Lamborghini and Ferrari have been put on notice as a new weapon with red-hot performance and eye-catching looks has appeared.
There’s no hiding the intentions of Maserati’s latest newcomer, the MC20. if looks could kill …
Known for its grand tourers and fast SUVs, the brand has come up with the most focused model ever, which is the best two seater supercar in the world.
The occupants are housed in the low-slung carbon fiber tub that forms the heart of the MC20. Butterfly doors lift up for a dramatic entrance and you’re close enough to the road to smell the hotmix.
Italian supercars mostly originate from the factories of Lamborghini and Ferrari, but nearby neighboring Maserati are in on the action.
While an EV version is on the way, for now the MC20 is petrol-fed in the form of a new Maserati-designed engine driving the rear wheels.
This is important for a brand that has shared a lot with Ferrari in recent decades. The 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 has two spark plugs per cylinder and a race car-like dry sump. It proudly displays through the loud plastic rear window.
That window is at such an aggressive angle that there’s no point in using a mirror. Instead tip the lever to activate the rear-facing camera for a clear rear view.
It’s one of the compromises of packing so much down to the ground, though the MC20 surprisingly does well catering for tall people.
There’s also impeccable craftsmanship. Stitched leather and Alcantara cover most surfaces and there’s enough carbon fiber to house the race-inspired theme. The Italian colors underpinning the MC20 badge reinforce the heritage.
On paper with 470kW and 730Nm is the type of fire that is traditionally delivered by at least eight cylinders.
But it’s the lack of kilos for change that arguably has a big impact on the MC20’s behavior. At around 1500kg this is a featherweight by modern standards.
Any squeeze of the throttle is rewarded with near-instant boom. There’s loads of muscle and towards its 8000rpm red-line the V6 is seriously tasteful.
The top speed of 100 km/h is claimed to last 2.9 seconds. This proper supercar is quick.
It helps to have your head closer to the engine action, so you can hear the snoring and snoring that comes with the loud rumble of the engine. When you move fast, there is occasional whistling and squeaking. Like the Porsche 911, the MC20 has its own aural niche.
It doesn’t have the wild screams of a V10 or the noise of a V8, but the V6 makes up for it with smooth movement, especially at low engine revs. And what it lacks in drama it makes up for in speed.
The eight-speed twin-clutch auto is slick when punting, but occasionally jittery when powering back up around town.
The lack of kg then defines how the MC20 strikes a corner. Any turn of the wheel results in a low-slung muzzle hungry for a corner. It’s lively and precise and has a mountain of grip. The MC20 also sits remarkably flat, so there’s undeniable obedience to any input.
A racetrack is the only place to truly appreciate the MC20. At 100km/h the engine feels like it’s just warming up. The level of grip is beyond practically teasing on the road. The optional carbon-ceramic brakes on our car call for a firm stab but wash out speed gracefully.
It wouldn’t be an Italian supercar without the occasional wonky ergonomics. The boot release buried near your right knee is a beauty.
As is common in the supercar realm, there are features you can reasonably expect to be included in a deal for an on-road price tag of over $438,000. Like auto emergency braking, heated seats and smart entry will top that list.
But there’s no skimping on finishes and materials, each of which complements the head-turning exterior. The central infotainment screen and digital cluster are crisp and clear.
Maserati seems to have lacked direction in recent times, but the MC20 makes it clear that Italian flair is flowing with a fast, exciting supercar.
While it’s unlikely to send its Italian stablemates down for cover, the MC20 offers a lighter option with a lovely irresistible flavor.
Look at the Lambo and Ferrari, the Maserati is on the mid-engined battlefield – and less weight means a lot to like.
Maserati MC20 Vitalas
cost: From $438,000, plus on-road
Warranty / Servicing: 3 Years/Unlimited KM, $6534/45,000 KM for 3 Years
the protection: 4 airbags, parking sensors front and rear, rear camera
Device: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, 470kW and 730Nm
Excessive: repair kit
boot: 150 L (100 L Rear, 50 L Front)