2021 Maserati MC20 debuts with mysterious origin story
Just like Ferrari, Maserati had a rep as a quintessential Italian sports car manufacturer. But unlike Ferrari, its Fiat stablemate, Maserati has been going through a slump for years, with only the gorgeous-yet-dated front-engined Gran Turismo/Grand Cabrio keeping their “sports car” credentials alive. When we stepped into a Maserati showroom last month, we walked out in a few minutes — it felt like travelling back to 2015, because the only model newer than that was the already-aging Levante SUV. So it came as a surprise when Maserati debuted their all-new mid-engined supercar, the Maserati MC20, which comes with petrol, electric and convertible options as well as a shady history even before it hits showrooms.
Following the name and legacy of the mighty Maserati MC12 from the early 2000s, the Maserati MC20 is not meant to be a replacement for that fire-breathing V12-powered supercar. Instead, the MC20 has opted for a twin-turbocharged “twin combustion” 3.0-litre V6. Half the size as the MC12’s engine with half the cylinders, yet the MC20 nearly matches its power output with 621 hp along with 729 Nm of torque to boot. What makes this engine so powerful and special? It is no makeshift engine made with pieces rummaged from the FCA parts bin. The “Nettuno” V6 powering the MC20 is a bespoke engine, tailored for the car. It uses F1-inspired tech to increase power, like an additional combustion chamber outside the cylinder.
The electric version is still a partial mystery as Maserati reveals no details regarding the battery size or charging capacity. But they promise that the electric MC20 will sprint from 0 to 100 kph in 2.8 seconds and all the way to 310 kph. That is plenty of performance. The range is also just about acceptable at 323 km.
Maserati’s clever engineering manages to keep the MC20 mass under check, with it weighing in at just 1500 kg, thanks to its lightweight construction. There is a monocoque carbon-fibre tub developed by Maserati and Dallara for application in the petrol, electric and convertible versions with only minor modifications.
The design of the MC20 is handsome, but not particularly outstanding in a world flooded with supercars. The large trident badge sits on the simple mesh grille flanked by large LED headlamps that flow into the fenders. The rear is also equally sharp with the slim LED taillights, the twin exhaust tips mounted right under the license plate, and the large diffuser. The entire body has strong cuts and creases to aid the MC20’s aerodynamics which was honed in Dallara’s wind tunnel for more than 2000 hours. The interior is also upscale, lined with carbon fibre on many surfaces. Many other surfaces get Alcantara or leather with blue stitching. It gets a 10.3-inch touchscreen running something called Maserati Intelligent Assistant (MIA) with several connectivity features.
The Maserati MC20 starts at US$ 210,000 (Dhs 771,000 )in the United States. On paper, the MC20 is a promising candidate that may help Maserati re-establish their vintage status as a sports car manufacturer, but remember the controversy we mentioned earlier? Widespread rumour suggests this car may have started life as the earlier-announced Alfa Romeo 6C, the latter mysteriously disappearing from recent Alfa correspondence. This isn’t the first time Maserati has been a recipient of musical-chairs treatment — the Ferrari California was rumoured to have started life as a Maserati a decade ago.