For 15 years, Maserati had no supercar representative, relying instead on the past glory of the MC12 to maintain some form of relevance in a highly dynamic market space. As impressive as the MC12 was, though, that goodwill was never going to last forever.
After the MC12, the Italian carmaker’s only representative in the performance 2-door segment was the Maserati GranTurismo. It was discontinued in 2019, and even then, the Gran Turismo never really qualified as a true supercar. Something had to change, and fast. Maserati had to come up with something to restore the prestige of the famous trident logo. In 2020, the solution came in the form of an all-new supercar—the Maserati MC20.
Why the MC20 Is the Beginning of a New Era
The supercar was introduced to the world in September 2020 at an event aptly titled ‘MMXX: Time to be audacious.’ For Maserati, the time for subtleties was over, and it was time to make a bold statement of intent in the high-performance world of motoring. The Maserati MC20 was all that and much more.
The ‘MC’ in the name stands for Maserati Corse, a nod to the carmaker’s racing heritage and a hint that the MC20 would be involved in competitive racing in future. The ’20’ references the year of the car’s premiere and the beginning of Maserati’s new era.
One of the biggest highlights around the MC20’s reveal had to do with the engine. For a long time, all Maserati car engines were built by Ferrari, and the Prancing Horse brand still makes engines for most of Maserati’s current cars and SUVs. However, Maserati took a different approach for the MC20, with a revolutionary powerplant developed wholly in-house.
The V6 engine dubbed Nettuno incorporates several aspects of F1 technology into its framework, resulting in a compact unit that generates 621 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. No doubt, the engine is a truly remarkable piece of automotive engineering. However, more than that, it’s a clear indication that Maserati is fully able to chart its own path without relying on other car manufacturers.
Besides the engine, the MC20’s styling also deserves mention, and praise. Italians have been credited with some of the most beautiful cars ever made, and the MC20 certainly upholds that reputation. With the MC20, Maserati offered an insight into its next-generation design language with a mix of classic and modern touches. The supercar retains the trademark wide grille emblazoned with the Maserati trident.
However, new styling elements have also been introduced. They include vertical headlights and thin, horizontal tail light signatures. The elegant butterfly doors (on the coupe) are not only stylish but also offer easy access into the cabin. Altogether, the various styling cues combine seamlessly to make the MC20 one of the best-looking modern supercars, an asset that can only do the car favors in a highly competitive market space.
How the MC20 Fares Against Rivals
Competition is fierce in the performance market segment. It’s an automobile sector with no shortage of options, and carmakers’ slightest misjudgments are severely punished by a picky customer base. Launching a new supercar into the market is never an easy task, but that’s only the start of a journey that’s fraught with risk and uncertainty. What if potential customers fail to warm up to the new car and, instead, turn to available alternatives? Other questions revolve around product performance, pricing, and build quality.
All these issues were just some of the challenges the MC20 had to navigate following its September 2020 debut. The Maserati supercar faces an uphill task in its quest to stake a claim in the performance segment. Heavyweight rivals include the likes of the Porsche 911 Turbo S, McLaren GT and Artura, Ferrari F8 Tributo, and the Lamborghini Huracan in countless model variants. The potential customer is spoiled for choice, and the MC20 will have to fight for every inch of territory.
The MC20 certainly seems well-prepared for the journey ahead. The elegance and design are bound to win over some fans. However, the car is more than its looks. The 621-hp powerplant puts it right in the mix with rivals like the 612-hp McLaren GT, 641-hp 911 Porsche Turbo S and the 631-hp Huracan Tecnica. Performance-wise, the MC20 will rocket to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds and complete the quarter-mile in 11 seconds at 134 mph. The sleek supercar will also accelerate until it maxes out at a respectable 202 mph (325 km/h). These are performance-worthy numbers that can sway undecided minds and help swell out the car’s fan base.
A smart move by Maserati was designing the MC20 around a carbon-fiber chassis that—with minimal tweaks—can support different model variants. First, we had the MC20 coupe, followed by the MC20 Cielo, the convertible version unveiled in May 2022. There will be at least one more variant, an all-electric MC20, expected sometime in 2025.
By making different variants of the same vehicle, Maserati is wisely positioning the MC20 to capture as much of the market as possible. It is a strategy that has been employed, with great success, by brands like Lamborghini and Porsche.
The Outlook Is Positive for the MC20
The Maserati MC20 is a car saddled with great responsibilities and tasked with putting the trident logo at the forefront of the performance car segment once again. The car seems to be up to the task, though. Since its launch, it’s been a case of ‘so far, so good’ for Maserati. The reception has been largely positive, with overwhelmingly positive press reviews from even the most critical motoring journalists.
Top Gear described the MC20 as a ‘highly engaging and authentic supercar.’ Motortrend considers it a real rival to established mid-engined supercars, while the Car and Driver team was full of praise for the MC20’s sharp handling and beautiful styling. The general consensus is that the MC20 is a first-class supercar and one that can truly lead Maserati’s charge into the future.
The early sales figures have been promising too. At $217,000, the MC20 is currently the most expensive car offered by Stellantis, Maserati’s parent company, but that has not deterred customers. Sales kicked off in 2021 (as a 2022 model), and in August of that year, the carmaker reported that all 2022 models had already been reserved. The MC20 Cielo will be even more expensive at $277,000 when it goes on sale next year, but Maserati still expects a high demand.
“We are in acceleration mode,” Maserati CEO Davide Grasso said at the Cielo unveiling at the brand’s factory in Modena. The factory has resources to support a production capacity of between 1,300 to 1,500 units per year, and the waiting time for a new MC20 supercar is about eight months.
These are early days yet, and it will take some more time to form an accurate picture. However, one can be cautiously optimistic about the MC20’s chances of success. One thing is clear, though, the MC20 is well positioned as Maserati aims to restore the supercar credentials of the famous Trident logo.