Author: Jarlath Sweeney Fleet Transportation Magazine
As explained at the Autostyle Design Competition Digital Editions Workshop
If the opportunity arises to visit Modena in Northern Italy be sure to take the Showroom and Factory tour of the Maserati facility. Here, visitors will see all the skills involved in producing most stylish sports cars as well as the opportunity to walk through a century of heritage of the famous brand, bearing the Trident hallmark.
Last September, today’s Maserati family of sports saloons, coupes and SUVs on display welcomed a newcomer with the stunning MC20 GT super sports coupe. Secrets behind the concept and design of the new arrival were explained in detail by Giovanni Ribotta, Exterior Chief Designer at Maserati at the inaugural Autostyle Car Design Competition Digital Design Workshop 2020, hosted on-line from Maserati’s Centro Stile (Design Centre).
Deemed a worthy successor to the MC12, the sports car that marked the brand’s return to racing in 2004, the MC20 heralds the dawn of a new era for Maserati. Such was the significance of the creation of this new super car that its premiere was a memorable three-fold live stream entitled “MMXX: Time to be Audacious”. It was an occasion for celebration, embracing Maserati’s past, present and future, with the MC20 continuing and setting that trend. Produced by FeelRouge Worldwide Shows, this major event was honoured as winner in the Brand Experience and B2C event at the Best Event Awards competition.
According to Giovanni, the MC20 is the Maserati many are waiting for: “It’s the art of fast” – in other words, satisfies ‘the need for speed’. Taking inspiration from the 1956 A6 Grand Turismo range with its timeless design, with pure and simple lines, Giovanni claimed that the MC20 combines performance, sportiness and luxury in the unique Maserati style.
The new MC20 (MC for Maserati Corse and 20 for 2020, is a car with incredible aerodynamic efficiency that’s extremely lightweight (under 1,500 kg (kerb weight). The MC20 design was produced in about 24 months, with the involvement from the outset, in an innovative approach, of a team of Maserati Innovation Lab engineers, technical specialists from the Maserati Engine Lab and designers from the Maserati Style Centre.
He highlighted design methods such as the Virtual Vehicle Dynamics Development system, which includes the use of one of the world’s most advanced dynamic simulators, developed in-house by the Maserati Innovation Lab and based on a complex mathematical model called Virtual Car. This method allowed performance of 97% of dynamic tests, optimising development times. The car was then fine-tuned in the best Maserati tradition with exhaustive track and road test-driving sessions in the most widely varying conditions of use.
The guiding theme of the MC20’S design was the brand’s historic identity, its elegance, performance and luxury comfort levels. For example, the butterfly doors not only enhances the car’s beauty but are also functional, as they improve the car’s ergonomics and provide easy access to and from the cabin.
Giovanni said that the aerodynamics were designed through over two thousand man-hours in the Dallara Wind Tunnel and more than a thousand CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations, which enabled the creation of a genuine work of art. The resulting car has a sleek line, with just a discreet rear spoiler that improves downforce delivering as CX (Cd) rating of under 0.38.
Simple forms, few sharp edges and minimal distractions were the design objectives achieved with the car’s interior. “The driver is always central, and nothing must distract them from the sporting driving experience. Every component has a purpose, and is completely driver-oriented.”
“Two 10 inch screens: one for the driver console and the other for the Maserati Multimedia System (MIA) are surrounded by the carbon fibre-clad dash area, while many controls are on the steering wheel, with the ignition button on the left and the launch control on the right.”
Powering the new MC20, which sports the brand’s revised logo, is a new 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo Nettuno engine, pushing out 630 horsepower with torque values of 730 Nm that delivers 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 2.9 seconds and a top speed over 325 km an hour. Completing this drivetrain is an 8-speed DCT automatic transmission. An engine that signals Maserati’s return to producing its own power units after a hiatus of more than 20 years. Here-to-fore Ferrari blocks were used.
Overall, this revolutionary project has resulted in a car that epitomises Italian excellence. In fact, MC20 was designed in Modena and will be built at the Viale Ciro Menotti plant, where the Trident’s models have been built for more than 80 years. The new production line, created in the spaces where the GranTurismo and GranCabrio models were assembled until November 2019, is now ready for action in the historic plant. The site also features a new paintshop incorporating innovative, environment-friendly technologies. Nettuno will also be built in Modena, at the newly established Maserati Engine Lab.
New MC20 – Made in Italy, to true Italian identity and in keeping to Maserati’s strong tradition.