It was difficult to envision a bright future for Maserati just a couple of years ago. The Italian automaker had only three products in its lineup, with all of them struggling to perform in a competitive market. Although the design was there, the product quality was not. The 590-hp Maserati Levante Trofeo, for instance, finished fifth out of five in a MotorTrend comparison that included the BMW X3 M and X6 M Competition, Mercedes-AMG GLE63S, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe. To say the marque was underperforming was an understatement.
Positive things were happening behind the scenes, however. In 2015, when Ferrari became a publicly traded company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis) had the time and money to focus on the Trident brand, Maserati engineers began developing the “Nettuno” engine that would serve as the heart of its next halo car—the 2022 Maserati MC20, a 621-hp mid-engine supercar.
Relaunching the brand with a supercar wasn’t an easy decision, but it seems to be working. Battling other Italians like the Lamborghini Huracán EVO and even the Ferrari F8 Tributo, the Maserati MC20 looks excellent on paper: It boasts a twin turbo V-6, eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, multilink suspension, Brembo brakes, and a 0-62-mph time of 2.9 seconds, according to Maserati. (We estimate its 0-60 time at 2.7.)
But how does it feel in real life? Is the 2022 Maserati MC20 as good as it looks? Can it really compete against other European supercars? We headed to Willow Springs International Raceway and drove a few laps before heading out to the surrounding public roads to find out.