The last couple decades haven't been the best ones in Maserati's history. A long time ago, the Trident-branded Italian carmaker was renowned as a purveyor of sporty, luxurious cars worthy of commemoration in song; its sports cars, gran turismos and sedans were sleek, elegant machines that drew stares and induced drooling. Since the 1980s, though, the brand has seemed a bit meandering. Its purchase by Fiat has left it without an obvious role — sandwiched between Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, never quite clear on whether it should be a purveyor of exotica or a mainstream luxury automaker.
Revealed Wednesday in a trans-Atlantic dual presentation, the MC20 is Maserati's return to the world of true super sports cars — a mid-engined, carbon fiber-bodied rival for the likes of the Audi R8, Porsche 911 Turbo S, McLaren 570S, Acura NSX — and perhaps even the Ferrari F8 Tributo. The heart of any sports car is its powerplant, and the MC20 has one that puts race horses to shame: a brand-new, in-house-developed twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 the brand calls "Nettuno" that pumps out 621 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque, connected to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual clutch gearbox.
That said, the MC20 also has an eye on the future. Like all forthcoming Maseratis — and there'll be plenty, with brand representatives claiming a new vehicle every six months or so for the next four or five years — the new sports car has also been designed to use an all-electric powertrain. The details of that EV version remain TBA, but considering it seems likely to be a dual-motor AWD affair, we're guessing it'll be able to beat the gas-powered Mc20's quoted 2.9-second 0-60 mph blast.
Making these powertrain choices possible: the carbon fiber chassis developed specifically for MC20 use in conjunction with racing constructor Dallara. (In case you were wondering: yes, the MC20 will also be going racing, though details about that remain to be revealed.) The design, however, is pure Maserati, penned in-house and featuring an elegant melange of soft and hard forms. In person, there are hints of the Alfa Romeo 4C around the B-pillars from the side view and a sight resemblance to the Pininfarina Battista from the rear, but overall, it's an elegant, slippery shape that looks very much like a Maserati above all else.
Inside, the Mc20 boasts a simple (by modern car standards) interior that's clearly designed to help the driver concentrate on, well, driving. There's a pair of 10.25-inch screens — one behind the wheel that serves as the instrument panel, and a second one on the dash that controls the infotainment — but the physical controls are all there in service of the drive. The big selector wheel at the head of the center console controls the drive modes; meanwhile, launch control is brought online via a massive, dedicated button on the steering wheel.
The MC20 will hit the streets next year, but the order books are open now, should you be so inclined as to want one ASAP. The base price is roughly $210,000, according to Maserati; of course, there'll be opportunities to customize it and drive that up a ways, but all the delicious performance and style should be there at the base price.