How the new Maserati MC20 beat Ferrari at its own game

Italian supercar now comes in a delicious new flavour. It’s called Maserati MC20.

While this coupe from Modena puts more emphasis on elegance and ease, it isn’t short of speed or spice…

The MC20 sticks to traditional supercar basics.

Its engine is in the middle and drives only the rear wheels. Maserati’s near neighbours in the north of Italy also produce cars arranged exactly this way.

But instead of the artful aggression of the Ferrari F8 Tributo or the angry angles of the Lamborghini Huracan, the MC20 is all curves and class.

“Even though it’s a supercar, we didn’t want to over-style it,” says Min Byung Yoon, a member of the team that shaped the Maserati’s exterior. The idea, adds the experienced Korean designer, was a look inspired by some of the most memorable cars from the company’s long history.

Below, it’s a different story. As designer Min Byung Yoon puts it, the MC20 is “two different animals” combined into one beautiful beast.

Without spoilers and other obvious add-ons above, the MC20’s aero aids are all beneath the car or low down on its sides. Its fully enclosed underside has vortex generators and vertical spoilers to manage airflow.

And aerodynamics are also one of the reasons the MC20 has dramatic butterfly doors.

These create space for air ducts behind the front wheels that generate road-hugging downforce. The doors also make getting into and out of the Maserati easier than some other supercars.

Inside, the MC20 isn’t at all flashy. The materials in here are mostly dark and the controls and switches are stripped back to the bare minimum.

But it doesn’t lack for technology.

The instruments and infotainment display are crisp 10-inch displays, while the rear-view mirror shows what a well-placed rear-facing camera sees.

Thumb the steering-wheel mounted starter button, and the Nettuno engine springs to life.

This new Maserati designed and developed twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 is something truly special.

It features a patented pre-chamber ignition technology, similar to that used in Formula One engines, to produce huge power for its size.

Its maximum output, 463kW, bests many a Lamborghini and McLaren engine.

And while the Nettuno is outgunned by the twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8 of the Ferrari F8 Tributo, Maserati claims the carbon-fibre intensive construction of the MC20 gives it the best power-to-weight ratio of any car in its class.

This means the Maserati is a member of that exclusive group of supercars with a sub-3.0 second 0-100km/h time.

The company’s official claim is 2.9, an amazing feat for a rear-drive car.

The MC20 is a brutally fast car in a straight line.

The Nettuno punches out a massive surge of torque at low to middle revs, and it doesn’t let up until the cut-out is reached a little beyond its 7500rpm max-power point. But the engine doesn’t sound as dramatic as it feels, perhaps because its layout means its cylinders don’t fire at evenly spaced intervals.

There can be no complaints about the MC20’s steering and handling.

It’s both able and stable. Both the ends of the Maserati gripped like glue during laps of a challenging little racetrack just outside Modena. And the optional carbon brakes are hugely powerful and fade resistant.

The MC20’s most surprising side was discovered earlier, on awfully rough roads through hills to the south of Maserati’s home town.

Often cars that are thrilling on the track aren’t capable of chilling in other driving environments.

Not the Maserati. It actually enjoys taking things easy, if that’s the driver’s desire.

In the default GT or snappier Sport driving modes, the MC20’s variable shock absorbers soften and the mighty engine is lightly sedated.

With the Nettuno burbling contentedly and the suspension smothering the bumps, the Maserati is relaxing to drive.

The well-judged pliancy of its suspension, the MC20’s inherent poise, and the engine’s elastic muscle mean it’s also brilliant when driven hard on public roads.

There really isn’t anything else that tastes quite like, or is as tasteful, this new Maserati.

Production of the is already under way at the company’s Modena factory, which can currently built only six cars a day.

While deliveries in Europe begin in June, the MC20 won’t reach Australia until around September or October.

The price? Around $440,000, before on roads and options are added.

Fancy that?

What do the Maserati MC20 and Chevrolet Corvette C8 have in common? Both use the same eight-speed double-clutch transmission. It’s manufactured by American specialist Tremec, which used to supply six-speed manual gearboxes for the Holden Commodore.

Maserati MC20

Price: $438,000 plus on-road costs

Engine: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo, 463kW/730Nm

Transmission: 8-speed auto, rear-wheel-drive

Thirst: 11.5L/100km

Spare: Inflation kit

Performance: 0-100km/h in 2.9s

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