After seemingly disappearing clean off the face of the Earth, Maserati is BACK! With a butterfly-doored mid-engine supercar that looks… an awful lot like a McLaren 600TL…
The twin-turbocharged halo car is set to be semi-affordable, and bring some serious firepower under the hood that will rival even the savviest supercars on the road. Is the Maserati MC20 a direct shot at McLaren’s market share? Has Maserati really been sleeping that long?
Listen up! Because Maserati is back in a big way, and we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the MC20!
When you think about that trident logo shining on the front grill, you typically don’t associate it with racetrack technology. Maserati has been churning out luxury sedans for what feels like eons, since the birth of the company back in the stone ages of 1914.
Alfieri Maserati and his proteges have been rolling out smash-hit sedans like the Quattroporte, their four-doored V8-driven golden child which sells for around $100,000 And their most recent sedan experiment, the Ghibli, which seems like it was designed to be a direct competitor with the BMW 5-series.
But what you might not know is that Maserati, for the first 20 years of the marque’s existence, built exclusively race cars. Well… race cars and racing boats! That’s right, Maserati used to make speedy sea-faring beasts like this super old water wagon, and they’re actually still making racing boats for yacht races like the Transpac 50!!!
But where the Maserati trident really made a name for itself, was on the Grand Prix track, with Alfieri Maserati’s first ever steel-framed brain-baby, the Tipo 26, which took first place in the Grand Prix class at the 1926 Targa Florio. They then went on to make waves at the Indy 500 with the 8CTF snagging the overall trophy in 1939 and 1940.
After all these years of straying away from the racetrack and building plush leather-wrapped luxury sedans, even unveiling their first ever SUV, the Levante Trofeo in 2016, Maserati seems to be going back to its racing roots, with its all-new MC20 high-tech supercar, the first super Maserati’s put out in 15 years and an evolution of the Maserati’s last race-based megacar, the MC12.
The 12 was an absolute beast. With just a press on the accelerator and a flick of the gearshift paddles, this lightning fast spyder will be kicking in its rev limiters when you hit 7700 RPMs as you’re blasting down the track at 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds, with all that power emanating from a 624-horsepower 48-valve V12!
As you can tell, we here at Ideal are big fans of the MC12, even if it is a seriously impractical car to stash in your home garage, especially with them being worth over $2,000,000 at this point. And with how mind-blowingly badass that warp-speed racing machine was, you know we’re fired up to take a look under the hood of the MC20!
But enough about the past… let’s talk about the future. Because the MC20’s going to shatter your perception of space and time with its mind-boggling technology, awe-inspiring style, and the fire-spitting powerplant it’s got under the hood.
Let’s get right into what really sets the MC20 apart from its predecessor, and from all those other supercars that the MC20 is making obsolete: the twin-combustion, twin-spark Nettuno V6! The beating heart of the MC20, the Nettuno was concocted in-house by Maserati and was named after the Italian word for the Roman god Neptune, which makes sense when you look at the god-like power the MC20 is bringing to the table.
This powerplant features a twin-spark system that’s reminiscent of a Formula One setup, including pre-chamber combustion with two separate combustion chambers to share power between the main chamber and the electrode, which reduces fuel consumption and lowers engine decibels at low RPM levels. I have no idea what any of that means but I’m going to guess it means FAST.
The MC20 will have five different driving modes: Sport, GT, Corsa, Wet and ESC-Off. And that last one? Yup, that’s right. No nannies!
And don’t get it twisted, just because this engine’s quiet and gets good fuel economy doesn’t mean it’s not mustering up some serious power. That 3-liter V6 Nettuno is capable of pushing out 621 horsepower and a pavement-punishing 538 pound-feet of torque! All that power is shot back to the rear axle through an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox. And when those wheels start spinning? You can fire off 60 miles per hour in just 2.9 seconds!
