• Wed. Aug 10th, 2022



Maserati’s new MC20 supercar uses F1 engine efficiency technology

Lucid wasn’t the only car maker to whip the sheets off a new car on Wednesday night. Maserati got in on the action, too, unveiling its new MC20 supercar to a socially distanced audience in Modena, Italy. It’s the brand’s first supercar since the MC12, a mid-2000s car that was derived from the Ferrari Enzo. But unlike that car, the MC20 won’t be restricted to a mere 50 units but will be a regular production model, with a number of different variants that in time will even include a battery-electric option.

Details of the electric MC20 will have to wait for another day, but that doesn’t mean the gasoline-powered car should be overlooked. In fact, it’s powered by a rather interesting 621hp (463kW), 538lb-ft (730Nm) Nettuno 3.0L twin-turbo V6 that incorporates some clever new technology that until now has only been found in Formula 1 cars.

In those highly specialized racing cars, Ferrari and Mahle called their new tech “turbulent jet ignition”; for this production engine, Maserati is calling it “Maserati Twin Combustion,” which is a pretty good description. The Nettuno engine can operate like a normal internal combustion gasoline engine, igniting fuel within the cylinder. But it also has the ability to divert a small amount of fuel to a pre-chamber, sending the rest of it to be better-dispersed into the cylinder through small holes along its wall. By combusting this small amount of fuel first, the bulk of the gas can be more efficiently burned because it’s more evenly distributed, thereby boosting thermal efficiency. (In its F1 application, it was allowing the internal combustion engines to reach a thermal efficiency of 47 percent, which you can read about in our previous coverage.)

Maserati claims that the engine is all new and developed in-house, although a deep dive from Bozi Tatarevic at Road and Track shows that it is related to Ferrari’s F154 V8 in many regards.

When the car is viewed in profile, another Ferrari link suggests itself because there appear to be a lot of similarities with the 458/488/SF90 supercars. Then again, lots of mid-engined supercars share similar design traits, and a quick look at the MC20’s dimensions reveal the fact that, at 2,700mm, the MC20 has a 50mm longer wheelbase than the Ferraris. Further countering the idea that the MC20 is just a 488 in drag is the fact that, unlike the Ferraris, this Maserati uses a carbon-fiber chassis (like the MC12), which gives the car a curb weight of under 3,307lbs (1,500kg).

Whether you like the way the MC20 looks will be a subjective thing, but opinions expressed by Ars staff during the reveal included “drop-dead gorgeous.” The front of the car directly references the MC12, and the tail lights and integrated rear spoiler are a shout-out to the (front-engined) GranTurismo. But there are plenty of unique styling details, too—I’m particularly fond of the way Maserati’s trident logo shows up in the vents of the rear window.

When the MC20 goes on sale in the US next year, expect it to start at about $210,000, which makes it competitive with McLaren’s 570S (and therefore a good deal cheaper than the more powerful mid-engined V8 Ferrari). A convertible will follow in time, with the battery-electric variant following after that.

Listing image by Maserati

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