With the vast amounts of engineering and marketing money being lobbed at electric powertrains, you’d be forgiven for thinking the internal combustion engine is already on its way out. Despite how it might seem, though, ICE has plenty of life left in it yet, as evidenced by Maserati making an all-new powerplant running on the good old-fashioned suck, squeeze, bang blow.
What’s more, it’s a doozy. It’s called the ‘Nettuno’ - named after a trident-wielding statue of Roman god Neptune in Bologna which originally inspired Maserati’s logo. The new unit is a 3.0-litre 90-degree twin-turbo V6, made from scratch by Maserati in Modena. The Italian company’s current V6, you might remember, is assembled around a Chrysler-derived block by Ferrari.
It’s significantly more potent than the company’s existing six-banger, too, and higher revving. It develops 613bhp at 7500rpm and will keep spinning until 8000rpm. Peak torque of 538lb ft is available from 3000rpm.
What Maserati is most keen on shouting about is the F1-derived, twin-spark pre-chamber combustion system. This, in Masers words, “is set between the central electrode and the traditional combustion chamber and connected by a series of specially-designed holes”.
Nettuno also gets a 350bar twin injection system, and a dry-sump lubrication system to keep the oil supply nice and constant even when the unit is subjected to punishing lateral G-forces.
It’s that last element which is key to the engine’s intended use. Nettuno is destined for the almost certainly mid-engined MC20, which Maserati describes as a “super sportscar”. Given the power it’ll be packing, we think simply “supercar” will be appropriate enough.
Beyond the new engine stats and that there may also be an electric powertrain available, we don’t know a whole lot about the MC20. It was supposed to be revealed in May, before Coronavirus forced Maserati to postpone the grand unveiling to 9 September.