious underbody aeros. The top half is all hand-sculpted sexiness, with curves that might fall a little closer to the Aston Martin school of design than the Ferrari one, but that do sing a lovely song. And the doors open upward, so you can feel as special as you like as you hoist yourself in and out of the MC20's ground-hugging cabin.

The three little side vents that have features on all recent Mazzas have been relocated to the sides of the abstract trident-branded rear engine cover, which makes sense since they were only ever there to vent engine heat. Bucking the trend with most of these high-powered beasts, Maserati has steered away from emphasizing big holes in this design. The engine intakes, for example, are tucked away in the hips of the car rather than being showcase items.

Maserati's first serious underbody aerodynamics
Maserati's first serious underbody aerodynamics

The back of the car is designed to look even wider and lower than it is, which is very. The naked carbon underbody rises up more than halfway up the vehicle, and the black engine cover drops right down to sandwich a thin shell of bodywork punctuated by wide, razor-sharp taillights. The front, on the other hand, centers around a rounded-off grille that recalls the front of a 60s-era F1 car from certain angles.

The interior is interesting, too; the MC20 is absolutely designed to be a high performance road and track car, with just enough comfort and luxury touches to make it an attractive week-long tourer as well. The compromise has been well handled here; there's a lot of bare carbon in the cabin, and controls are minimal and focused. But the seats look about as comfy and padded as you could hope for in a serious sports car, and the wide-aspect touch screen can handle connectivity and infotainment as well as fine-tuning your performance parameters.

The carbon frame – a first for Maserati – has allowed for a kerb weight "under 1,500 kg" (3,307 lb), putting it about where you'd expect, and giving it a 2.33 kg/hp power to weight ratio that the company says tops its class. Making 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in less than 2.9 seconds, 0-200 km/h (0-124 mph) in less than 8.8 seconds, and with a top speed over 325 km/h (202 mph), there's plenty of opportunity here to get yourself in trouble.

There's lots of carbon in the cabin, which attempts to bring a few luxury touches to a very performance-focused platform
There's lots of carbon in the cabin, which attempts to bring a few luxury touches to a very performance-focused platform

Maserati says the MC20 "announces the intention to return to the world of racing," and we'll see what form that takes in the coming months. But for now, the company is clearly glowing with pride over its first proper supercar since the MC12, and a new engine platform and design philosophy that point to a more audacious future. Exciting times!

We embed two videos below. The first is a fairly standard hype promo, the second features Klaus Busse, head of design for Fiat, Abarth, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Maserati at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, giving you a bit of a walkaround. The latter offers a lot more detail on the design, as well as the opportunity to wonder how Busse, who's over 6 foot 7 inches (201 cm) tall, is going to fit in the tiny MC20. Watching him get in and out would be fun!

Maserati MC20 hype video
Klaus Busse introduces the Maserati MC20

Source: Maserati

View gallery - 17 images
9 comments
Nobody
Super car??? It looks better than all the fins, scoops and wings on most with a very smooth curvy design. The engine performance is good. With all the carbon it is still heavier than my 12 year old Corvette with not a lot more horsepower. Performance numbers look good but the new Corvette pretty well matches it at a far, far lower price that I can afford.
Username
Clearly, I need one.
Grunchy
All of these super/hyper cars are nothing but glorified scams. The reason being that they are practically unservicable except through outrageously overpriced dealers (same as Tesla, by the way). I have long been interested in possibly buying a 2nd hand Cadillac XLR as a cheaper alternative to a Corvette. However after "the Wizard" recently replaced a radiator on one, and found out it cost as much as fixing a Maserati, I realized: these cars are mistakes.
https://youtu.be/hN-3Dn1aDT8
And when you think about it these high-end hyper cars are mimicking genuine race cars, except that race cars are specifically designed to be as easy to service as possible.
Pmeon
Boring
christopher
"V6 engine is a fully in-house design" - I thought dinosaurs were extinct? Engines are made from copper and magnets now - where do you find engineers who don't understand that ?
martinwinlow
Yep. Just what the planet needs right now. Another hopelessly ill-concieved fossil-fuel-burning dinosaur (and a very fat one at that). When are all you petrol heads going to wake up and grow up?
martinwinlow
Oh, and Grunchy - you will apparently be surprised to learn that servicing of Teslas is not required for the honouring of the warranty - at all, whether by Tesla or anyone else.
michael_dowling
Grunchy: If you can afford to buy it,you can afford to be royally screwed by dealer charges. Why we have to be shown a car only the 1% can afford is a mystery to me.
Johannes
Fantastic styling, with references to Audi, Aston Martin, older Lamborghinis, and others. Maybe that's why the trident is everywhere. Not sure how many "iconic" elements there were as I lost count in Klaus's description. And the driver will only be able to keep their eyes on the road if they can switch off that centre dash display. It was a bit incongruous with a car that claimed to be all about the driving.