I do not consider myself a terrible person.
I open doors for the elderly. I say “bless you” whenever someone sneezes. I lower the toilet seat.
However, I recently discovered that behind my socialised persona hides a dark (and frankly shameful) trait: certain voices antagonise me.
I do not mean to say ‘irk’, or merely ‘frustrate’. No, ‘antagonise’ is most certainly the aptest word.
There was a lecturer in my undergraduate years at university who was absolutely benign. A gifted teacher and all-round good bloke, you could not fault the guy.
Nevertheless, every time he opened his mouth I found myself suddenly overcome with an almost overwhelming desire to hack my ears off with my biro.
Why? It was his voice.
Somehow both toneless and grating, his voice evoked such bloodlust in me that I considered dropping the subject entirely.
Do not for a moment think I am proud of this. I am not. It is an utterly ridiculous idiosyncrasy. Alas, it is the truth.
It does not matter if you are the human equivalent of a golden retriever and imbued with a delightful personality. If you have a voice that brings to mind images of someone repeatedly dragging their nails across a blackboard, then we cannot be friends.
And the same goes for cars.
Yes, cars. Y’know, those things with four wheels and a steering wheel.
I know what a car is, you twat. I was wondering if you meant to generalise and say the same goes for ALL cars?
Ah, I see. Yes, I meant to generalise.
Sound matters. The sound a car makes can be the difference between handing over a substantial cheque and walking away empty-handed.
Though I suspect it matters more to owners in the market for a supercar.
The traditional ICE-powered supercar is renowned for three things: speed, looks, and noise. If such a car fails to deliver on any one of those fronts, then it has failed.
I mean, what is the point of having a bellowing 621hp, twin-turbocharged V6 if you cannot hear the darn thing?
That was oddly specific.
It was intentional.
Having seen (and heard) footage of the Maserati's "100% Italian" super sports car, the MC20, being driven in anger, I could not be more underwhelmed.
Who hurt you? Can’t you just be happy that there’s another Maserati supercar in the world?
I refuse to lower my expectations in the name of nostalgia. If Maserati is willing to describe this as “a worthy successor” to the legendary MC12, then it should be analysed as such.
Remind me what an MC12 is?
Spun off the Ferrari Enzo’s platform, the MC12 was developed to homologate the FIA GT race car that was set to end Maserati’s thirty-seven-year racing hiatus.
The first thing that strikes you about the MC12 is its size. Stretching 5,143 mm nose to tail and 2,096 mm across, it is utterly expansive. And low. Standing at 1,205 mm at its tallest point, it barely reaches your hip.
Snore. Tell me about the engine.
The engine itself is epic. Absolutely mega. It’s a naturally aspirated V12 that boasts 465kW, 653Nm, and a 7,800rpm redline. On the road, this translates to 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds, 0-200km/h in under 10, and a maximum speed of 330km/h. Back in 2004, it must have been terrifying.
That said, despite its breakneck speed, it is the noise that defines the MC12 experience. An aggressive, almost primal howl, the noise emitted from the MC12 hark back to an era when driving supercars was a properly dicy experience. It sounds raw. It sounds ravenous. It sounds undeniably alive.
The new MC20 could not be more different.
What do you mean?
The MC20 does not sound alive when ragged. It sounds muffled, gruff, almost as if it is shouting through a wet blanket.
It’s an industrial noise, sharing more sonic commonalities with a vacuum than its roaring predecessor.
Will owners care?
You know something is wrong when your brand’s SUV sounds better than your halo supercar.
I bet the MC20 is quicker though.
Congratulations, you are a genius…
I mean, what sort of statement is that? Of course, it’s quicker than a 2100kg+ SUV. I thought that went without saying.
Sorry. How quick is it, then?
With 463kW and 730Nm, the MC20 doesn’t exactly hang about.
The headline figures are 0-100km/h in under 2.9 seconds, 0-200km/h in under 8.8, and a top speed in excess of 325km/h.
I’d say that’s quick enough.
Brisk. How much are they asking for it?
Maserati announced that the MC20 will start at AUD$438,000 (plus on-road costs). Though the price is somewhat irrelevant as the entire 2021 Australian allocation is sold out.
Is it worth it?
For me, no.
And not just because it sounds like an underwater tuba. The interior is an FCA parts-bin special.
The steering wheel bears an uncanny resemblance to the one found in Alfa Romeo’s Giulia sedan and the touchscreen – which has been all but stapled to the dashboard – looks like a bargain-basement tablet from Officeworks.
All up, the interior doesn’t exactly scream “I’m a $500,000 supercar”. It doesn’t even whisper it.
At least it looks good.
Does it, though?
From some angles, it looks fantastic and brilliantly resolved. The rear three-quarter view is particularly elegant. From other viewpoints though, I cannot help but think that it looks like a whale shark. Blame the gaping mouth
Oh, c’mon, it’s not that bad.
You are right. I am being petulant.
I can look past a half-cooked design. I cannot, however, do the same for the noise. Or lack of. It is an infuriating deal-breaker.
There is hope, however. Maserati has announced that a fully electric version of the MC20 will be along in due time.
Wouldn’t you rather noise over silence?
No, I would rather melodic noise over silence. But the MC20 is hardly a talented vocalist.
In the meantime, if you want a gorgeous Italian thoroughbred that sounds delicious, my advice would be to take your $500,000 and buy a low-mileage 458 or a brand-spanking-new Lamborghini Huracan EVO RWD.
Your ears will thank you.