It’s been a long time coming, but Maserati’s first supercar is finally here, competing with the likes of McLaren and Ferrari. Don’t let its small stature fool you, when the twin-turbocharged V6 starts up, it’s more than enough to make you sit up and take notice.
Before Maserati launches into its electric era, the MC20 is a gentle, yet painful reminder of the fun only conventional engines can offer. It’s also available as a hard-top convertible which Maserati calls Cielo (Italian for sky). Unusually, I preferred the Coupe. Normally open-top summer cruising is supercar magic with a cherry on top, but the Coupe feels so light and airy. It’s got great visibility for a supercar thanks to the driving position and rear view camera and the engine is loud enough that you don’t feel like you’re missing out by not having the roof down.
I tried the Cielo in the rain so I can confirm, you can outrun the rain to stay dry but rather embarrassingly, I sat in traffic looking for the roof button, only to realize the controls were in the touchscreen. So maybe it’s my technological challenges that drew me closer to the Coupe.
What Does It Take To Get Behind The Wheel?
We’re in supercar territory so pricing starts in the region of £200,000 (around $249,000), rising by £25,000 (around $31,100) for the Cielo version. This isn’t crazy for this level, but you can quickly get carried away with optional extras like heated seats for £550 and a black roof for £3,750. But in this realm, money is the last concern. You’re buying curb appeal, performance and something that doubles as a track car.
It’s a stunning car that’s very straightforward to drive. The power is measured so the V6 doesn’t feel like it’s dead set on landing you in a ditch, but switch up the driving modes and it unlocks its full potential. Obviously, this kind of performance is reserved for the track because you’ll never get a chance to use it on the road.
What’s This Modern Maserati Like?
It’s Maserati’s most expensive car with the most simplistic interior, which is a refreshing balance. There’s no distractions and arguably the infotainment screen seems redundant, all the focus is on the drive. Of course, it’s luxury surroundings and high quality materials throughout but it all becomes very insignificant out on the road.
Electronic power steering can’t quite match the communicative electro-hydraulic steering of the McLaren Artura and the pedals are aligned slightly off-center so the brake pedal is further over than you first expect. Compared to the Ferrari 296 GTB’s 819bhp, the MC20 could seem a little underpowered but it dishes out 630hp without leaving you wanting more.
An Everyday Supercar
The MC20 is surprisingly practical, it’s got a decent sized boot and the cabin feels spacious, even with a tall driver and passenger. The dash is minimalistic with just the driver’s display and a central touchscreen to operate climate control and infotainment. Smartphone connectivity makes it simple to use and it has Alexa and Google Assistant for voice activated commands.
The dividing section between the driver and passenger houses the gear selector buttons and a dial to change the driving modes. There’s also a tray for your phone and a small compartment big enough to keep your sunglasses in. The seats are impressively comfortable for a car like this, they keep you firmly in place without jostling your bones around.
What’s The MC20 Like In The Driving Seat?
There’s few cars that create a driving experience to fill you with glee, the MC20 is one of these rare gems. On the dash there’s two gauges, one for braking and the other for gas. Pressing down on either pedal will show a percentage, correlating with how hard it’s being pushed. It feels like it’s demanding to be driven to the max, taunting you to light up the dash. At speed it cruises effortlessly and stays remarkably stable.
In this kind of car, you’ll always reach your limit before the car does, which is comforting as long as it doesn’t lead to overconfidence. Pleasingly, even driving at low speeds is engaging, the engine has a wonderful rumble behind the cabin and people glance over, looking for a celebrity behind the wheel.
The dual-clutch, eight-speed automatic gearbox is one of the most satisfying things about the MC20. It’s seamless. There’s never a moment when it’s intrusive or annoying, it stretches out through the gears and does its job so well, it’s barely noticeable. Paddle shifters are good fun to make the engine roar and do some more sporty driving but the automatic transmission is a joy.
PROS & CONS
+Comfy supportive seats
+Eye catching in any car park
–Infotainment screen looks stuck on
–Need space to open the doors
–Brake pedal is slightly off-center
Price: £267,015 ($332,400) – as tested
Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
Power/Torque: 630hp/538lb ft
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph: 2.9 seconds
Top speed: 202mph