Maserati returns to the supercar market with a twin-turbo, V-6 coupe

The 2021 Maserati MC20 is a mid-engined supercar that the Italian company unveiled in September 2020. The brand’s first supercar since 2005, the MC20 is considered a spiritual successor to the MC12, although the two are far from related. Not only the 2021 Maserati MC20 is smaller, but it’s also powered by a twin-turbo V-6 engine instead of a V-12, and it features a less aggressive exterior design. The 2021 Maserati MC20 is likely aimed at supercars like the Ferrari F8 Tributo, McLaren 720S, and Lamborghini Huracan Evo. The 2021 MC20 is powered by a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 that’s described as "100% Maserati." However, this mill is actually loosely based on Ferrari’s F154 V-8 engine and features parts from other FCA powerplants. The 2021 MC is Maserati’s fourth production mid-engined vehicle, following the Bora (1971-1978), Merak (1972-1983), and MC12 (2004-2005). Let’s find out more about the 2021 Maserati MC20 in the review below.

  • 2021 Maserati MC20
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    621
  • Torque @ RPM:
    538
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    2.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    202 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

  • Clean, somewhat dull design
  • Lots of subdued aero features
  • Not as aggressive as the competition
  • Smaller than the MC12
  • Carbon-fiber body
  • Butterfly doors
  • Six exclusive colors
2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934267
The company's first full-blown sports car in almost 15 years, the MC20 looks rather unique compared to existing Maseratis.

It boats those supercar proportions we haven’t seen in the brand’s lineup recently, including the low-slung nose, the canopy-style cabin, muscular fenders, and sloping engine hood. However, it looks nothing like Maserati’s previous supercar, the MC12. You see, the MC20 is considered by many a spiritual successor to the MC12, but the two supercars don’t have much in common. While the MC12 was basically a road-legal version of a race car, built for homologation purposes, the MC20 was developed from the very beginning as a road car. And for this reason alone, the MC20 is a more subdued design.

There’s no stylistic excess in the MC20’s exterior design. It’s not too organic, but it doesn’t include extremely sharp lines either.

It's like Maserati pursued that perfect balance between sportiness, elegance, and personality.

If you’re a big fan of the MC12, you might not like the MC20. But if you’re into pure sports car designs, the MC20 might quench your thirst, especially if you compare it to the Ferrari F8 Tributo and the Lamborghini Huracan.

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The MC12 and the MC20 have just one thing in common up front, the big oval grille that extends somewhat downward from the nose. It’s flanked by irregular vents at the bottom and vertical, LED headlamps at the top. The front hood is really small, and it’s flanked by sizable cooling vents. Onto the sides, the MC20 features deeply sculpted side skirts and big vents in the upper rear fenders, seemingly inspired by the MC12. Both wheel arches are muscular, but not over the top, so the MC20’s profile is somewhat generic compared to other cars from this niche.

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The rear fascia of the MC20 is also subdued when compared to the radical MC12.

The deck lid is much shorter, and there’s no big wing to talk about. As a nice touch, the engine cover is tinted in the shape of the Maserati "trident" badge. The taillights look rather familiar, as they are essentially longer and flatter versions of the lights seen on the Levante, Granturismo, and Quattroporte. The design also retains the layout with the red brake lights at the edges, but it’s now much thinner, and it features LED technology.

The bumper is a big piece of carbon-fiber that incorporates the license place recess, a pair of centrally mounted exhaust pipes, and a small diffuser flanked by two vents. Again, not as aggressive as the competition, but sporty and stylish. Speaking of carbon, many body components, including the doors, were made from this lightweight composite.

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The MC20 may look somewhat simple on the outside, but that simplicity was obtained following more than 2,000 man-hours in Dallara's wind tunnel, as well as more than 1,000 computational fluid dynamics simulations.

While the upper part of the body was conceived with styling in mind, the lower part, mostly painted in black or finished in carbon fiber, was developed with aerodynamics in mind. There are no specific figures to talk about, but Maserati says the MC20 generates "a high aerodynamic load with an excellent drag," which enables it to "hug the ground in all conditions of use" and at any speed.

The MC20 also comes with a range of brand-new exterior colors. Maserati created six new colors for the supercar, and it says they will retain exclusive to this model. What’s more, the MC20 is the first Maserati to be painted at the company’s new plant in Modena, which features innovative and environment-friendly technologies.

2021 Maserati MC20
- image 935060

The color palette includes Bianco Audace, a yellowish-white that merges the two colors of the Maserati Birdcage: milky white and dark blue. Then there’s Giallo Genio, a metallic yellow with a tint of blue. Rosso Vincente evokes the red of the Tipo 26, the company’s first race car, while Blu Infinito pays tribute to the MC12. There’s also Nero Enigma, a black paint with a deep and lacquered effect, and Grigio Mistero, inspired by the Alfieri concept car.

