An all-new supercar for (real) driving enthusiasts

The 2023 Maserati MC20 is an all-new two-seat carbon fiber coupe that rejuvenates the revered brand’s passion for driving. The MC20 (which stands for “Maserati Racing 2020”) has gorgeous Italian styling, an adrenaline-charged twin-turbo V6 engine and track-ready tuning that targets driving enthusiasts.

Engineering and design of the 2023 Maserati MC20

The MC20’s carbon fiber monocoque was designed through a partnership with Dallara, the Italian racing car manufacturer. From the start, the team’s goal was to use the same tank for three vehicles: a coupé, a convertible and a purely electric variant. All three retain the same architecture and geometry, but there will be differences in how the building materials are layered for each.

Maserati is said to have spent over 2,000 hours in the wind tunnel – and over 1,000 computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies performed – to turn the MC20 into an aerodynamic work of art. Of course, designing an exotic mid-engined car with a unique appearance is difficult, but that’s exactly what the Italians did: the MC20 is sleek, stylish and sporty. And it is distinctive.

Most supercars are loaded with studded splitters, spoilers and moving fenders. Maserati avoided all that. Instead, they’ve come up with an impressively clean exterior that delivers on functionality. All curves and scoops, even the sculpted belly, are deliberately designed to take advantage of managed aerodynamics, including high and low pressure areas, to supply air to the engine, brakes and intercooler – all while simultaneously offering low drag (for top speed) and downforce (for stability).

The interior of the MC20 is functional and clean – a driver’s car that deliberately lacks over-the-top styling or unnecessary flair. The cockpit is covered in soft Alcantara, premium leathers and cleverly placed carbon fiber trim. Contrast stitching adds a touch of visual excitement. The driver faces a chunky multifunction steering wheel (the engine start/stop button is integrated) with column-mounted paddle shifters. Immediately behind the steering wheel is a main instrument digital display, which changes its appearance (and content) depending on the drive mode. Complementing the screen, a large color touchscreen infotainment interface floats in the middle of the dash – set back so as not to distract the driver.

Undoubtedly, the most extravagant component is the drive mode selector – its design inspired by a luxury watch and colored with Maserati blue – located at the top of the center console. There are only two other buttons that allow the driver to switch the gearbox between automatic and manual modes and reverse. Window and audio switches are lower in the center console. Besides a small glove box, there’s a noticeable lack of storage for anything – the focus is on driving.

2023 Maserati MC20 engine and transmission

Maserati has developed an all-new engine for the MC20 that pushes the boundaries of technical innovation. The 90° twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6, which goes by the name “Nettuno”, features twin spark plugs, an innovative pre-chamber combustion system and dry sump lubrication. The engine is rated at 621 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via an automated 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox. A mechanical limited-slip, self-locking rear differential is standard. According to Maserati, the 0-60mph sprint drops to around 2.9 seconds as the coupe races to a top speed of 202mph.

The MC20’s lightweight composite monocoque tub features independent double-wishbone suspension at all four corners. Maserati engineers chose a double wishbone design (front and rear) with semi-virtual steering – two forged aluminum lower links and a single upper link. This design allows the tire patch to remain more consistent under high g loads. In addition, an adaptive system allows the driver to choose between different firmness depending on the driving situation.

Steel brakes (380mm front/350mm rear) are standard, with 6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers. Optional and fitted to my test car were larger carbon-ceramic rotors (390mm front/360mm rear). Additionally, Maserati chose Bridgestone Tire as their tire partner – the result is a high-performance Bridgestone Potenza tire with a unique carcass and compound designed explicitly for the MC20, which are wrapped around 20-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels. (the tires are 245/35-20 front and 305/30-20 rear).

How does the 2023 Maserati MC20 work?

The MC20 offers five drive modes (GT, WET, SPORT, CORSA and ESC OFF), chosen via the drive mode selector. Each setting changes engine boost, pedal sensitivity, exhaust note, shifting, suspension damping and traction control (ESC). By default, the coupe starts in GT mode. However, the driver can turn the dial to SPORT or WET, and the vehicle reconfigures in less than a second. Pressing the selector for two seconds chooses CORSA (the equivalent of racing mode) while holding it down for five seconds switches to ESC OFF – a setting best reserved for a racing circuit.

It’s a shame that most prospects will probably try the Maserati MC20 in GT mode confined to an urban environment – that setup does the supercar a disservice. Although the coupe is comfortable and easy to maneuver around town (a nose lift lets it effortlessly clear most driveways), the brake pedal is hard underfoot and the V6 engine never gets a chance to produce a prodigious thrust. As a result, while the Maserati is an absolute stunner (passersby turn their heads for miles), it feels sluggish and underwhelming when driven gently.

Yet everything changes for the better when the Maserati is driven in a rage – hit the drive mode selector to activate CORSA, and the MC20 becomes the supercar it was designed to be. On a lonely canyon road, the twin-turbo engine revs to redline with ferocious thrust. Manual gear changes kick in instantly (accompanied by a solid kick in the rear end) as the coupe hurtles forward, devouring the asphalt in its path.

The steering is crisp, rewarding delicate and deliberate inputs (the coupe’s rear end will agitate its annoyance with inaccuracies, but thankfully it’s easy to tuck in with a countersteering kick). Once warmed up, Bridgestone tires provide amazing grip – every sticky contact patch feels glued to the surface. And the brakes, which felt dull when cold, nibble at the rotors consistently when warmed up. There’s not even a fading suggestion – they feel ready for the Le Mans circuit.

I’ve driven dozens of supercars and exotics over the years. While some have been good, many have left my consummate driving enthusiast soul challenged to be impressed. Yet the Maserati MC20 – with its traditional rear-drive dynamics and hyper-boosted V6 – feels real, lively and authentic. This supercar is fast, fun, challenging and unmistakably smiley. It’s original.

How much does the 2023 Maserati MC20 cost?

The base price for a new 2023 Maserati MC20 is $212,000. Most customers will pick theirs at around $230,000 – loaded, expect to pay around $255,000. The secondary market proved strong, with used Maserati MC20 coupés fetching significant premiums in the used-car market.

About Sharon Joseph

Check Also

Rates of Treasury bills, bonds to climb

BW FILE PHOTO Government Securities (GS) RATEs on offer this week are expected to rise …