Here’s how the Maserati MC20 compares to the Maserati MC12
Although Maserati as a brand has been struggling since at least the 90s, their two MC models represent highlights of their recent catalog. The MC12 entered production in 2004 and the MC20 is the brand’s latest and greatest product, with the first deliveries arriving in mid-2021. Both are thoroughbred supercars, a rarity for a brand that typically focuses on GT production.
Their stories are very different, but their missions are remarkably similar: to demonstrate Maserati’s performance capacity and to generate renewed interest in the brand. So far, it seems both have been successful, as the MC12 has made a name for itself as a formidable racing machine and the MC20 has made its debut with strong reviews and public interest. So how do they compare to each other? Let’s break down their specs and development history to see how these two halo cars stack up against each other.
The MC12 was originally designed out of necessity, as Maserati wanted to compete in the FIA GT Championship and had to manufacture something that met the homologation rules for this series. Thus, the MC12 was born, and it was based on the chassis of the Ferrari Enzo. Originally only 25 cars were to be built, but customer demand meant 50 units ended up being delivered.
In comparison, the MC20 was developed to fend off Maserati’s declining reputation, as models like the GranTurismo and Ghibli hadn’t garnered much interest from buyers and enthusiasts in general. It is the first mass-produced supercar by Maserati, and it was built almost entirely in-house. The brand seems to want the MC20 in the long term, as it has said it plans to make both electric and spider versions in the future.
The MC12 borrows the engine from the Enzo, a 6.0-liter V12 which at Ferrari set the record for the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in a production car. In the MC12, it was a bit tame, producing 621 hp versus 650 hp for the Enzo. That’s enough to propel the car from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, and it gives the MC12 a top speed of 205 mph.
The MC20’s engine is the first in more than twenty years to be developed in-house by Maserati, although it shares some similarities with the Ferrari F154 and Alfa Romeo 690T engines. It’s a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, and it makes the same horsepower figure as the MC12, at 621 hp. It comes out of blocks faster than its predecessor, managing a 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds. But, its top speed is a fraction slower, at 202 mph.
In addition to taking its engine, the MC12 also took the chassis of the Enzo. It is a true copy of the Ferrari, without any real modification. Oddly enough, the MC12 is actually much longer, wider, and taller than the Enzo, despite their common underpinnings.
Part of Maserati’s renewed drive to do things its own way was to ensure that the MC20’s chassis was designed entirely for its car. They teamed up with racing company Dallara to design a carbon fiber tub with aluminum sub-frames, to keep weight to a minimum.
Most of the design of the MC12 was done by Frank Stephenson, a senior official in the Maserati-Ferrari design partnership at the time. The original shape, however, was developed from an idea by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the legendary designer who had previously written other Maseratis such as the Merak and Bora. Development prototypes went through thousands of hours of wind tunnel testing, to ensure that every surface was optimized for the best aerodynamics possible.
In comparison, the MC20 was designed in a rather different way. It was drafted by Klaus Busse of the central design department of parent company Fiat-Chrysler, then transferred to Maserati’s innovation lab for thousands of hours of virtual testing. Maserati estimates that 97% of the car’s design and development process has been completed virtually, with actual prototypes and wind tunnel testing representing only the final tweaks.
Created for racing, the MC12 had a laser-focused briefing, which shaped its handling. It was originally a GT1 car, although it was road legal for homologation purposes. It was perfect for smooth, twisty roads, as testers reported its handling to be consistent and precise at high speeds. Everything outside of that, however, the car struggled with.
The MC20 had to be more versatile than its predecessor, because it is a supercar specially designed for the roads and not the track. Early reviews of the car praised its refined nature when driving at daily speeds, and it’s apparently a surprisingly comfortable cruising car, too. Still, it still feels responsive when pushed hard, with its four drive modes meaning drivers can configure the car’s setup to suit the road at hand.
It was in competitive racing that the MC12 really shone, as it became the most successful GT1 car of its time. It was so good that the factory racing team pulled out the unbeaten car, with 5 teams and 4 drivers’ championship titles.
Maserati has announced plans to participate in the MC20 race, but so far there has been no news on which series they will be competing in. Whatever they do, it’s fair to say that the new supercar has some really chunky shoes to fill if it is to live up to its older brother’s reputation.
It might be a race car for the road, but the interior of the MC12 is surprisingly luxurious. It is made from a blend of gel coated carbon fiber, leather, and a synthetic material called Brightex. It makes for a very comfortable interior, even if its racing pedigree shines in places. There’s no radio, rear visibility is almost nonexistent, and the center console features unsightly plastic buttons and switches.
The MC20, on the other hand, was designed for everyday use, so it comes with the latest features like a full infotainment system and integrated streaming from TIDAL. The seats are courtesy of Sabelt and they would be extremely comfortable even on long journeys. Like the MC12, there’s plenty of carbon fiber and leather, but there’s also some soft-touch suede for good measure.
Being a limited-edition special race, the MC12 was always going to cost a fortune. It came with a price tag of $ 670,000 in 2004, but today it’s even more expensive to buy. The MC12s go on sale very rarely, but one sold in 2018 at auction for $ 2,462,306.
Buying an MC20 is much easier because all a buyer has to do is go to the nearest Maserati dealership and note the asking price of $ 213,000. It’s not a good deal, but it’s certainly a lot more accessible than an MC12, especially since there is no limit on the production numbers of the MC20.
Being such a racing-oriented car, the MC12 received its fair share of criticism from critics upon its launch. Many said they didn’t like the lack of a rear window, trunk, or audio system in the car, especially considering the car’s insane price tag. However, owners and reviewers have praised its handling and dynamics, especially the fact that it is more forgiving to drive than its sibling, the Enzo.
It’s too early to say exactly what reception the MC20 will have, but reviewers who have successfully piloted pre-production models have been generally very impressed. They specifically pointed out how versatile the car is, which certainly can’t be said about the MC12.
Driving an MC12 on a daily basis is almost impossible, thanks to its lack of practicality as mentioned above. Its large size and restricted view to the driver also makes it very difficult to park, so it is unlikely to be seen much outside of selected collector’s garages and auto shows.
The MC20, on the other hand, could very well be driven on a daily basis, at least as much as any other modern supercar. It’s comfortable, easy to drive and there’s 147 liters of trunk, it’s not a lot but it’s 147 liters more than in an MC12. Hopefully at least a few new MC20 owners decide to drive their car, as there are a lot of enthusiasts out there who can’t wait to see one hit the road in real life.
Maserati’s sports cars are associated with Italian prestige and luxury, but they are also notoriously prone to depreciation, making them good used bargains.
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