Maserati unveils new MC20 sports car
Iconic Italian brand throws down the gauntlet to Ferrari with new high-performance Maserati MC20 hero model.
In the first episode of the 2017 Netflix series Loaded, a group of freshly minted tech millionaires begin splashing their new-found wealth on fancy dinners, champagne baths, high-end real estate and, you guessed it, a bold-red Ferrari.
Having a Ferrari at the top of the shopping list is a well-worn cliché for anyone who has suddenly come into big money, but there is another Italian exotic that could soon be turning the heads of lottery winners and new-money millionaires, the Maserati MC20.
Ferrari’s long-time rival and sometimes collaborator has often lived in the shadow of the Prancing Horse, but occasionally the Trident brand steps up and lays down the gauntlet, as it did with this stunning new sports car unveiled in its home town of Modena, Italy.
The initials in the MC20’s alpha-numeric name stands for Maserati Corse, while the numerals mark the birth year of the sleekly styled gullwing door model, with Maserati declaring 2020 as the start of a new era for the brand.
Ahead lies a move to electrification and the launch of an all-new compact SUV, but until then the news is all about the stunning mid-engine MC20 coupe and convertible, which will be built at the company’s historic Viale Ciro Menotti plant in Modena.
With its sub-1500kg kerb weight, incredible aerodynamic efficiency crafted via 2000-plus hours in a wind tunnel, and powered by a potent new 470kW/730 Nm twin turbocharged V6, the MC20 is capable of covering the 0-100 km/h sprint in a blistering 2.9 seconds – equal to Ferrari’s twin-turbo V8-powered F8 Tributo – and racing to a top speed over 325km/h.
The new 3.0-litre “Nettuno” V6 drives through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a mechanical limited-slip differential and is significant not just for its staggering outputs, but also because it’s the first Maserati-manufactured engine to power the brand’s products in more than 20 years.
Since the late 1990s, modern Maserati’s have been powered by Ferrari-built engines, so the MC20 marks a return to the engineering roots of a brand that made its name with its successful 250F Formula One cars in the late 1950s.
While the twin-turbo V6, with its unique MTC (Maserati Twin Combustion) technology system, will undoubtedly attract the eye of gear heads, it’s more likely to be the stunning butterfly doors that prove to be the MC20’s show stopper.
Maserati claims they not only look good but are also highly functional, improving the car’s ergonomics and enabling optimal access to and from the carbon-fibre-clad cabin
Maserati used the media attention garnered by the MC20 to shed light on other future models, including teasing the new SUV it plans to release in 2021, as well as plans for the electrification of its GranTurismo and GranCabrio models.
The latter will become the first fully electric Maseratis when it debuts in late 2021 and will eventually be joined by an electric version of the MC20.
For motorsport fans, the MC20 also clearly references the MC12, the car that marked Maserati’s racing comeback in 2004, with the Italian company declaring its new sports car would also soon return to the racing arena.
Production of the new model is scheduled for the end of this year, with the first Australian deliveries in the second half of 2021. Before then, prospective buyers will be able to view an MC20 shell by private appointment with Maserati dealers.
There was no announcement on pricing at the launch, but specialist automotive websites have speculated the MC20 will be priced above $250,000 when it lands here, and that the first batch of Australian models have already been snapped up, presumably by wealthy enthusiasts, lottery winners and tech entrepreneurs.