The sun beats down on the roads of Catania as the peaceful silence is interrupted by the high-revving V6 engine of the new Maserati MC20 Cielo – the Italian marque’s latest convertible sports car.
As you cruise through the Sicilian countryside, peeling back the roof of the Maserati takes only 12 seconds at speeds of up to 50 kilometres an hour. The electric-powered rigid roof is a technical triumph made of glass and covered by a layer of polymer-dispersed liquid crystal. The film allows the roof to change from clear to opaque and back again at the touch of a button, giving the new Maserati its name – Cielo being Italian for “sky”.
The convertible has a hard act to follow with its sibling, the 2020-released MC20 coupe – Maserati’s first supercar in 15 years – winning the coveted 2021 Red Dot award for best product design.
With the roof folded into the rear, the convertible MC20 manages to maintain the same boot capacity as the coupe, without sacrificing style. It was German designer Nikolai Schröck who made the alterations required for the Cielo convertible. Schröck had to redesign the rear of the MC20 to make space for the folded roof to lie sandwiched between a flip-up external cover and the car’s mid-mounted engine.
An increase in the visual weight of the car’s rear was unavoidable but the designer’s skilful shaping of the cover and rear fender does not diminish the Cielo’s beauty.
Beneath the MC20 Cielo’s curved exterior comes the exact same twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 as the coupe. This Maserati-designed engine is made in Modena, close to the MC20 assembly line, and employs Formula 1-style combustion technology to deliver a hefty 463 kilowatts at a soaring 7500 revs per minute. Those numbers place the Maserati in the elite group of cars capable of accelerating 0-100 kilometres per hour in under three seconds.
The engine – named the Nettuno for ancient Rome’s trident-toting god – drives
the rear wheels through an eight-speed double-clutch transmission. If the V6’s exhaust note can’t be heard when drivingroof-up, lowering the cabin’s small back window brings the noise.You drive a Maserati for the drama. Butterfly doors flick up, opening to a leather and carbon-fibre interior that oozes Italian-style and wears craftsmanship on its sleeve.
While low-slung supercars are notoriously difficult to see out of, Maserati has installed a lever on the interior rear-view mirror that switches to a display of the perfect view, provided by a back-mounted camera.
Driving the MC20 Cielo on sinuous Sicilian roads is pure joy. Maserati’s chassis engineers have given this convertible a relaxed athleticism courtesy of a lightweight carbon-fibre central monocoque body structure.
The supercar moves easily around corners, barely affected by the 65 kilogram weight increase compared to the coupe. In default GT driving mode, the MC20 Cielo is an easygoing and remarkably smooth-driving car. However, when you turn the driving mode dial to Sport, the Maserati instantly becomes fiercer and more focused.