The Maserati name tends to evoke images of low-rise Italian coupes, but in reality the legendary brand has not offered a suitable sports car since the limited production MC12 debuted in 2004. The company made its debut as a carmaker in 1926 with the Tipo 26 racing car. and soon became a great competitor in motorsport, but the guarantee decades were turbulent and the company changed hands several times before Fiat took ownership in 1993 and then handed over the reins to Fiat, owned by Ferrari.
Apparently, Maserati will become Ferrari’s luxury division when it took full ownership of the company in 1999, and years have seen Ferrari provide more conventional versions of its powerful Maserati engines for use in vehicles such as the Ghibli sedan and sports car. Levante program. But under the bigger Fiat-Chrysler flag, Maserati models also inherited a lot of hand-held hardware from elsewhere in the group’s portfolio, and dynamic development efforts added to the brand’s recent struggles to maintain its popular reputation.
The introduction of the MC20 marks an entirely new chapter for Maserati, which is already part of Stellantis. A truly clean design, the two-seater is backed by a brand new monocoque carbon fiber chassis, which was developed internally and built in Modena, Italy. Double-girder-style suspension settings at the front and rear of the car are connected to the chassis via aluminum subframes, and the simplified body and carbon fiber aerodynamics come from more than 2,000 hours of testing in the Dalara wind tunnel, along with extensive simulation. computational dynamics of fluids.
The Nettuno engine
Drive is where things start to get really interesting. The motivation comes from Maserati’s 3.0-liter V6 “Nettuno” twin-turbo engine, an all-new power plant also developed internally by Maserati. The new power plant boasts on-demand dual-combustion technology created by Formula 1, which places a combustion chamber between the center spark plug and a conventional combustion chamber to provide more precise combustion, which in turn improves engine efficiency and its efficiency. productivity. .
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The result is one of the most powerful engines in the automotive industry today, and the peak power of 621 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque gives this 3330-pound coupe the best-in-class power / weight ratio among other competitors. brands such as Lamborghini, Porsche and McLaren. This portends good for the here and now, but Maserati has also wisely taken a long look at developing the MC20 platform, which was designed from the start to support all electric version. EV should take to the streets in a few years.
Behind the wheel
Setting in the lead, it immediately becomes apparent that the MC20 is aimed at those looking for a fast sports car for spectacular tours like the 911 Turbo S, rather than a bare track toy. Gone is Maserati’s internal switchgear from past models, which can often trace its origins to vehicles such as the Dodge Durango. Instead, the MC20 boasts a fully customized cockpit covered in carbon fiber, alcantara and polished steel.
10.25-inch high-resolution digital gauge provides real-time data and performance information, while a 10.25-inch touchscreen display with wireless compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto handles the demands of the infotainment system with sharp graphics and quick response. Along the central tunnel there are controls for driving modes (Wet, GT, Sport and Corsa), as well as suspension stiffness, gearbox modes, window and door locks and physical controls for the audio system. Meanwhile, the flat-bottomed steering wheel houses the ignition and start buttons, as well as cruise control and media settings. The layout is uncluttered, intuitively designed and elegant. And unlike most mid-engined sports cars, the MC20 is surprisingly easy to get on and off – thanks to the relatively slender monocoque side sills, butterfly-shaped doors and generous headroom.
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The engine comes to life with a lively growl that quickly recedes into the background. Maserati did a good job of making this new V6 sound appropriately exotic, but like many engines today, its personality is masked by the inherent jamming effect of its turbochargers. Switching from GT mode to Sport or Corsa mode will open the exhaust valve for more sonic drama, but it’s still a little too quiet for our tastes. Even when boiling, road and wind noise often prevails over the engine’s soundtrack, which can make it difficult to determine the time to shift gears when manually controlling the teeth with the blades.
Fortunately, the dual-clutch transmission is well programmed enough to be left alone in most situations. Left in GT mode, it runs in the background to provide near-smooth shifts in normal driving situations. It also puts the suspension shock absorbers in their most compatible setting, which is tough for a sports car, but still enjoyable for regular use even on the rough streets of Los Angeles.
Digital rear view mirror
The MC20’s daily usability is also significantly enhanced by its digital rear-view mirror, which displays real-time information from a camera mounted on the car’s rear deck. Traditional rear-view mirrors in mid-engined cars usually offer a view of the sunlight through the rear window and much more, but the unlimited view of the digital mirror to the outside world behind you makes it easy to check your blind spots as you fight for the Merciless position. Los Angeles highway systems. In addition, the MC20 even boasts two storage compartments – one in the nose of the car and another, more space just behind the engine compartment at the rear. It’s almost practical!
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the MC20 really shines on the winding asphalt that covers the National Forest of Angeles about an hour northeast of downtown. Secure balance, confidence-inspiring braking power and incredibly fast acceleration are all on the menu, as is the precise response from the steering rack with a fast ratio. The specially designed Bridgestone Potenza Sport summer tires offer a lot of traction in rear-end explosions without compromising on the noise and roughness that often come with track-facing tires, but we’d expect to see the latter in harder iterations of the MC20 that are likely to come. the line.
These fast, winding sections of the road gave us the opportunity to try the Sport and Corsa modes of the MC20. The setting of the first is ideal for work (as the name suggests, Corsa is best suited for a hot tour on a closed course), but we really want the MC20 to offer a customized driving mode that allows future owners to mix and match the various adjustable parameters of the car according to your preferences. Nevertheless, the MC20 is an exciting dance partner in the hills and a surprisingly civilian machine around town. But again, a starting price of $ 212,000 ($ 256,050 as tested) tends to set some high expectations.
Fortunately, Maserati also has plans that go beyond quarter-million-dollar supercars like the MC20. IN the recently announced Grecale sport-utility, for example, is aimed directly at Porsche Macan buyers. The crossover will come with many of the technologies demonstrated in the MC20 (including the Nettuno V6 in higher trim levels), and will also likely play a key role in the brand’s transition to electrified propulsion systems.
Meanwhile, wealthy sports car buyers who want to enjoy the moment while getting away from the usual suspects would be wise to keep the MC20 on their shortlist.