Pros: spectacular looks, savage performance, impressive agility
Cons: not as noisy as some, poor visibility, tiny boot
Maserati has launched a head-on assault on its compatriots with its new MC20 mid-engined supercar. Designed to rival the Ferrari 296 GTB and McLaren GT, the gorgeous new two-seater will have to be good if it wants to compete. Fortunately, Maserati has put its best engineers on the case and created something absolutely magnificent.
Maserati MC20 Design
How much do we really need to write here? Just look at it… The MC20 is a stunner, and it’s a prime example of why designers should keep it simple. The lines are clean and smooth, there’s no excess bulk and the positioning of any vents and features has been defined by aerodynamics, rather than an over-zealous design bod.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no flair at all. The delicate lights, the big exhausts protruding from the bumper and the dramatic, upward-opening doors are the details that make sure the MC20 is seen as a supercar, rather than just a sports car. And in a market where Ferrari and Lamborghini are producing ever more striking cars, the MC20 can’t be seen as a plain Jane.
Admittedly, it still doesn’t have the drama of a Lamborghini Huracan, but it looks at home in that company, and those who really want to show off can even choose a convertible version called the MC20 Cielo. With a folding roof, rear buttresses and a flat rear deck, the Cielo looks even more striking than the Coupe.
Maserati MC20 Interior
Maserati hasn’t had much space to play with in the MC20’s cabin, but it has still produced a thing of beauty. The seats are particularly striking, with their colour-coded design and sculpted shape that holds you in place perfectly but offers more comfort than you might expect. The dashboard is very clean, with few buttons and only two screens – a digital instrument display and a conventional touchscreen.
Admittedly, neither system is especially ground breaking, but they’re sharp and reliable and they allow you to control pretty much everything on the car. The MC20 Cielo’s roof controls are even found in the touchscreen, and the system works better than you might expect. Of course, prodding at a screen to change the temperature is not ideal when you’re driving, but compared with the interior of a Ferrari 296 GTB, the MC20 is streets ahead.
Where it does struggle slightly is in terms of room. There’s plenty of space for the driver and passenger, but there’s an engine where the rear seats would normally be, so stowage is limited to small tubs in the front and rear. With a combined boot space of 150 litres, they provide little more carrying capacity than the much smaller Mazda MX-5, and the rear load space is right above the exhausts, so it does get quite warm.
Rear visibility is also an issue, so Maserati has fitted a camera in the bumper, allowing you to switch the rear-view mirror to a digital view of the road behind. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it works really well.
Maserati MC20 Performance & Drive
The MC20 is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that sits just behind the driver’s ears. Powering the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the snarling six-cylinder motor produces 630hp, giving the MC20 a 0-100km/h time of around 2.9 seconds and a top speed of more than 325km/h.
In short, it’s extremely fast. Fast enough to up the heart rate considerably, but the engine doesn’t sound all that special from the driving seat. Yes, there’s a nice growl to it, but it doesn’t seem to have the character of the Ferrari V6. That said, it sounds much more impressive from the outside, with a properly loud bark on start-up and a thunderous idle. For maximum aural excitement, our advice would be to pick the open-top Cielo.
Whichever version you choose, though, you’re getting a car that’s an absolute delight to drive. Sure, visibility isn’t great, and it drives jumpily when you’re reversing, but on a good road the MC20 comes alive. The steering is sublime, the ride is remarkably smooth for a supercar and the performance is addictive. It’s everything a mid-engined Maserati should be.
Maserati MC20 Pricing
The Maserati MC20 is not officially on sale in the Republic of Ireland and, while you can bring one in from the UK, it doesn’t come cheap. There is a Maserati dealership in Belfast if you’re keen.
Carzone Verdict: 5/5
The MC20 is a real return to form for Maserati. A spectacular supercar that’s a joy to drive and surprisingly pleasant on a long journey, it’s one of the best in the business. And although the V6 engine isn’t the most melodic when you’re inside, you can always opt for the even more impressive drop-top MC20 Cielo, which gets you a little closer to the internal combustion action.