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As far as size goes, the MC20 is 183.8 inches long, 77.5 inches wide, and 48.1 inches tall. This means that it’s almost 20 inches shorter, five inches narrower, and 0.7 inches taller than the MC12. The MC20’s wheelbase comes in at 106.2 inches. The Maserati is similar in size to the Ferrari F8 Tributo and only slightly bigger than the Lamborghini Huracan. Its wheelbase is longer than both Italian competitors.

Maserati MC20 vs Maserati MC12 - exterior dimensions
Maserati MC20 Maserati MC12
Length 202.5 183.8
Width 82.5 77.5
Height 47.4 48.1
Wheelbase 110.2 106.2

Interior

  • Modern and clean
  • 10.25-inch displays
  • Exposed carbon-fiber
  • Leather and Alcantara
  • Simple center console
  • Sporty seats
  • Lightweight door panels
  • Some luggage room
  • Premium audio system
2021 Maserati MC20 Interior
- image 934237
The MC20's interior is pretty basic, which is to be expected in a full-blown supercar.

While premium sedans and SUV usually feature complicated center stacks packed with buttons and knobs and, more recently, displays on the passenger-side dashboard, supercars remain relatively clean and simple, but they’re not spartan. The MC20’s dash comes wrapped in leather, and there’s an "MC20" badge with an Italian flag on the passenger side, flanked by A/C vents. The MC20 doesn’t have a regular center stack, with just a 10.25-inch infotainment screen attached to the dashboard. Down below, we can see a carbon-fiber center console and a row of three buttons, including a driving mode selectors and two for the gears, power window controls, and infotainment volume control. It also incorporates a smartphone pad with a wireless charger.

2021 Maserati MC20 Interior
- image 934223

Like any modern car, the MC20 features an all-digital instrument cluster. And it’s pretty big too at 10.25 inches. The hood is flanked by rectangular A/C vents, as seen on the passenger-side dashboard. The steering wheel in front of it is made from carbon-fiber, but the sides are wrapped Alcantara for a proper grip. It features buttons on each spoke for easier operation. It also includes the ignition button on the left and the launch control button on the right.

Carbon-fiber isn’t the only element that keeps the interior light. Maserati also replaced the usual door handles with fabric loops, and the door panels themselves feature a lightweight design. The presentation model features cool bright blue accents on the seats and door panels, but you can go with a different color when placing your order.

2021 Maserati MC20 Interior
- image 934231

The driving mode selector is inspired by a luxury watch, and it’s made from expensive materials. It also features a touch of dark blue, Maserati’s traditional color. Maserati says that making the selector look like a watch was a symbolic decision as the MC20 is the car in its lineup that doesn’t come with an analog clock on the instrument cluster.

When it comes to tech, the MC20 is fitted with the company’s latest MIA multimedia system, powered by an Android Automotive operating system. It’s equipped with Maserati Connect, which provides information on the car’s performance and health, but it also enables you to stay in contact with the car at all times using a smartphone or a smartwatch. Other modern connectivity features include a navigation system with real-time traffic information, Amazon Alexa services, WiFi hotspot, and TIDAL HiFi streaming services. Music streaming goes through either the standard, unbranded six-speaker audio system, or the optional, 12-speaker unit from Sonus Faber.

The MC20 may be a no-nonsense supercar, but it does have a bit of luggage room.

The front compartment will store up to 1.6 cubic feet, while the rear compartment is big enough for 3.6 cubic feet of luggage.

That’s a grand total of 5.2 cubic feet. That’s actually not much when compared to the McLaren GT, which stores 5.3 cubic feet in the front and 14.8 cubic feet in the rear, but the British car is more of a grand tourer. But it’s competitive against the Ferrari F8 Tributo and the Lamborghini Huracan. The Ferrari offers up to seven cubic feet of luggage room, while the Lambo offers around 3.5 cubic feet of space.

Drivetrain

  • 3.0-liter V-6 engine
  • Twin-turbo tech
  • 621 horsepower
  • 538 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds
  • Top speed at 202 mph
  • Eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox
  • All-electric version in the works
2021 Maserati MC20 Interior
- image 934242

Like many automakers out there, Maserati is not only downsizing its engines, but it’s also electrifying its lineup. The MC12 was the final Maserati with a V-12, and it seems that the V-8 engine still available in some models is living its final years.

For the MC20, the Italians created a new V-6 engine. A twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter unit, this V-6 is called the Nettuno, and it cranks out 621 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque.

