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New 2021 Maserati MC20 supercar arrives with 622bhp

The new Maserati MC20 will rival the Ferrari F8 Tributo and McLaren 720S with a 202mph top speed and £187k price tag

When FCA boss Mike Manley told us back in 2019 he had big plans for Maserati, we didn’t think it would include taking on the supercar elite.

The Maserati MC20 marks the beginning of a new era for the brand, one that’s set to turn the famous Italian marque into a real rival for the likes of Porsche and Mercedes, as well as former stable mate Ferrari.

It also marks the start of a new era of propulsion for Maserati; although the MC20 will debut with a super-advanced Nettuno V6 under the bonnet, it has been designed with fully electric power in mind, too.

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The Nettuno engine features twin-turbos and is the first engine produced in-house by Maserati in over 20 years. With 622bhp and 730Nm of torque it gets the MC20 from 0-62mph in under 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 202mph.

The 90-degree, dry-sump V6 features twin combustion technology. A combustion chamber is set between the central electrode and the traditional combustion chamber, connected by a series of specially-designed holes, while a traditional sparkplug ensures constant combustion when the engine doesn’t need the pre-chamber to kick in.

A twin injection system linked to the fuel supply pressure at 350bar reduces noise at low revs to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

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Plenty of lightweight materials contribute to a kerb weight of just 1,500kg, giving the car a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio, according to Maserati.

The sleek body is the work of FCA chief designer Klaus Busse and his team, referencing the MC20’s predecessor the MC12 and featuring butterfly doors, chosen for access rather than aesthetic reasons.

A prominent Maserati Trident sits proudly in the low, wide grille, while large air intakes sit beneath restrained LED headlights. At the back slim, wide LED lights accentuate the car’s width, while twin exhausts sit just below and to either side of the rear number plate just above the rear diffuser.

The V6 engine is just about visible through the rear screen, which sits ahead of a discreet rear spoiler. The Trident also appears on the rear C pillars and the wheel centres, while a metallic MC20 badge sits at the front of the doors.

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The overall look is compact although the total length of 4,669mm makes the MC20 slightly longer than a Ferrari F8 Tributo and a McLaren 720S. However, Maserati refers to the brand’s historic identity, citing elegance, performance and comfort, hinting that the car may be more of a GT than its rivals. As such, there’s 150-litres of luggage space, 50 in the front and 100 in the back.

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Adaptive suspension features double wishbones all-round with a virtual steering axle, with 97 per cent of the dynamic development of the car done digitally before a programme of road and track work to further refine the feel.

A limited slip self-locking rear differential also features, while Wet, GT, Sport and Corsa settings change suspension, steering and engine settings. They’re selected via a switch on the centre console just ahead of two buttons to select either automatic or manual forward gears, or reverse.

The MC20 features an eight-speed dual clutch automatic box with large manual paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, which also features ignition and launch control buttons.

The rest of the cabin is restrained, yet beautifully trimmed with plenty of carbon fibre on show and the Trident appearing again on the bucket seats’ headrests.

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There are two 10-inch screens – one in front of the driver and one for the multimedia system, which can be controlled by a dial a bit far back by the driver’s elbow, just ahead of an armrest that hides a storage bin.

Connectivity services include navigation, Alexa and a Wi-Fi hotspot, there’s wireless charging for your smartphone and you can connect to the car through a phone or watch app.

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Pricing also positions the MC20 in an interesting place, starting at £187,230. That puts it some way shy of a Ferrari F8 Tributo or McLaren 720S, but ahead of those brands’ ‘entry-level’ models. You can put your order in now and if you’re one of the first, you can expect delivery in the second quarter of 2021.

Q&A with Klaus Busse, FCA chief designer

Q: Why did you start Maserati’s reinvention with a supercar?

A: We are a brand born in motorsport, we are not a brand that takes its design guidance or DNA from a luxury limousine, so it was important to create a statement for this company, but also a statement for where we want to go with design – it’s a flagship for the brand and for the design DNA

Q: What does MC20 tell us about the other models in the three-year plan?

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A: The mix of pure hand sculpted surfaces devoid of unnecessary visual distraction, but combined with functional engineering surfaces – this interesting mix we will take into the future.

Q: What was your goal with the MC20’s design?

A: We were aiming for purity, avoiding unnecessary details – we were aiming to create a car that does not need a moving spoiler, which saves weight and gives you more luggage space. But also when you look in the market a lot of cars are being designed around air intakes and we realised that with some really clever packaging you can avoid the visual impact of air intakes – enabling us to create something more pure and more timeless.

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Q: How did you approach the design of a car with V6 or EV power?

A: By designing a car that is not dependent on graphical air intakes, meaning if we further reduce air intakes as they’re less important in a BEV, the design still holds up and becomes more pure – the battery electric car is another step forward in delivering absolute purity.

Q: How easy is it to incorporate tech inside without overpowering the driving experience?

A: We knew this was a car to take to the racetrack, so ergonomically it had to be flawless – so when you sit in the interior we were almost able to eliminate all the buttons and switches. But this is a car we want you to be able to enjoy on a long drive – which is why we have more than 150-litres of luggage space. The cabin will give you the comfort and space you need on a long journey and also someone as tall as me can fit in wearing a helmet on a racetrack. It’s the perfect blend of a car that’s racetrack ready any day, and at the same time you can go on a beautiful weekend drive in the UK or Italy.

Q: What’s your favourite design feature on the MC20?

A: It doesn’t have a single graphic feature like an air intake – it’s a pure sculpture. The car itself is that one feature in all its purity and that beautiful shape, which we could only do in collaboration with the engineering team.

You and your teams are responsible for cars as diverse as the MC20 and new Fiat 500 – which do you prefer designing?

The beautiful thing about working for FCA with our multiple brand portfolio is the opportunity of not having to choose! And for designers who come to us, where else in this world can you venture through different studios touching an Alfa Romeo today, a Maserati tomorrow and next week a Fiat – it’s an amazing adventure.

What will the new Maserati MC20 have to beat? These are the best supercars currently on sale...

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Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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