We’re seeing a flood of supercars come to market of late, many from new or extremely niche brands, such as Gordon Murray Automotive and Rimac. But Maserati has no intention of getting lost in the crowd, and it shouldn’t have to worry based on what we’re seeing as the new MC20 makes its official debut.
With the coupe’s striking scissor doors, carbon fiber trim and the familiar trident logo burnished on both the grille and rear vents, the 2021 Maserati MC20 is a visual standout. We’ll have to wait for a first drive, but the 621 horsepower V-6, with its new twin-combustion technology promises to give the sports car the sort of performance its looks demand.
“MC20 is a Maserati built to stun,” the automaker declared with no false modesty in a press release, “a Maserati that can storm round the track but also perform superlatively on the road, with excellent driveability, comfort and safety, in an interior where efficiency combines with the luxury and exclusiveness integral to all the Brand’s models.”
Images of the new “super sports car” began to leak out yesterday, but today marks the official unveiling and release of a full array of pics.
As you’ll notice, the nose is classic Maserati, albeit here reflecting the mid-engine layout of the MC20. So, fewer big air vents up front, the nose sweeping down to maximize aerodynamic efficiency. The automaker notes the new sports car required over 1,000 hours of work using CFD, or computational fluid dynamics, and another 2,000 man-hours in the wind tunnel to get right.
Surprisingly, there are none of the quirky aero appendages we’ve gotten used to on many modern supercars that make them look as ungainly as the latest F1 race cars. The most notable feature designed for cheating the wind is the relatively discreet rear spoiler. Equally subtle are the hidden vortex generators and sealed underbody. Obviously, with the mid-engine layout, there are big vents mounted behind those scissor doors to scoop up air for the engine.
The dart-like body rides atop a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque, Maserati engineers developed in partnership with racing tech firm Dallara. It helped hold the entire package down to a modest 3,306 pounds. That translates into an impressive power-to-weight ratio of 5.3 pounds per horsepower which the Italian automaker claims is best-in-class.
Perhaps the most exciting feature is the MC20’s all-new Nettuno engine which substitutes from the Ferrari-derived powertrains Maserati had long been using. Displacing three liters, Maserati claims this in-house project borrows heavily from Formula One technology.
Rather than opting for a V-8, the automaker opted for a V90, six-cylinder layout making 621 hp and 538 pound-feet of torque. Among other unique design elements it features a pre-chamber combustion design, twin injection and a lateral spark plug.
Paired with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, the powertrain can propel the new Maserati Mc20 from 0-100 kmh (0-62 mph) in just 2.9 seconds, and to a top speed of 202 miles per hour.
“At a time when everyone is moving towards electric or strongly hybrid supercars, Maserati has taken on an audacious challenge,” said Stefano Tonietto, the MC20 project leader.
“We’re turning the tables by launching, in 2020, a product that seems to have an ‘old’ powertrain, but in fact the new pre-chamber combustion technology gives us the extraordinary ability to provide an extremely powerful powertrain.”
The idea of a pre-chamber system actually didn’t originate in Modena, Maserati’s headquarters. The concept has been around for nearly a century – albeit without any effective production application — but the Italian automaker finally appears to be making it pay off.
“We wanted to design something no one had ever done before,” said Ettore Musu, the head of Maserati Powertrain Innovation, noting that it has taken five years to pull off the concept.
As for the two-seater’s cabin, it features an elegant, albeit minimalist layout, with plenty of carbon fiber accents and sculpted sport seats. The center console features a central control knob that can be used to switch between five different drive modes: GT, Wet, Sport, Corsa and ESC Off, the latter effectively shutting off all “nanny” features, such as electronic stability control.
A button within the rotary mode selector also operates the MC20’s adjustable suspension independently. The supercar features a double-wishbone layout front and rear, with active shocks. Among optional features, one system is designed to allow the driver to raise the car to clear obstacles like speed bumps and steep driveways.
Other technologies include a new voice assistant-style infotainment system based on the Android Automotive operating system, along with the Maserati Connect program which delivers constant navigation system updates, enables the Amazon Alexa service and tracks the vehicle’s health and maintenance.
Those looking into the new Maserati MC20 should be aware that the Italian automaker has
big plans for the project, noting that there will be not only a coupe but a convertible and a “future electric version.”
We’ll have to wait to find out more about the battery-based model, it seems. But few would be surprised to see that version focus on adding more power, rather than just boosting fuel economy.
We’ll have more information on the 2021 Maserati MC20, including the on-sale date and pricing, as soon as it becomes available.