Best of both worlds: Maserati MC20 Cielo
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Best of both worlds: Maserati MC20 Cielo

By GoAuto - 22 June 2022


Maserati usually takes a more subtle approach to its cars than stablemate Ferrari.

But that perception went out the window with the impending arrival of the Maserati MC20 Cielo, a “spyder” style two-door, two-seater sports coupe with a retractable glass roof.

So, does that make it a convertible, a roadster, a spyder or a drop-top GT coupe? It’s a difficult call, but one that is ultimately irrelevant because this car speaks for itself – in a tone that would be called ‘loud’.

MC20 Cielo gives immersive driving experience

If the high-pitched exhaust note doesn’t do the trick, then the sleek, assertive styling will certainly stop people in the street.

Maserati’s latest offering (due in showrooms early next year) comes with an enviable sports/performance car pedigree stretching back decades. And in the MC20 Cielo, it would seem the company has extended itself to a new level.

Technology abounds in the low slung, two-seater starting from the retractable glass roof that can be changed from clear to opaque or retracted at the touch of a button.

It then runs through the butterfly doors, through the carbon fibre monocoque chassis to the extraordinarily powerful 3.0-litre, V6, mid-mounted engine. The latter point alone is unusual for Maserati which favours front mounted engines.

But the MC20 Cielo isn’t really a GT car in the usual Maserati style, it’s an in-your-face sports convertible that is edging ever closer to Ferrari, even in the styling department.

Adding to its allure is the level of personalisation (options) available to buyers through the Fuoriserie program. Like Ferrari, within certain parameters, everything from the exterior colour to the upholstery and wheels can be selected in any combination to make your MC20 Cielo “unique.”

MC20 Cielo can be customised through Maserati’s Fuoriserie program

Maserati says the Cielo offers unrivalled performance and an immersive driving experience thanks to new standard features and options. We would have to agree with that... the best of both worlds with closed and open roof driving, GT car distance capability, high-end luxury and impeccable build quality. But you pay…. $528,000 thank you. The price in New Zealand is $53,000 less.

Standard features include carbon fibre engine cover, and an Alcantara sports steering wheel with carbon fibre inserts and a new blue starter button which will be Maserati’s new benchmark to distinguish the sportier and more aggressive versions.

If the standard alloys don’t float your boat, then you can always option up to the new 20-inch carbon fibre wheels that save around 30kgs weight so you can go faster (than 320km/h?).

A comprehensive ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) option is available on MC20 Cielo including Automated Emergency Braking with Pedestrian/Cyclist Recognition, 360-degree Surround View Camera, Blind Spot and Rear Cross Path Alert, Auto-dimming Exterior Mirrors and Traffic Sign Information.

The car scores a Drive Mode Selector operated by a metallic bezel selector surrounding a small round screen. It offers five modes: WET, GT, SPORT, CORSA and ESC OFF. Corsa offers maximum boost and maximum power. This read-out brings the screen count to three in the MC20 together with the 10.25-inch instrument cluster and the 10.25-inch central screen.

Initial Australian allocation sold out in hours but more coming

Both hard top and convertible variants of the 2023 MC20 include a comprehensive maintenance program for three years covering all servicing requirements.

Inside the launch edition of the Cielo is a light colour palette featuring the use of ice-coloured Alcantara and leather. Below the dash, the ice-coloured door panels and seats enhance the finishes and contribute to a visual lightness of the car in comparison to the standard version, which retains a black leather interior. The trident on the headrest can be embroidered by hand as an optional extra.

Inside is designed for function as much as for style and is almost minimalist in layout. Everything is streamlined with instrumentation slanted slightly towards the driver.

The centre tunnel is plain with no unnecessary ornamentation. It includes only the drive mode selector, two buttons for the gears, the power window controls and the infotainment volume control, and a space for a smartphone with wireless charging pad. All the other controls are located on the steering wheel, with the ignition button on the left and the launch control on the right.

The interior is attractively styled with matte finish carbon-fibre bringing all elements together while a blue engine start button resides on the Alcantara-clad sports steering wheel.

The large paddle shifters set into the steering column are available in dark aluminium in the standard configuration, or in carbon-fibre as part of the carbon-fibre interior package. Electrical steering wheel adjustment is optional.

The interior is skilfully styled with carbon fibre to act as a meeting point for lifestyle, performance and engineering

Under the rear bonnet resides a potent engine of just 3.0-litres capacity. This unit is the so-called Nettuno that appeared first in the MC20 coupe.

Nettuno is, we are told, the result of Maserati engineering in its own right though other vehicles in the group share a similar spec’ engine. It is a 90-degree, petrol V6, twin-turbo delivering some 463kW at 7500rpm and 730Nm from as low as 3000rpm.

The dry sump engine is a compact design thanks to the remote oil reservoir and wide cylinder bank spacing. It pays dividends in terms of lowering centre of gravity and tight packaging that in turn allows a low belt line and low ride height for aerodynamic benefits.

The specific power output is 155kW/litre, the compression ratio is 11:1 while bore and stroke are 88mm and 82mm respectively… an under square design designed for high revolutions.

Nettuno V6 is a 3.0-litre, twin-turbo with a dry sump capable of 463kW and 730Nm

Inside this engine is an innovative pre-chamber combustion system featuring twin spark plugs. This technology is derived from Formula 1 and is now available for the first time on an engine destined for the road.

MC20 Cielo has a double-wishbone suspension system with active shock absorbers. The short spindle semi-virtual double-wishbone layout is used on both the front and rear axles. This suspension type ensures the best performance in terms of handling and ride comfort.

The semi-virtual double-wishbone assembly on the front axle guarantees the best control of the steering wheel and the highest degree of steering precision, and it cushions the vibrations transmitted from the road to the steering wheel, to guarantee better overall driver comfort. All the components are made of forged aluminium for optimal weight savings.

The automatic transmission is an eight-speed oil-immersed dual-clutch design with six power and two overdrive speeds to ensure emissions compliance.

A worthwhile option would be the variable height suspension to raise the vehicle when running at low speeds, increasing ground clearance when traversing obstacles such as speed bumps or very steep inclines.

Maserati’s stunning MC20 Cielo will arrive in Australia in the first quarter 2023.

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