Maserati’s new MC20 features 630-horsepower twin-turbo V6

New supercar an in-house project as historic brand ends dependence on Ferrari technology

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Maserati MC20
Maserati's new MC20 supercar has a twin-turbocharged V6 engine that pumps out 630 horsepower | Maserati photos

Maserati has unveiled its MC20, which it says is a 202-mph supercar developed in house as the historic Italian brand sheds its dependence on Ferrari, which has spun off as a separate company from beneath the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles umbrella.

The MC20 rolls out 15 years after the end of production of the company’s previous top model, the MC12.

“The new MC20 (MC for Maserati Corse and 20 for 2020, the year of its world première and the start of the brand’s new era) is the Maserati everyone was waiting for,” the company said. “It is a car with incredible aerodynamic efficiency, which conceals a sporty soul, with the new Nettuno engine, a 630-horsepower V6 with torque of 730 Nm (538 pound-feet) that delivers 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 2.9 seconds and a top speed over 325 km (202 miles) an hour.”

Maserati shared no photos of the engine, but did do this display at the car’s unveiling

The car debuts an engine “that signals Maserati’s return to producing its own power units after a hiatus of more than 20 years.”

The Nettuno engine is a twin-turbocharged V6 featuring Maserati Twin Combustion technology. The 3.0-liter engine’s design features Formula 1 technology with pre-combustion chambers with their own spark plugs. Specially shaped holes then feed the combustion chamber atop the cylinders, where there is the standard spark plug. Rephrase? –  which each has a standard spark plug? 

Maserati said this architecture allows for direct and indirect injection so the car can operate quietly and conserve fuel during routine daily driving while still offering supercar performance when desired.

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“The new Nettuno engine has a dual combustion chamber for each cylinder,” the company explains. “A design which includes a pre-chamber, in which the main spark plug is installed. The air-fuel mixture is forced into the pre-chamber during the piston’s compression stroke. Near the TDC (top dead center), the main spark plug ignites the mixture in the pre-chamber, triggering pilot combustion, then propagated (via special holes) into the conventional combustion chamber. 

“The process generates combustion with multiple flame fronts, characterized by high turbulence and thus greater efficiency; this improves the engine’s overall efficiency and increases specific power output without penalizing specific fuel consumption.

“The new Nettuno engine generates a power output of 210 horsepower/liter. This makes it currently the best-in-class 6-cylinder engine in terms of specific power output.”

The engine is linked to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission with 6 “power” and 2 “overdrive” gears.

Extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum produce a curb weight of less than 1,500 kilograms (about 3,300 pounds).

“The guiding theme of the MC20’S design was the Brand’s historic identity, with all the elegance, performance and comfort integral to its genetic make-up,” the company said. “The focus on performance led to the conception of a car with a distinct personality, with unmistakable forms that render it unique.”

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The car’s aerodynamics were honed through more than 1,000 hours of computer simulation and more than 2,000 man-hours in the Dallara wind tunnel. The car was designed to be produced in coupe and convertible architectures and with petrol or electric powerplants.

The MC20 has butterfly doors to access a cockpit with a pair of 10-inch display screens. The driving-mode selector has settings for GT, Wet, Sport, Corsa and ESC Off. 

Production begins later this year. Pricing was not announced but reportedly will start around $210,000.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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