New Maserati MC20: V6 or electric Ferrari-fighter revealed

Published: 09 September 2020

► 621bhp V6 or fully electric
► RWD, coupe or convertible
► Surprise return to motorsport

Maserati has been busy of late, building up a portfolio of sensible saloons and SUVs to entice the masses into PCP deals. But if it wants to flog finance deals, what’s the best advertising strategy? That’s right, a bonkers, beautiful, and completely bitchin’ flagship to show that Il Tridente is capable of giving Ferrari a bloody nose.

As flagships go, the MC20 ticks all of the boxes and then some. The press invite said it’s time to be audacious, and that sounds about right to us. After all, a return to the supercar fold after a 16-year break via a carbonfibre-tubbed, £180,000+ coupe/convertible with a Maserati-derived V6 or electric powertrain and diagonal doors does smack of audacity.

The truth is Maserati needs to be audacious in order to step out of the shadow of Ferrari. Behind the amazing figures and surprise powertrains, the MC20 is more than a halo car. It’s a rebirth for the brand.

It spells a surprise return to motorsport for Maserati. MC stands for Maserati Corse (or Maserati Racing in the Queen’s english), and the Modena-based car firm says it’ll compete in some form of motorsport, although specifics haven’t been revealed yet.

Maserati 2020 front

We can hyperbole until the cows come home, but let’s get down to figures. The twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 makes 621bhp, which is sent to the rear-wheels. Top speed is around 202mph, 0-62mph is dispatched in less than 3.0seconds, and it will crack 0-124mph in 8.8seconds. The electric version is even quicker, if not quite as fast top end.

Propulsion? Plenty

The new V6 engine is the first engine Maserati has made since 2001. It’s called Nettuno and it will go on to form the basis of engines used in future cars.

Nettuno means Neptute in English. It refers to Masertati’s trident emblem. And if we had to put a minimum bhp figure that allows a car to be compared with the trident belonging to the water god, in charge of earthquakes in Roman mythology, we’d say roughly 600bhp. So Maserati is off to a cracking start.

The 207bhp per litre specific power output is thanks to an F1-derived technology, which Maserati calls Twin Combustion. Fuel injection for each cylinder can be split between two chambers. A traditional one, and a smaller pre-chamber.

Maserati MC20 rear

The engine’s ECU knows which one to pick depending on demand. The result is that there’s more power, and efficiency. Win win.

The fully-electric version won’t be along until 2021. Performance is equally as thrilling as the V6. Maserati isn't talking specifics right now, but expect top speed north of 190mph, a 0-62mph of sub 3.0seconds, and the 0-124mph in less than 8.5seconds.

We expect the range to be between 230 and 250 miles. Maserati tells us that the switch to electric won’t make a vast change to the way the cars look.

Design: no spoilers

Okay, no spoilers isn’t strictly true. Technically there's one at the rear - but it’s tiny and purposeful. It apparently enhances the up-washing generated by the floor, while increasing the downforce as well. Over two thousand man-hours were spent in Dallara’s wind tunnel to create a car so aerodynamically pure.

Those hours in the lab have paid off because it looks amazing in the metal. It definitely has that wow factor, and the coloured top and naked carbonfibred bottom contrast in a serious way.

Conceptually, there is a reason for this. The MC 20 is split into two designs; top and bottom. Up top is all about style, while the lower part is more serious.

Maserati MC20 side

There are all kinds of air vents and vortexes on the outside, but they’re designed to be unobtrusive. It’s almost practical too - behind the rear seats is enough room for two aircraft cabin bags, while the front boot has 47 litres of space. The rear boot has 101 litres' worth.

Oddly for a car so focussed on catapulting Maserati into a new era, the MC 20’s colours are all-new and unique for the car, but hark back to a Maserati of the past. For instance, Rosso Vicente is a hat tip to Maserati’s first racing car - the Tipo 26.

Driver focussed interior

Inside, it’s as thoroughly modern as the rest of the car. Maserati describes it as essential, functional and rational. The company is spot on with this assessment - it looks purposeful, but it doesn’t feel or look stingy.

Slide into those carbonfibre seats and drivers will notice a super-thick steering wheel developed by Maserati test driver and former MC 12 racer, Andrea Bertolini. The wheel only has the essentials - well the essentials for any supercar - so the start and launch control buttons.

There’s no rear-view mirror. It’s been replaced with a digital mirror connected to a wide-angle camera. Speaking of missing things, the MC 20 ditches Maserati’s usual analogue dash-mounted clock dash.

Presumably aimed at influencers, the rotary drive mode switch on the central tunnel is styled like a watch. Through this, drivers can toggle traction control, throttle, gearshift, and turbo boost maps via four different driving modes…

Maserati MC20 interior

GT (default)

Engine boost: normal
Pedal sensitivity: normal
Active exhaust valve: open above 5,000rpm
Gear shift: slow and smooth
Suspension: soft
T/C: normal

Wet

Engine boost: limited
Pedal sensitivity: normal
Active exhaust valve: open above 5,000rpm
Gear shift: slow and smooth
Suspension: soft
T/C: all controls on

Sport

Engine boost: normal
Pedal sensitivity: low resistance, high sensitivity
Active exhaust valve: open above 3,500rpm
Gear shift: fast and direct
Suspension: stiff
T/C: some controls deactivated

Corsa

Engine boost: maximum
Pedal sensitivity: low resistance, extremely sensitivity
Active exhaust valve: always open
Gear shift: racing
Suspension: racing
T/C: racing, with launch control available to use via steering wheel

ESC off

Everything off. Basically Corsa but with traction control completely deactivated.

Infotainment

It’s true, we can’t even write about a supercar in 2020 without mentioning infotainment.

Despite the minimalist interior, the MC 20 features a 10.25-inch infotainment screen with a wi-fi hotspot. Maserati’s phone app shows the important fuel and oil levels, as well as tyre pressures, and the usual array of tracking features.

It also works with Google and Alexa smart speakers, perfect for the supercar-drive who must know their oil levels from the confines of their own home.

What will really please the anally retentive types is that Maserati will send owners a monthly email report detailing information about the engine, brakes, and suspension.

Maserati has hit another first with the MC 20 - it’ll be the first car equipped with a premium-sound system from Italian firm Sonus Faber.

By Murray Scullion

Bauer Automotive’s finance editor; keeps an eye on finance trends and manufacturer deals. Loves old fast cars

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