Someone at Maserati must be a big fan of the former US President, the late Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy. ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far,’ believed Roosevelt. Maserati is fully invested in this philosophy. If other Italian supercar brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini are heavyweight prize fighters who’ve mastered flamboyance and showmanship, Maserati is their quieter, more introspective cousin. Just as hard, as fast, and as capable. Just a bit more understated, that’s all. Established in 1914 in Bologna, Italy, Maserati has had something of a chequered past, with ownership changing hands often, passing from the founding Maserati family to Citroën, to De Tomaso, to Fiat, to Ferrari and now, finally, the Fiat-Chrysler Group. Ownership musical chairs notwithstanding, Maserati kept building some truly fabulous grand touring and sports cars, including the 1960s 3500 GT (and its much rarer cousin, the 5000 GT) and the Ghibli coupe, the 1970s Bora, Merak, Quattroporte, and Khamsin, and the 1980s Biturbo, Karif, and Shamal. Go ahead, Google these names, and you’ll be rewarded with pictures of some stunningly good-looking cars.
While Maserati always focused more on luxury high-performance GT cars (as opposed to all-out supercars in the Ferrari / Lamborghini mould), they did launch the MC12 in 2004, the racing version of which competed in the prestigious FIA GT Championship. The MC12 was loosely based on the Enzo Ferrari, and was powered by a 6.0-litre V12 that made 620 horsepower. The car, only 50 units of which were ever produced for street use, could accelerate from zero to 100kph in 3.8 seconds, and could hit a top speed of 330kph. The MC12 GT1 won the FIA GT Manufacturers Cup in 2005, and Maserati then stopped producing the MC, choosing to focus on their other cars rather than investing millions on building a successor to the MC12.
Until now, that is. The Italian company recently unveiled the MC20, Maserati’s first proper supercar after the MC12. Unlike the MC12, which used a modified version of the Enzo Ferrari’s V12, the MC20 is powered by Maserati’s very own ‘Nettuno’ engine; a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that produces 630 horsepower and 730Nm of torque. Weighing less than 1,500kg, the MC20 can accelerate from zero to 100kph in under 2.9 seconds, and hit a top speed of more than 325kph. And it can stop just as hard, going from 100kph to zero in a span of just 33 metres. Even the fuel economy, at around 9kpl, isn’t really too bad, though we don’t really think too many Maser owners would be bothered about such pedestrian concerns.
Of course, the MC20 isn’t just all go, it’s also oodles of show. And how. With its swing-up butterfly doors, rakish lines and muscular, aggressive stance, this is a properly shouty ‘look at me’ Italian supercar that’ll get you all the attention you crave. That it’s also exceptionally aerodynamic and has a coefficient of drag of less than 0.38 is almost coincidental; for most Maserati owners, the MC20’s stunning beauty and luxurious cabin will be the most important thing, and rightly so. This is a new-age Maserati so, of course, the MC20 features an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (that still transfers power to the rear wheels only, thank god), and a full complement of electronic driver aids, including the latest generation antilock brakes, multi-mode traction control, and stability control etc. Inside, there’s the inevitable ‘infotainment,’ with two 10- inch colour touchscreens, full smartphone connectivity, navigation, WiFi hotspot, Alexa integration, and even a Maserati Connect app that works via smartphone or smartwatch.
Maserati has been officially present in India since 2011, and has plans to ramp up its presence here in the near future. Its entire line-up, including the Ghibli, Levante, Quattroporte and, yes, the MC20, will be available here. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but estimated US pricing is about $200,000 or Rs 1.47 crore. Add import duties to that, and you’re looking at a supercar that certainly won’t be cheap. However, if you’re a bit bored with your Ferrari 458 or Porsche 911 and are looking to get your hands on something that’s newer and a bit more exclusive, maybe you should call your nearest Maserati dealership now.