John Whittle gets up close and personal with the new Maserati MC20 (in pre-production form) in Johannesburg…
In the March 2021 issue of CAR magazine, contributor George Kacher drives Maserati’s new supercar, the MC20. It’s not too often the world is blessed with a box-fresh “Mazza”, let alone a full-blown supercar, so it goes without saying then the MC20’s presence in South Africa for a spot of hot-weather testing certainly caused quite a stir.
Fresh from testing, with its bug mask only just removed and a smattering of yellow wiring and test equipment festooning the interior, we were granted a last-minute viewing with the MC20 just before it headed back to Modena. Apparently, the plan was for testing to be done under the radar, but within moments of it landing at OR Tambo International airport, images were all over Instagram and the proverbial cat was now bagless. A few smart decisions later, it was agreed that the team were to scrap the covert element of the mission and rather capitalise on the vehicle’s time in SA in order to gather as much hot-weather data as possible.
Its presence at Maserati Johannesburg also gave both potential and confirmed customers a chance to see the car before they take delivery or place orders, a useful sales opportunity if you will.
More than 10 000 km were racked up on this particular mule on local soil, a fair amount of mileage especially when one considers temperatures north of 40 degrees Celsius out in the Kalahari and along the never-ending stretches of sweltering tarmac near Upington.
It was also mentioned the tests were conducted by a German firm, subcontracted by Maserati. The German engineers were said to have been impressed by just how comfortable and spacious the cabin is, especially at high speed. Off the record, they were even noted as having said high-speed stability was on par with the best of the segment, if not better – that’s no small claim, then. From first-hand experience, the same can also be said of the MC20’s fit and finish, even though this is a pre-production unit.
Order books are open and local interest has apparently been high – each of the units earmarked for SA thus far is bespoke, with white and black apparently being the firm favourite exterior colours. The MC20 also heralds a new era for Maserati bespoke customisation with the Fuoriserie programme – think Q by Aston Martin, Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and BMW Individual. Ultimately to be rolled out across the Maserati range, this programme allows customers a higher level of customisation for their vehicles.
Customer Maserati MC20s will make landfall by the end of October 2021, with an assurance from Maserati’s headquarters that whatever local demand for the MC20 will be met.
ETA: Q3/Q4 2021
Price: R5.5-million estimated
Engine: twinturbo-petrol 3,0-litre V6
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch
Power: 463 kW
Torque: 730 Nm
0-100 km/h: 2.9 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 325 km/h