Full Bora? We consider the new for 2021 MC20
Butterflies arrive in many different guises – usually but not exclusively colourful – thumbnail to two large cupped hands in size, yet delicate, even when aggressive. Today, we cast our gaze upon one such farfalla, flying directly to some lucky devil you don’t know proudly carrying a new satin effect trident – the Maserati MC20.
According to lanky, charismatic German designer, Klaus Busse – in post for over five years now – their new supercar took twenty-four months to bring to fruition. A blend of technology and good old-fashioned honing skills brought about the car as a game of two halves.
The upper body being a product of initial fast sketches followed by in-depth projections and clay sculpting. Bereft of ugly wings or basking shark-aping openings is in part thanks to the exceptional attention to detail; over 2000 hours spent with chassis expert Dallara’s wind tunnel, combined with the ground-ward section of the car-attuned aerodynamics. The tub weighs less than 100Kgs: overall MC20 weighs just under 1500Kgs.
Busse is at pains to laud his fabulously talented engineering department who defined the car’s side carbon fibre in-step which channels the air towards the car’s rear where its cooling effects are required. To the front, Busse refers to the frame and not grille, as an embodiment of the car’s face, clearly adorned by the marque’s evocative badge which can also be found on the knife sharp-looking C-pillar.
For those accustomed to seeing how fast objects to the rear of such a car recede, that view remains masked by yet another trident, found somewhat obscurely covering the engine bay. Fear not, a camera attests to the vanishing rear horizon. Remaining aft, we find a larger slab of weaved carbon, surrounding artillery-like exhaust pipes, safely concluding the MC20’s shape. Elegant may be too strong a description here though thorax might just work.
Now, to the mid-ship mounted mill, designated Nettuno in deference to Neptune grasping his toasting fork. This three litre, twin turbo V6 engine has caused more than a little consternation amid interested parties, matters arising over claims of being a 100% new Maserati engine.
Yes, the Nettuno is Maserati’s first in-house, Modena made engine in over fifteen years but, (to me) naturally uses parts from fellow stablemates Alfa Romeo and some modifications from the Cavallino Rampante’s F1 powertrain. Can an engine be truly 100% of any company? Engines contain parts from many far flung locations, which may become marooned on a windswept container ship or have them redirected to a more pressing mobile device.
To this author, the argument smacks of pettiness when we surely should be applauding the engine’s power, flexibility and emitted sound as we head ever deeper into the silence of the electrified world. Other detractors will decry that Maserati have chosen to use rock oil to power this surprisingly pocket sized rocket but then it does strike one that fossil fuels will remain for some time to come – and what better vessel to drink heartily than such a precocious Lepidoptera?
Immaterial consumption figures suggest 25mpg. With 538 NM of torque, and 0-60 time under three seconds and 621 bhp under your wings, even the wealthy require a keen, petrol limit eye.
Prevailing with insect-like aspects, may I present the beautifully theatrical door of the MC20 along with (somewhat obscure) silver embossed trident wheels? When shelling out the price of a nicely sized house, one expects a car with some drama even when stationary. Whilst not fully subscribing to Busse’s wheel description (there’s a trident in there, somewhere) one could happily open and close these days all day – perhaps you’ve run out of petrol?
Colour schemes appear limited but giallo appears an appropriate butterfly hue. Or what about the more subtle Bianco Audace, with its yellow-tinged white?
The Modena missile’s interior looks comfortable as any cocoon should. Leather options are quietly aired whilst the vegan trend for alternative materials shouts louder. Even a butterfly requires storage areas, the designers blending in a front and rear abdomen for brief trips away. Forgetting the pandemic, do the well heeled flit across continents any more? With room for silk pyjamas and perhaps some fruit for sustenance, you can purchase other necessities on arrival.
Keeping things light hearted, Maserati really do appear in a playful mood, or more precisely, modes. The gearbox, all eight automatic speeds with dual clutch can be set by twisting the dial to GT for everyday open road conditions, Sport for the racing line, Corsa (for more noise and bigger smiles) and Wet – “where sunny conditions are always ahead.” Nothing like a cheerful demeanour.
On-line views reveal a transmission far from acting as a skittish butterfly but as it’s Maserati’s job to create these whims to the best of their abilities, so too the journalistic nature of eking out a quibble; “not as good as rivals, changing down.” Lighten up; in these strangest of times, we perhaps all need to float serenely like a butterfly.
Leaving aside personal taste, most of the journalists are fawning over the MC20’s heralded overall package which bodes well for Il Tridente. Stellantis’ prose is recognisably confident, with each umbrella spine calling shots, administering incontrovertible change, revealing financial impetus and generating products people converse about and most importantly, purchase.
How many MC20’s are expected to sell? Reports suggest around fifteen hundred per year and with a starting price towards the thick end of two hundred large – most will undoubtedly break the quarter million bracket, placing the Maserati firmly in the category of all those usual, overly flamboyant rival suspects. These figures split the road going and soon to appear race versions. A Spyder with retractable hard top should arrive soon – more butterfly like?
Can Italian flair win over those fortunate enough to have that kind of folding (no wings)? Returning to personal taste, as a distant, by-standing butterfly watcher, one hopes so.