New Maserati MC20 supercar challenges Ferrari and co

Maserati took it to the big boys of the luxury automotive market this week with the world premier of its new supercar, the MC20. It’s likely the car has designers and engineers at neighbouring Italian brands heading back to their drawing boards.

Not only is the MC20 sleek and spectacular, it’s a car designed to be a super car on the road and a race car on the track. As the name alludes, MC20 stands for Maserati Corse (Maserati Racing) 2020.

So it’s got looks and power, with its 630 horsepower making it Maserati’s most powerful series production car to date.

‘The MC20 is an impressive offering in the high-end automotive space where Maserati goes head to head with Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin Lagonda.’

The 2021 Maserati MC20 was launched to the world in its home town of Modena on Wednesday at an event themed “Time to be audacious” – perhaps a fitting sentiment in a desperate moment in the automotive world during which the economic and social impacts of Covid-19 are further battering an already damaged global car industry.

Images released for the launch depict a car which is elegant, luxurious and by far the sexiest thing to come off the Maserati production line.

It’s initially been produced as a coupe with an internal combustion engine, but convertible and all-wheel-drive full-electric versions are on their way, possibly as early as 2022.

The all-new engine is the first Maserati has produced for itself in more than two decades, and it’s turned out something special.

Named Nettuno – Italian for Neptune, whose three-pronged weapon inspired the Maserati logo – the twin-turbo V6 engine employs Maserati-patented Twin Combustion capabilities drawn from the latest Formula 1 engines – which basically help the rear-wheel-drive car take off like a rocket.

Maserati’s claimed sprint to 100kmh in less than 2.9 seconds would see the MC20 dispense with Lamborghini’s powerful Huracán Evo and compete with the Ferrari F8 Tributo. It’s capable of making the zero to 200kmh dash in less than 8.8 seconds, with a claimed top speed of 325kmh.

The new Maserati apparently spent more than 2000 man-hours being buffeted in the Dallara Wind Tunnel and dynamics tested using more than a thousand computerised simulations.

It’s ended up with a tonne of interesting and innovative technologies on board. The butterfly doors are not only pretty on the eye but improve the MC20’s ergonomics and facilitate ease of entry and exit.

Inside, there’s little to distract from the main game – a sporty driving experience. The driver’s needs are always central. In his or her line of sight are simple forms and very few sharp edges.

The carbon fibre-clad central console features a wireless smartphone charger, the driving mode selector (GT, Wet, Sport, Corsa and a fifth, Electronic Stability Control Off button), two speed selection buttons, the power window controls, the Multimedia System controls, and an under-armrest storage compartment. All other controls are on the steering wheel, including the ignition button to the left and launch control on the right.

Other services are run through the Maserati Connect system, including navigation, Alexa and Wifi Hotspot, which can also be managed through the relevant Maserati smartphone or smartwatch App.

Maserati says the MC20 was 100 per cent designed and built in Modena in a record 24 months. Development times were optimised with the use of in-house devised virtual dynamics simulations that allowed designers, engineers and technicians to create and test digital versions of the MC20 before prototypes were built.

The resulting cars were then tested and fine-tuned during the requisite track and road test-driving sessions across a range of uses and conditions.

The MC20 is an impressive offering in the high-end automotive space where Maserati goes head to head with PorscheFerrari and Aston Martin Lagonda. It’s certainly a strong start for the Trident brand as it moves into its new Era.

Maserati is accepting orders for the MC20 now with deliveries expected midway through next year. Of course, it won’t be cheap with a list price at launch of 216,000 euro ($A351,327).

In other Maserati developments, the company launched a hybrid version of its Ghibli luxury sedan earlier this year, and plans to launch a new SUV and redesigned GranTurismo and GranCabrio models by the end of 2022.