The Maserati MC20 Is Slower Than the MC12 at the Nurburgring Nordschleife

Manufactured at the assembly plant where the Alfa Romeo 4C used to be made, the V6-powered MC20 is Maserati's first series-production vehicle with a mid-engine layout after the fabulous MC12. The spiritual predecessor of the MC20 rolled out in 2004, which is nearly two decades ago. Despite being this old, the Ferrari Enzo's more exotic twin soldiers on as the quickest Maserati at the Nurburgring.
Maserati MC20 Nurburgring Nordschleife hot lap 11 photos
Photo: Sport Auto / edited
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With test driver Christian Gebhardt behind the wheel, a bone-stock MC20 equipped with Bridgestone Potenza Sport rubber boots lapped the Nordschleife in a respectable 7:25.26 on July 19 at half past 18:00. As you can tell from the footage uploaded by German motoring publication Sport Auto on YouTube, weather conditions were perfect for driving the Italian supercar as quickly as humanly possible.

Somewhat disappointing for the most performance-oriented Maserati in production today, the MC20 isn't as quick as the MC12 at the most challenging racetrack in the world. A lovely chap by the name of Marc Basseng clocked 7:24.29 in the V12-powered icon back in 2008. Given that tire technology wasn't as advanced as today, his lap time is all the more impressive. What's more, Basseng recorded 7:25.21 in the Ferrari Enzo, meaning that the MC20 is a tad slower at the Green Hell than the Enzo as well.

The MC in MC20 stands for Maserati Corse, as in Maserati Race to us English speakers. The House of the Trident waxes lyrical about the GT2 racing version and the MCXtrema track-only derivative, but in light of the MC20's result at the Nurburgring, the Italian marque should dig into some humble pie.

Looking at the bigger picture, lap times will hardly convince a prospective customer to pick something different over the MC20. Pricing and the less tangible stuff like induction and exhaust sounds do matter, and the MC20 is pretty weak in both regards. While it may be thoroughly exotic due to its badge and rather limited production figures, the MC20 is too expensive and too uninspiring compared to direct rivals.

Maserati MC20 Nurburgring Nordschleife hot lap
Photo: Sport Auto on YouTube
The criticism doesn't end there, though, because the Tremec-supplied transaxle is the very same dual-clutch transaxle found in the midship 'Vette. Even the standard mechanical diff and the optional electronic diff are shared with the C8, which is a bit underwhelming. You can further add uncanny because Ferrari uses an eight-speed transmission supplied by Magna rather than the folk at Tremec.

Another point of contention is Maserati claiming that its 3.0-liter Nettuno V6 is 100 percent Maserati by design. The truth of the matter is, only the cylinder heads can be considered Maserati-specific parts. The firing order is identical to the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio-spec V6, which is based on the F154 twin-turbo V8 from Ferrari. The 90-degree V angle, the arrangement of the cooling passages, bore, stroke, oil filter housing, and oil filter mounting pattern also indicate a ton of technical assistance from Ferrari.

Be that as it may, it would be an oversimplification to call the Nettuno V6 an F154 with two cylinders loped off and unique heads. The heads further sweeten the deal with pre-chamber ignition, a Formula 1-inspired technology that helps the twin-turbo sixer develop more power more efficiently.

Think 630 ps (make that 621 hp) at 7,500 revolutions per minute and 730 Nm (538 lb-ft) at 3,000 through 5,500 revolutions per minute. By comparison, the naturally-aspirated V12 of the MC12 produces the very same power at the very same engine speed. As for peak torque, Maserati advertised the MC12 with 652 Nm (481 lb-ft) at 5,500 revolutions per minute.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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