Maserati MC20 Cielo 2023 UK first drive

With the roof down, the Cielo gives you a closer listen to Maserati’s Nettuno V6 engine, of course – and, at times, a slightly greater appreciation of it than the coupé. The whoosh of the turbos, the tappetty thrash of the valve gear, and the slightly flat drone of the combustion itself remain a little underwhelming when you’re only bumbling along. The gearbox’s preference for lots of upshifts and low cruising revs when you leave it in automatic mode don’t help build much drama, either. Frankly, a Maserati supercar really ought to sound sweeter. But let the engine rev a bit and that toneless hum becomes a more waspish buzz beyond 5000rpm, which is much more agreeable and exciting on the ear.

More widely, the Cielo’s driving experience is characterised by fluency and lightness of touch. It’s an unusual way of doing things for a 600-horsepower mid-engined supercar, but it makes the MC20 particularly compatible with craggy British B-roads, which it rides compliantly even in its sportier driving modes. It feels rigid over bumps too. Roof-down touring at everyday speeds is comfortable, enriched by the admission of more of the sights, sounds and smells of the outside world than the coupé would manage.

The car could do with sharper responses and a firmer feel in some respects. While it rides well, there’s more than a hint of over-assistance and a lack of useful definition to the feel of both steering and brake pedal – while the shift speed of the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox is only as quick as it ought to be if you drive the car in Corse (track) mode.

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