While the company’s V-8 was co-developed with Ferrari, this V-6 is supposedly 100% Maserati. At least that’s what the company claims. However, it seems that the 3.0-liter unit is heavily related to Ferrari’s F154 V-8 engine, from which Maserati’s V-8 is derived. The V-6 features a long list of new components and technologies, but photos of the unit suggest that it’s based on the Ferrari F154. Also, some components are shared with the 2.9-liter V-6 that Alfa Romeo offers in its Quadrifoglio models, yet another mill derived from the F154.

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934248

But even though it’s not an authentic Maserati design, the 3.0-liter V-6 comes with a few innovative features, including a pre-chamber. Borrowed from Formula One, this is a combustion chamber placed between the central spark plug and the conventional combustion chamber, which is connected by a series of specially shaped holes. It also features a side spark plug to ensure smooth engine combustion and a dual injection system to reduce noise at low rpm, as well as cut emissions and fuel consumption.

How does the Maserati MC20 compare to the MC12?

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934252

You’d be tempted to believe that the MC20 is no match for the MC12, which is powered by a massive 6.0-liter V-12 engine. But the twin-turbo system makes up for the lack of cylinders and displacement. The MC12’s V-12 is rated at 621 horsepower, which puts it on par with the V-6-powered MC20. However, the latter comes with an additional 57 pound-feet of twist, so the MC20 wins the output battle thanks to extra torque.

Maserati MC20 vs Maserati MC12 - specifications
Maserati MC20 Maserati MC12
Engine 3.0-liter V-6,twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12
Horsepower 630 HP 621 HP
Torque 538 LB-FT 481 LB-FT

How fast is the Maserati MC20?

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934249

Maserati says the MC20 hits 62 mph in "less than" 2.9 seconds. Charging from 0 to 124 mph takes "less than" 8.8 seconds. The MC20 will continue to accelerate until it hits a top speed of "over" 202 mph.

2021 Maserati MC20 performance specs
0 to 62 mph <2.9 seconds
0 to 124 mph <8.8 seconds
Top Speed + 202 mph

Is the Maserati MC20 quicker than the MC12?

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934270

It’s actually significantly quicker. With a benchmark of 2.9 seconds to 62 mph, the MC20 is almost a full second quicker than the MC12, rated at 3.8 seconds. The same goes for the 0 to 124 mph sprint, where the MC20 is 1.1 seconds quicker than the MC12, rated at 9.9 seconds. Top speed, on the other hand, is a little lower than the MC12, capable of hitting 205 mph.

How does the Maserati MC20 compare to its rivals

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934265

Despite having almost 100 horsepower less than the Ferrari F8 Tributo, powered by a twin-turbo V-8 (710 horsepower), the MC20 is just as quick from 0 to 62 mph at 2.9 seconds. The Lamborghini Huracan features a naturally aspirated V-10 that’s only slightly more powerful at 630 horsepower and hits 62 mph in 2.9 seconds, just like the Maserati. When it comes to top speed, the MC is just as fast as the Huracan at 202 mph, but the F8 Tributo comes on top at 211 mph.

The Mc20’s twin-turbo V-6 mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The dual-clutch design features six power speeds and two overdrive gears to ensure emissions compliance.

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934243

The supercar features five driving modes, which you can select using the knob on the center tunnel. Each mode is identified by its own color: GT Mode blue, Wet Mode green, Sport Mode red, Corsa Mode yellow, and ESC Off Mode orange.

GT is the default driving mode and is ideal for everyday driving, providing extra comfort through a soft suspension setup and slow and smooth gear changes. Wet mode is obviously suited for wet or damp road surfaces. Because it’s heavily governed by the car’s electronics, it prevents skidding during acceleration or cornering.

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934250

Sport mode is ideal for track use and provides the highest performance in high-traction conditions. If you want a more hardcore experience, Corsa mode will provide it by making traction and stability control less active. ESC Off is similar to Corsa mode, but the traction control system is totally deactivated for a more challenging experience.

The Maserati MC20 will be available with an electric drivetrain

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934268

Maserati confirmed that the MC20 will also be offered as an EV. It did not provide any details, but word has it the electric version will be a tenth-second quicker than the V-6 model and will return more than 200 miles per charge. The electric MC20 could feature a two-motor layout with all-wheel drive.

Suspension and brakes

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934251

The Maserati MC20 features a front suspension with a double-wishbone and semi-virtual steering that’s very compact. This layout also includes two bottom links and one top link. The rear suspension also features the semi-virtual layout, which is a rear setup for a production model. The semi-virtual suspension allows the tire’s contact patch to remain constant while cornering, which enables higher lateral acceleration and improves handling at any speed.

Stopping power comes from Brembo brakes developed specifically for the MC20. The front axle features radial-mounted monobloc, six-piston calipers, while the rear section features four-piston calipers. Both are made from carbon-ceramic alloy for superior stopping power. The wheels come wrapped in bespoke Bridgestone tires tuned for high performance.

