Maserati MC20 review: a friendly supercar for serious collectors

Go from 0-100kph in less than three seconds in this road-ready sports car

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It’s been quite the tease. Maserati has been dangling the MC20 carrot — its first mid-engined sports car in more than two decades — for a number of years, but it’s been worth the wait.

Without question, this is the best-in-its-segment Italian sports car I have driven in nearly a decade, offering ballistic performance in a lightweight body made from carbon fibre that, in comparison to its supercar competitors, does away with the “look-at-me” wings, body kits and shouty exhausts.

It still has a luscious note when you give its twin-turbocharged, three-litre V6 a boot, but it acts like a grown-up, leaving the noisy, flame-spitting theatrics to the rent-a-supercar crowd.

The Maserati MC20 manages to tick off the supercar boxes while remaining dignified and classy, which is in keeping with the marque's heritage as the thinking person’s sports car.

This is also the first Maserati in a long time to go it alone and not lean on Ferrari for engineering help with its Nettuno V6 engine to be produced from start to finish in its own factory in Modena. The carbon-fibre chassis and aluminium subframes for the suspension and engine, meanwhile, are made in collaboration with Italian race car manufacturer Dallara.

The Maserati MC20 was made for the road rather than the racetrack. Photo: Damien Reid

The car is partly an homage to the glorious MC12 — MC stands for Maserati Corse — which was made as an offshoot of the Ferrari Enzo in 2004 to compete in the FIA GT world championship. Only 50 were produced, however, and it won 40 races from 94 starts.

While the MC12 was built to race with a minimum number made for the road to satisfy the rules at the time, this Dh1 million super coupe is made for the road first, so it offers more comfort. It will also be produced in significantly higher numbers, including a convertible version, and we may also see it on the track eventually.

There will also be a full EV all-wheel-drive alternative coming, which will eventually take the bulk of sales. Grab this combustion engine MC20 while you can, because when nearly all MC20s you will see in years to come will be silent EVs — you’ll have one of these gas-guzzling, but desirably spine-tingling, rear-wheel-drive petrol versions.

In addition to its blisteringly quick acceleration that got us from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in under three seconds, the MC20's handling was race-car sharp. This is not surprising given Dallara’s background as the sole manufacturer for chassis that race in Indycar, Formula 2, Formula 3, LeMans and the Daytona 24-hour races.

It’ll also get you from 0-200kph in 8.8 seconds and has a top speed of 325kph.

Yet, despite the MC20's outstanding performance, its ride was refined. With the adaptive suspension in its most comfortable mode, it soaked up bumps well enough to consider driving it daily or taking it on a road trip. It’s one of the few supercars I could sit comfortably in for more than an hour at a time.

The tiny cabin has a minimalist theme with few gauges and buttons, yet is nicely padded with plenty of leather and Alcantara trim throughout. Access is via upward-swinging butterfly doors, which takes a bit of skill to refine when you include the wide step to cross over the monocoque chassis and into the seat.

A 10.3-inch touchscreen debuts Maserati’s new operating system, which is the first to break away from the Uconnect unit used by Stellantis (Fiat-Chrysler), and is now powered by Google Android.

The cabin is small, but feels luxurious. Photo: Damien Reid

The touchscreen is tucked under the air vents in the centre console, while a second 10.3-inch display serves as the gauge cluster in front of the driver.

To help solve the issue of rearward visibility, the MC20 features a digital rear-view mirror that uses a rear-facing camera to feed an image of what's behind the car to a frameless mirror mounted in the usual place inside, top and centre.

It’s been a long time coming, but Maserati’s return to the supercar world on its own terms and without Ferrari’s input for the first time in decades is a huge success, so much so it looks as though the pupil has schooled the teacher.

Updated: October 27, 2022, 9:13 AM
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