Brian Joss – With the MC20, Maserati returns to a stage where it has always starred, that of Supercars that combine luxury and performance with the unique Maserati Style.
The MC20 is a Maserati with mind-blowing aerodynamic efficiency. Its superb looks conceal an uncompromisingly sporty soul, with the new 630 horsepower (463 kW) V6 Nettuno engine that delivers 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 2,9 seconds and a top speed over 325 km an hour. A patented, 100% Maserati engine, benefiting from the MTC (Maserati Twin Combustion) technology, the innovative combustion system developed by the Brand, evolved from the pre-chamber technology used on Formula 1 powertrains. Conceived, designed and built entirely in-house.
MC20 is a Maserati built to stun, a Maserati that can storm round the track but also perform superlatively on the road, with excellent driveability, comfort and safety, in an interior where efficiency combines with the luxury and exclusiveness integral to all the Brand’s models.
MC20 was designed in Modena and will be built at the site where the marque’s models have been born for 80 years. A new production line has been created at Viale Ciro Menotti, in the area where the GranTurismo and GranCabrio cars used to be assembled, and completed with a completely new painting plant.
The project began in January 2019.
The MC20 is particularly light under 1.500 kg, and thanks to its power output of 630 hp (463 kW) it is best in class in weight/power ratio, at 2.33 kg/hp. This light weight was achieved without sacrificing anything in terms of comfort. The MC20 has all the contents cars of this type must have today to satisfy a sporty yet sophisticated clientele, looking not only for performance but also for comfort and luxury. So a great deal of work was done on the materials. The entire chassis is in carbon fibre and composites, with the benefits of lighter weight, faster tool-go times and greater stylistic freedom in the design of forms. Carbon fibre enables the creation of shapes impossible with press-formed metal. The butterfly doors are a very obvious example.
Over two thousand man-hours in the Dallara Wind Tunnel and more than a thousand CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations have enabled the creation of a car with refined aerodynamics which is also a genuine work of art.
Conceptually, the MC20’s aerodynamic design divides the car into two parts:
an upper part where stylistic considerations predominate and a more technical lower part, colour-coded in black and carbon fibre respectively.
In the car’s upper section, the forms respond primarily to aesthetic priorities and the aerodynamic features are amalgamated into the lines conceived by the designers, to achieve high efficiency without interfering with the sleek, elegant bodywork.
The air vents on the bonnet and those at the side that provide the engine’s air intake and cool the intercooler are thus “natural” features, virtually invisible when the car is viewed from some angles.
What’s more, there are no obvious aerodynamic appendages: just a discreet rear spoiler that enhances the up-washing generated by the floor and enhances the downforce with no detriment to the car’s great beauty.
In the lower part of the MC20, on the other hand, the technical component takes control.
The front air ducts have been optimised to ensure efficient air distribution across the radiators and the car’s floor and upper part. Special attention was also taken over the correct management of heat flows.
The floor is completely encased and was the subject of complex design analyses to maximise the car’s aerodynamic efficiency.
Its front incorporates an elaborate system of vortex generators, rendered even more effective by the distinctive hump shape of the floor, which gradually rises in the centre, in the area level with the wheels, to increase the air flow to these devices, before reconnecting to the chassis bed.
The venting channel in the area behind the front wheel starts near the point where the hump reaches its greatest extent and continues right along the side, generating a considerable vertical load in line with the front axle due to the expulsion of the air flowing from the bottom and the wheel arch.
The incorporation of this highly racing-derived feature implied a special conformation for the carbon fibre monocoque, the wheel arch and the doors, as was also the previously case on the MC12.
The door sill air ducts, located immediately in front of the rear wheels in a zone with natural overpressure, enable the necessary air flow through the engine compartment without impacting resistance.
To conclude, the rear part of the floor of the car includes a large diffuser, with channels of different depths and optimised vertical spoilers that exploit the pressure differences between the various sections to generate vortices and energise the air flow.
Thanks to the almost obsessive care taken over the development of all these features, and the ceaseless hard work to integrate technical factors with aesthetic demands, the MC20 generates a high aerodynamic load with an excellent drag, enabling it to reach top speeds over 325 km/h and continue to hug the ground in all conditions of use.
The top speed is over 325 km/h with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2,9 seconds and from 0 to 200 km/h in less than 8.8 seconds.
The monocoque, in composite material, is a concentrate of technology and performance. The design of the carbon fibre monocoque has been achieved through the partnership between Maserati and Dallara, both leaders in the design and construction of racing sports cars.
The monocoque has been developed from the outset for all three types of car to be produced in the coming years: the coupé, the convertible and the future electric version. The monocoque’s architecture and geometry are the same for all three versions, but differ in the distribution of the carbon fibres and layers, to provide monocoques with different structural characteristics for the three different types of car: the focus for the coupé will be on light weight and performance; the convertible demands greater torsional rigidity due to the absence of a roof; and the electric version will have more overall strength and enhanced protection for the battery area. Therefore, a single design embraces three versions, through changes only in the type, quantity and arrangement of the carbon fibres.
The 630 horsepower 90° V 6 cylinder 3,000 cc turbo engine, called the “Nettuno”, is absolutely new and protected by an international patent, because it transfers to a road car a technology previously only found in Formula 1. It is an engine 100% made in Modena, and currently the highest-powered 6-cylinder powerplant in production. Designed component by component by the engine specialists of the Maserati technical department with constant support from the Modena Innovation Lab, it has the most advanced technology of any road-car engine on today’s market.
The automatic transmission is an 8-speed oil-immersed Dual Clutch design with 6 power and two overdrive speeds to ensure emissions compliance.
Maserati said that 97% of the car’s development was performed virtually, using the system known as Virtual Vehicle Dynamics Development, developed by Maserati itself and based on a very complex mathematical model called Virtual Car, into which every conceivable parameter is entered (the engineers assure us that it can also take what the driver had for breakfast into account).
Virtual development reduces delivery times and allows the optimal technical solution to be identified faster and with lower costs. For example, it is possible to assess 3 different shock absorber solutions and thus choose the most suitable within a short period of time.
The final tuning, however, takes place on the track and on the Apennine mountain roads above Modena, which have always been the Maserati proving grounds.
CAPTION: Coming your way soon: the Maserati MC20 Maserati unveiled the MC20, an engineering and styling masterpiece that opens a new era for the Trident brand.