The MC20 marks Maserati’s return to racing

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934269

Just like the MC12 did back in the early 2000s, the MC20 marks the brand’s return to racing. The Italian company did say much about it, but the MC20 will probably hit the track as a GT3-spec car in various FIA championships.

How much does the Maserati MC20 cost?

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934238

Pricing information is not yet official, but the MC20 is rumored to cross the pond to the U.S. with a $210,000 sticker. If this proves to be true, the MC20 will be notably more affordable than competitors like the Ferrari F8 Tributo McLaren 720S, both fetching more than $280,000.

It will also be slightly more affordable than the Lamborghini Huracan Evo, priced from around $220,000. Unlike the MC12, which was limited to only 50 units, the MC20 will be a more mainstream vehicle. The supercar market usually moves around 19,000 units per year, and Maserati wants a chunk of that pie. The Maserati M20 will become available in 2021.

Is the Maserati MC20 better than the Ferrari F8 Tributo?

The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Joins Ferrari's Lineup as a Successor to the 488
- image 826522

Back in the MC12 days, Maserati borrowed the underpinnings of the Ferrari Enzo to create its V-12 supercar. Now that Ferrari is no longer part of FCA (and the newly created Stellantis merger with PSA), the companies have gone separate ways. While the MC20 features a twin-turbo V-6, the F8 Tributo comes with a larger, twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 under the hood. This engine packs 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, a notable increase over the MC20. But despite being more powerful, the F8 Tributo is just as quick from 0 to 62, a benchmark it achieves in 2.9 seconds. Its top speed is superior, though, at 211 mph. The F8 Tributo looks notably more aggressive on the outside, so these cars are quite different in terms of design and powertrain. The F8 Tributo also benefits from the bigger Ferrari brand behind it. But it’ also more expensive, coming in at around $280,000.

Read our full review of the Ferrari F8 Tributo

Is the Maserati MC20 better than the McLaren 720S?

2018 McLaren 720S High Resolution Exterior
- image 708563

The 720S falls in line with the Ferrari F8 Tributo. It features a more aggressive exterior design, and it looks very similar to its race-spec version. It also features a twin-turbo V-8 engine, just like the Ferrari. The British-made 4.0-liter mill packs 710 horsepower and 568 horsepower, which is identical to the F8 Tributo and notably more than the Maserati MC20. But just like the Tributo, it boasts more power, but it’s not quicker than the Maserati, needing the same 2.9 seconds to hit 62 mph front a standing start. It is quicker from 0 to 124 mph in 7.8 seconds, and it boasts a higher top speed at 212 mph. But it’s also significantly more expensive than the Italian coupe, fetching $300,000 before options.

Read our full story on the McLaren 720S.

Is the Maserati MC20 better than the Lamborghini Huracan Evo?

2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo
- image 879056

Although it’s powered by a larger, 5.2-liter V-10 engine, the Huracan Evo is closer to the MC20 in terms of power, performance, and looks. While it looks sleeker overall, it’s not quite as aggressive as the Ferraris and the McLarens, so it’s almost as clean as the Maserati. The V-10 cranks out 631 horsepower, only ten horses over the MC20, while torque sits below the Maserati at "only" 443 pound-feet. But sprinting from 0 to 62 takes the same 2.9 seconds, mostly because the Huracan is available with an all-wheel-drive system. Top speed is also identical to the MC20 at 202 mph. Priced from around $220,000, the Huracan Evo is the only supercar on this list that’s not much more expensive than the Maserati MC20.

Read our full review of the Lamborghini Huracan Evo.

Conclusion

2021 Maserati MC20 Exterior
- image 934262

Touted as a successor to the mighty MC12 ever since it was first rumored, the MC20 is actually a completely different kind of supercar. It’s smaller, it features an even smaller V-6 engine, and it’s better suited for every day driving. And even though it comes with a smaller engine with fewer cylinders, it’s actually just as powerful as the MC12 thanks to modern technology. It’s notably quicker too, and it won’t cost as much as a mansion. The MC20 has already received some criticism for looking a bit too dull, but it’s the car that might open a new era for Maserati. Now that Ferrari is no longer part of the FCA group, Maserati is more independent, and it can have its very own supercar. That’s something that did not happen for decades, except for the really short time when the MC12 was sold with Enzo underpinnings. Sure, we could argue how the Ferrari F8 Tributo and the McLaren 720S look aggressive, and the MC20 doesn’t, but sportiness, performance, and aerodynamics aren’t about angular and macho looks. The Maserati MC20 might be that dull looking supercar that takes you by surprise. But we will find out if that’s the case when the first production models hit public roads.

  • Leave it
    • Polarizing exterior design
    • Not as powerful as the competition
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
About the author

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