Any apprehension about pelting a V6-powered model into a segment dominated by engines with eight or more cylinders disappears in the digital rear-view mirror after a jaunt in the hills. While downsizing brings a bag of controversies with it, it also reduces the MC20’s weight and distributes it more evenly—Maserati quotes a 42:58 front-rear weight distribution. Mounting the V6 low in the engine bay and strapping the turbos onto its outer edges (rather than between the two cylinder banks) lowers the center of gravity, helping create what’s undoubtedly the best-balanced car Maserati has ever delivered. If you’re used to the GranTurismo, the MC20 feels like it’s drawn from the depths of the Lotus range.
Steering is the MC20’s best attribute. The system provides a near-superstitious amount of feedback that makes placing the front wheels exactly where you want them a breeze. It’s a quality that’s often lost in modern performance cars, and one that gives the MC20 the ability to run alongside the best in its class.
Brembo designed the braking system, which consists of 15-inch rotors gripped by six-piston calipers on the front axle and 14-inch rotors and four-piston calipers out back. The brakes slow the MC20 with a reassuring “hang on, we got this” attitude; anything less would set off a five-alarm panic in the cabin.
Great steering, a sonorous engine that provides about 310 HP per seat, a well-tuned chassis, and strong brakes are what you want when you’re lead-footing your way to the next town, but these traits become little more than a sideshow if you’re driving the MC20 to buy groceries and a cup of coffee. And, since it’s marketed as an everyday supercar, the odds are high that it will end up in greatly mundane conditions. It can tackle them, too.
Maserati programmed four driving modes called GT, Sport, Corsa, and Wet, respectively. The MC20 always starts in GT; leaving it there keeps the exhaust system relatively quiet and takes some of the edge off of the throttle’s response. Don’t go overboard with the errands, though: there’s one espresso-sized cupholder in the cabin, and trunk space is largely symbolic.
Let loose on the track, the MC20 is in its element. The V6’s nearly lag-free power delivery and the quick, precise steering make it relatively predictable and hugely entertaining to drive. You don’t need to have Lewis Hamilton’s trophy case in your living room to confidently take it on, there’s nothing intimidating about it. The carbon-ceramic brakes in the car Maserati loaned me to drive on the track were worse for the wear after several laps of the Autodromo di Modena, so I can’t comment on their performance.