Here it is, the new Maserati MC20, and the first thing you need to know is that the “MC” stands for Maserati Corse, while “20” refers to 2020, the year of the model’s world premiere and the start of a new era for the brand.
Billed as a “worthy successor to the MC12,” which is the company’s previous halo sports car, every aspect of the MC20 was developed completely in-house in Modena. This includes its Nettuno engine, which marks Maserati’s return to producing its own power units after a hiatus of more than 20 years. The decision to do so is the result of the company deciding against renewing its engine supply deal with Ferrari once the current contract expires, but that isn’t such a bad thing.
Despite forgoing engines from one of the biggest names in the business, Maserati’s own creation has all the right numbers to make headlines. The mid-mounted 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 makes 630 PS (621 hp) at 7,500 rpm and 730 Nm of torque from 3,000 rpm, which matches the MC12’s larger 6.0 litre naturally-aspirated V12 in terms of horsepower and eclipses it in terms of torque (652 Nm).
The mill also employs a technology derived from Formula 1 in the form of a pre-chamber combustion system featuring twin-spark plugs, located between the main combustion chamber and spark plug to enhance combustion.
Other technologies include a secondary lateral spark plug to ensure constant ignition throughout the rev range and a twin-injection fuel system to helps to lower noise, emissions and fuel consumption. Other aspects of the engine are a 90-degree V architecture, a dry sump system and runs, an 11:1 compression ratio, along with a bore of 88 mm and stroke of 82 mm.
Mated to the engine is an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, which drives the rear wheels via a limited-slip, self-locking mechanical differential, although an electronic version is available as an option.
Put together, the package allows for a zero to 100 km/h time of under 2.9 seconds, while the sprint to 200 km/h takes less the 8.8 seconds. Flat out, you’ll hit a top speed of over 325 km/h. Maserati also quotes a braking distance of less than 33 metres when decelerating to a dead stop from 100 km/h.
The stopping power comes courtesy of 380 mm front discs that are clamped on by six-piston Brembo calipers, while the rear is fitted with 350 mm discs and four-piston units. With the optional carbon ceramic brake package, the discs on both ends gain an extra 10 mm.
All this performance is packaged in a body that took Maserati about 24 months to design, which saw the use of complex computer and fluid dynamics simulations, as well as time spent in the wind tunnel.
The final shape boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.38, with the foundation being a monocoque carbon-fibre tub with double wishbones all around. Developed in partnership with Dallara, the chassis is designed to enable coupe and convertible versions of the MC20, as well as for a fully-electric powertrain.
Maserati says the guiding theme of the MC20’s design was its historic identity, and we see some of that at the front, where the pointed nose echoes the MC12, along with a vented bonnet. Beyond that, the MC20’s design is individually unique and modern, with vertical-style headlamps positioned at the edges help to provide the vehicle with a wider stance.
These lead into prominent haunches that lead into air extractors just behind the front wheels, which continue to channel air along the sills towards inlets ahead of the rear wheels. Flush door handles for the butterfly doors also contribute to the aforementioned drag coefficient figure, while intakes located below the revised side trident logos feed the Nettuno with much needed air.
Focusing on the rear, we find high-mounted dual exhausts that are surrounded by plenty of four air outlets and a diffuser element, while the slim taillights sport a distinctive light signature beside the updated Maserati script. One area that exudes flamboyance is the glass engine cover, which has been crafted to prominently display a trident as a nod to the company’s logo. This is joined by additional meshed areas, the reverse camera, third brake light and a discreet spoiler.
The elegant body is finished with touches of exposed carbon-fibre for the front splitter, roof, side sills and rear diffuser, plus a set of 20-inch wheels with staggered tyre sizes (245/35 front and 305/30 rear). For its launch, six new colours have also been developed, including Bianco Audace, Giallo Genio, Rosso Vincente, Blu Infinito, Nero Enigma and Grigio Mistero.
Put together, the entire car has a kerb weight of just under 1,500 kg, which, along with the 630 PS engine, works out to a weight/power ration of 2.33 kg/PS. Unlike the Enzo-based MC12, the MC20 is a much smaller car, measuring 4,669 mm long, 1,965 mm wide and 1,221 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,700 mm. For context, the MC12 was a whopping 5,143 mm long, 2,096 mm wide, 1,205 mm tall and had a wheelbase of 2,800 mm.
Moving inside, the MC20’s interior is bespoke to that of any current Maserati model, with clear emphasis on the driver and that “nothing must distract them from the sporting driving experience.” As such, two air vents are dedicated to the driver, while the Alcantara/carbon-fibre steering wheel isn’t festooned with too many buttons, accommodating just the cruise control, media, engine start/stop and launch controls.
The driver also looks at a 10-inch digital instrument cluster display for all vital driving information, with further vehicle functions being accessed via a touchscreen of the same size on the dashboard. Said touchscreen is linked to the Maserati Touch Control Plus system with Maserati Intelligent Assistant (MTC Plus MIA), which also handles climate functions and just about everything else.
With simplicity being the focus, the centre console is also devoid of unnecessary controls, with a dial dedicated to switching between the available drive modes (GT, Wet, Sport, Corsa and ESC Off), two buttons for engaging manual mode and reverse, the power window controls, media controls and a stowage space underneath the armrest. For some convenience, there’s also a wireless smartphone charger and a bunch of connected services to operate.
Production of the MC20 is set to begin at the end of 2020 and will take place at the company’s Viale Ciro Menotti plant, which is where the previous GranTurismo and GranCabrio models were assembled until November 2019. While the MC12 was built in extremely limited numbers (only 62 in total including 12 race cars), it looks like the MC20 won’t follow that path. However, the company has expressed its intention to return to the world of racing, so expect a racing version in the future.