The Maserati MC20’s V-6 engine isn’t as unique as the company claims

Maserati introduced the MC20 supercar with a twin-turbo V-6 engine called Nettuno. The company claims that this engine is new and "100% Maserati," but the mill actually shares parts with powerplants found in Ferrari and Alfa Romeo models. As speculated long before Maserati unveiled the car, the Nettuno engine is derived from a Ferrari V-8 and is similar to a V-6 that Alfa Romeo offers in high-performance versions of the Giulia and Stelvio.

Maserati’s Nettuno V-6 is by no means unique

Maserati's "Brand-New" V-6 Engine Is Actually Based on a Ferrari V-8
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As pointed out by the folks over at Road and Track, you can tell that the Nettuno isn’t a unique mill simply by looking at the official photos of the engine. First, it seems that the bottom right corner of the rear cover has the same bolt pattern and flanges as the Ferrari F154 engine, which powers all existing twin-turbo V-8 models. They also share the oil filter housing and mounting pattern, as well as the crankshaft pulley.

The outlet also quotes a video that shows the deck of the cylinder block, which is again similar to the F154 and further proof that the Nettuno engine is a Ferrari V-8 with a set of cylinders removed.
Maserati's "Brand-New" V-6 Engine Is Actually Based on a Ferrari V-8
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Then there are the specs. Maserati’s sheet lists a 90-degree angle, which matches the layout of the Ferrari F154 engine. The 88mm bore and 82mm stroke are also identical to the V-8 that Ferrari offers in the SF90 hybrid. The firing order of the Nettuno, quoted at 1-6-3-4-2-5, is the same as the firing order of Alfa Romeo’s high-performance V-6 engine, also derived from the Ferrari F154.

Maserati's engine also includes some components sourced from Alfa Romeo models.

The Denso alternator is used across the Alfa Romeo lineup, while the A/C compressor is taken from the Quadrifoglio models. The mill will also be assembled by FCA instead of Ferrari, as it used to happen with Ferrari-developed Maserati engines in the past.

What is the Ferrari F154 engine?

Maserati's "Brand-New" V-6 Engine Is Actually Based on a Ferrari V-8
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The Maranello-based company introduced the F154 engine back in 2014. The twin-turbo, 3.9-liter mill broke cover in the Ferrari California T, and a slightly revised version found its way into the 488 GTB in 2015. The California engine was later used in three more cars, the GTC4 Lusso T, Portofino, and the Roma, in all cases with different power outputs. The version used in the 488 GTB was upgraded for the 488 Pista in 2018 and then found its way into the F8 Tributo in 2019. Finally, a larger 4.0-liter variant was developed for the SF90 Stradale hybrid for 2020.

While the first version of the Ferrari F154 V-8 was rated at 552 horsepower, the engine was uprated to 661 horsepower for the 488 GTB and to 710 horses for the F8 Tributo. The largest iteration, the 4.0-liter in the SF90 Stradale, comes with an impressive 769 horsepower on tap.

Maserati's "Brand-New" V-6 Engine Is Actually Based on a Ferrari V-8
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The F154 engine also motivates two versions of the Maserati Levante SUV and the Quattroporte GTS performance sedan. All these vehicles are offered with a 3.8-liter version of the F154 engine. The Quattroporte GTS and the Euro-spec Levante GTS come with 523 horsepower, while the U.S. variant of the Levante GTS is rated at 550 horses. The Levante Trofeo benefits from the most powerful version of this engine, rated at 572 horses in the European model and 590 horsepower in the U.S. variant.

Finally, the F154 was chopped off and modified to create the Alfa Romeo 690T engine.

This twin-turbo V-6 displaces 2.9-liters and powers Quadrifoglio versions of the Giulia and the Stelvio. Both are rated at 503 horsepower, but the Giulia GTA boasts 533 hoses.

The Nettuno V-6 has a few unique features

Maserati's "Brand-New" V-6 Engine Is Actually Based on a Ferrari V-8
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Although it's not a brand-new design, Maserati did make some notable modifications to the chopped-off F154 engine.

It now runs an 11:1 compression ratio and features unique heads developed in-house. They feature dual spark plugs and a small combustion chamber that is connected to the traditional combustion chamber by a series of designed holes, based on technology borrowed from Formula One.

Is Maserati lying about the Nettuno engine?

Maserati's "Brand-New" V-6 Engine Is Actually Based on a Ferrari V-8
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Not really. We could stay that it attempted a PR stunt. Sure, the Nettuno engine’s roots lie in the Ferrari F154 V-8, but Maserati has done significant development in-house for this powerplant and added technology that Ferrari doesn’t use at this point. But Maserati just pushed things a bit too far with the "100% Maserati." This statement should mean that the company designed and built an engine from a clean sheet, but there’s proof that it didn’t. This doesn’t mean that the Nettuno V-6 isn’t a good engine. On the contrary. The fact that it is based on a tried-and-true Ferrari engine makes it that much more reliable and desirable. It’s just that Maserati could have been honest about it.

2021 Maserati MC20 specifications
Layout V6 90° MTC twin turbo
Displacement (cc) 3000 cc
Bore x stroke (mm) 88 x 82 mm
Compression ratio 11:1
Max. power output 630 HP @ 7500 rpm
Peak torque (Nm @ rpm) 538 LB-FT @ 3000 - 5500 rpm
Ignition system MTC (Maserati Twin Combustion) Twin Spark with passive prechamber
Fuel system PD( Direct injection 350bar + Port injection 6bar)
Induction Twin Side Turbo with electronic actuated waste gate
Lubrication Fully variable Oil pump on Dry Sump System with scavenge Pumps & external oil tank
Timing system Double over head camshaft with variable valve timing
0-100 Km/h (s) <2,9''
0-200 Km/h (s) <8,8''
Top speed (km/h) >325km/h
Braking distance from 100 to 0 km/h (m) <33mt

Source: Road and Track

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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