Maserati’s 724bhp MCXtrema finally hits the track | CAR Magazine

Maserati’s 724bhp MCXtrema finally hits the track

Published: 26 March 2024 Updated: 26 March 2024

► Maserati MCXtrema goes testing
► 724bhp twin-turbo V6, 557bhp/tonne
► Modified to track-only extremes

Maserati’s MCXtrema has begun testing at its natural home: the race track. Its thorough testing program kicked off last month in Parma around the Autodromo Varano de’ Melegari, with the first few laps turned in by Maserati’s chief test driver Andrea Bertolini. 

MCXtrema - front quarter

Testing represents the next chapter in the MCXtrema’s quick development cycle, and one of the last before all 62 examples are delivered to customers in late summer 2024.

Physical testing is the finishing touch; before Maserati’s track toy even hit the tarmac, engineers had already put it through around 200 hours of dynamic simulation and over 1000 hours of virtual analysis. Now that data will be compared with the on-track feedback. 

MCXtrema - side profile

‘For months, we worked together with a team of highly skilled and passionate people, waiting for the moment we could bring the finished object to its natural habitat, after putting it through its virtual paces in sophisticated simulations,’ said Bertolini. 

‘With MCXtrema, we have raised the bar of development even further, working with the track in sight and always bearing in mind the needs of the Maserati customer, who remains the focus of our work and to whom this car is dedicated.

For more on the MCXtrema, keep reading.

MCXtrema - rear dynamic

Everything else you need to know

Visually, you can just about figure that it’s based on the Maserati MC20 road car, but the revised carbonfibre bodywork no longer has to comply with any kind of type approval and the designers have gone to town maximising the aero.

MCXtrema - chase car

That substantial splitter and sharky nose seem to emphasis the raised wheel arch wells even further at the front, while a set of what appears to be wind-channelling over-fenders add attitude to the rear – even before you clock the central shark fin, adjustable spoiler and vented engine compartment over the monster diffuser.

Weirdly, in spite of all that modernity it reminds us of earlier supercar excess somehow, shades of 365/512 BB Ferrari and later De Tomaso Panteras. Maserati, of course, would rather we were put in mind of the MC12, the last time the firm let itself so utterly off the leash.

Just wait until you see the interior…

MCXtrema - front side in rain

What is it?

Maserati puts it this way: ‘A car dedicated to the excellence of gentleman drivers and racing cars’ enthusiasts, designed to impress and to ignite passion for extreme racing, ready to conquer the tracks around the world – in private test sessions – with its fine design and mind-blowing performance.’

In case that’s not clear, the MCXtrema is the latest example of a homologation-dodging track toy based on an existing road car. Going this route means no worrying about regulations governing road or racing cars, and also the opportunity to charge an absolute fortune for the privilege of high performance and exclusivity.

Maserati MCXtrema - top

Maserati claims it’s ‘unleashing a true racing beast, something different and disruptive compared with anything that has ever been done before.’ Publishing that ahead of the final reveal, we thought someone in the press team might have had a few too many espressos. But while the MCXtrema doesn’t seem quite as wild as the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro – placing a greater emphasis on the gentleman driver element in the process, perhaps – there are certainly plenty of pieces here that genuinely get our pulse racing.

And in a world where supercar track slayers seem to come out of the mould every few minutes, that’s saying something.

What makes the MCXtrema so special?

Much of this you would probably expect, but we’re still drawn in by the details.

The MCXtrema uses an upgraded version of the MC20’s 621bhp Nettune V6 engine – a new pair of turbos helping it reach 724bhp and 538lb ft. A dry-sump oil system will help keep things lubricated on track, and the horses hit the road at the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox and mechanical limited-slip differential.

MCXtrema - cornering

The bespoke race exhaust system maintains a catalytic converter – we aren’t dealing with hooligans here, after all – and you get race-grade carbonfibre brakes. The ‘ultra-light’ central carbonfibre monocoque is reinforced by an FIA-spec safety cage, there’s an FIA-spec fuel tank and air jacks. Yes, air jacks, because you’re definitely going to want to have the right tyres on at the right time, here.

Less obvious aerodynamic features include the flat underbody, while the revised double-wishbone suspension geometry is supported by adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars and four-way adjustable racing shock absorbers. Springs can be adapted to suit, too. The wheels are 18-inch centre-lock items.

Maserati MCXtrema - front, driving

The adjustability continues with the Maserati Corse traction control, the electric power-steering system, the brake bias and the ‘engine strategies’ – all of which can be refined by the driver on the fly.

Maserati hasn’t quite hit its targeted dry weight of 1250kg, instead saying the MCXtrema weighs approximately 1300kg before fluids. But that’s still around 557bhp per tonne.

What’s going on with the cockpit?

Cockpit is the right word, as the view from the driver’s seat makes it look as if Maserati has dropped the MCXtrema on top of a single-seater racing car.

Instead of a conventional dashboard and steering wheel, the person at the controls is faced with a F1-style yoke with large integrated display screen – taking care of the instrumentation. The MC20 dashboard itself has been stripped out, exposing a purpose built crossbeam in its stead. Maserati likens this to the exposed structure of the Tipo 61 Birdcage. Well, why not.

Maserati MCXtrema - interior

Either side of the driver is a panel of additional controls to allow for all that extra finite adjustment referred to previously. This creates the single-seater-like space, which may not be generously proportioned but is well-padded to prevent damage to knees and elbows from the g-forces. The panel on the door side can be moved to make it possible to actually get in and out.

As this hints, the MCXtrema is intended to be a single-seater itself, but a passenger seat can be added as an option.

Standard features, however, include the bucket seat, FIA-compliant six-point racing seat belt, the roll cage and… air-conditioning. Telemetry, pit-lane limiter system, pit radio and rear-view camera all come as part of the package as well.

Can I buy one?

Nope. Maserati is making just 62 of them, and they’re all already sold.

Still, at least it’s good to look at. What a way to tackle a track day.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes