After previously writing of Maserati’s first foray into the supercar realm with its recently launched MC20, our Editor-in-chief finally gets the chance to sit in the saddle of the highly-revered Italian stallion.
Good things come to those who are patient apparently, and while waiting is not really my strongest point, the opportunity to be one of the first to drive Maserati’s long awaited MC20 supercar was an exercise in pure exhilaration. I’ve driven many cars in my time, and this has to be one of the finest examples of superior automotive perfection that I have ever experienced.
For starters, the MC20 is the ultimate head turner, and not in the usual, “you’re obviously an asshole if you’re driving that” way, but in more of a “what is this beautiful example of automotive excellence?” kind of way. That’s the beauty of the MC20’s magnificent design, it is Italian craftsmanship at its absolute finest. From the elegant curved bonnet, to the huge trident badge expertly cut into the flank at the rear of the car, this is a vehicle that gets people guessing, and certainly attracts a lot of attention (and amateur photographers). And that’s before you casually open the doors, which rise like the wings of a bird of prey. The audible gasps among the gathered onlookers only adds to the exhilaration of sliding in behind the wheel of this exotic ride.
Once in the cockpit — as one would expect from a car of this superior calibre — the ride is low. My apprehension about speed bumps were quickly put to rest by employing the cunning lift button which raises the car enough to glide over bumps with elegance and ease. What’s more, the fact that you are so low to the ground would typically deliver zero visibility via a standard rear view mirror, but a nifty camera view ensures you don’t awkwardly take out any eager onlookers as you put pedal to the metal.
What’s strikingly different once behind the wheel of the MC20, compared to others in its category, is the sheer simplicity of the interior. Firing up the engine requires just a simple touch of the start button, while changing the pace and performance is done via the turning of a dial. And while that all might sound very basic, the outcome of such small hand gestures delivers the ultimate in supercar experiences.
The V6 engine that sits behind my head employs turbos that create the sort of exhilarating roar that I’m here for. Why bother playing tunes on the Apple CarPlay when there’s a symphony of guttural and poetic rhythms emanating from the car itself? The impressive Nettuno engine is the world’s first production engine to feature the same dual chamber combustion system used in Formula 1 engines. The overall result is a more fuel efficient, class leading car that has a top speed of 325 kilometres per hour and takes a mere 2.9 seconds to reach 100 kilometres per hour — something you may wish to employ
if you were wanting to really give the gathered crowds a thrill.
Despite its supercar pedigree, the MC20 is surprisingly easy to drive, one could definitely take this through the school pick-up line, or down to the corner store. The day-to-day default GT mode has ample grunt when required, but can also be a very comfortable ride, that’s smooth and responsive, and doesn’t feel like it’s champing at the bit to take off on you.
But switch her up a notch, by opting for the Sport or Corsa modes, and it’s an entirely different story. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to metaphorically transport my experience to the streets of the Monaco Grandprix and threw her into Corsa mode. And boy does she deliver. The suspension stiffness and traction control is very apparent, and despite my lack of Formula 1 driving experience, I felt like we were at one in our mission of owning the road. Putting my foot down, there was no lag, I am quite literally off and racing.
My long-standing love for both Italian design and fast cars, has been expertly combined into the finest example of a perfectly harmonious romance. The Italians do it well; Maserati’s first foray into the supercar realm with the MC20 is nothing short of astonishing.