With numbers like that, the MC20 is ready to go toe-to-toe with the new 2020 McLaren 600LT’s V8, which gets a slightly-less-but-still-super-impressive 592 ponies and also hits 60 in 2.9 seconds. It seems pretty clear that the 600LT is the car that Maserati’s trying to rival, especially when you look at how similar their exteriors are.
I think it’s safe to say that Maserati’s doing all it can to get in McLaren’s lane with the MC20. The body design on the MC20 and the 600LT are undeniably similar. From the first glance at the MC20’s front end, it immediately reminds you of the McLaren 570S, which is probably the marque’s most well-known car, and whose design language has carried over heavily into the 600LT.
Sure, the 600LT lacks the dual vents on the hood and the signature in-your-face Maserati front grill, but overall, the body lines, the stance, and the overall exterior design of the MC20 and the 600LT are so similar that the untrained eye might actually think they’re the same model.
Most importantly, both cars doors go up. That’s how you know it’s a supercar. Ok, ok… the 600LT’s doors lift sideways, then up, and the MC20’s go in sort of a diagonal, but let’s not get petty.
I’d say that Maserati is shamelessly trying to take back some of the supercar market share, after being lost in the sedan desert for 15 years, by directly going after McLaren’s horse in the entry-level supercar race. Will it pay off for them? Or should they have stuck to those boring, stuffy SUVs and sedans? Only time will tell.
But one thing that sets the MC20 apart from the 600LT, is the option to go fully electric, which is supposed to arrive in 2022. You heard me right, Maserati’s offering an electric model of their all-new race-ready supercar, and it’s lack of thirst for high-grade gasoline sacrifices nothing!
Maserati started its push into the world of EVs with the Ghibli Hybrid it unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2013, and it seems like they’ve really gotten the hang of it by the looks of the MC20. The electric MC20 is supposed to be even quicker than the petrol pusher, shaving a tenth of a second off its 0 to 60 time. It seems like the MC20 EV has already had some serious road testing under its belt, and its range is quoted at a super solid 236 miles. It’ll definitely be interesting as more and more MC20s take to the streets to see if the EV variant can keep up with the Nettuno-charged MC20. But you’ve got to admit, if Maserati isn’t wildly inflating its numbers, it sounds like this EV is going to be silent… but deadly!.
Both the MC20 EV and Nettuno variants will feature all those carbon-fiber bits that people expect in modern supercars, including a carbon-fiber monocoque that keeps the MC20 feather-light and ready to fly. It’s got a double-wishbone suspension, curb weight of 3,306 pounds, and a whole hell of a lot of downforce that keeps it glued to the road despite its tiny rear spoiler.
Apparently Maserati’s going to roll out a convertible version of the MC20 in 2021, after they get into the swing of production with the coupe late in 2020. Both cars will have the same interior, which one might describe as minimalistic rather than plush luxury. Of course, when you have a car that’s set to start at $210,000, you’re not going to get some cheap-o leather and uneven interior panels, but it seems Maserati chose to go with the Spartan approach of less weight and more speed with the MC20. The cabin will have an infotainment system, though, about a fifth of the size of the cinema-sized movie screen on a Tesla Model S.
If we look at the interior of the McLaren 600LT, that minimalist approach to reducing curb weight by cutting out unnecessary interior features is equally applied. Seems like both of these street-scorching supercars are more concerned with business than luxury.
But if we compare the 2020 MC20 to the 2020 600LT head-to-head, the MC20 beats out its McLaren counterpart by about 30 horsepower, by about 80 pound-feet of torque, and costs about $45,000 less. The 600LT has got some points in the win column when it comes to top speed, in which it beats out the MC20 by 4 miles per hour, and it’s looking like the 600LT’s going to have better fuel economy with its lighter curb weight, but at this point in production, it’s hard to tell. Then again, you could also get an MC20 EV which the 600LT can’t even compete with in fuel efficiency.
So really, it’s kind of a toss up. What do you guys think? Which of these racetrack-blazing supercars you would go with? Do you want a 600LT in your garage, or Maserati’s phoenix from the ashes, the MC20?