Maserati MC12

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General Thoughts:
To fully utilise the MC12's power the driver merely presses the accelerator and tugs at the gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel, the MC12's Ferrari Enzo-derived 6.0-liter V-12 frequently hit the rev limiter at 7700 rpm in first and second gears before the drivers realised how fast it uses up the lower gears.

The V-12's glorious exhaust twang and harmonic crescendo warns of imminent rev-limiter intervention. It's necessary, because you don't want to spend any time looking away from the track. The quarter mile is reached in just over 11 seconds, with the needle swinging to 270 km/h (168 mph) easily.

The 15.0-inch cast-iron Brembo rotors up front pinched by six-piston alloy calipers and 13.2-inch rotors inside four-piston calipers in the rear, makes slowing an easy task. The braking power is enormous. To provide immediate cold brake response and squeal free operation for everyday driving, the MC12 has Pagid street pads. When you apply repeated braking over 150 mph the cone chicanes, resulting in flames bursting out from the pads.

To make the MC12 drivable on streets it has been designed around FIA/ALMS regulations. Those regulations steered a design concept by invented by Giugiaro to fully change race cars into street cars whose final shapes and trappings were penned and selected by designer Frank Stephenson.

The result is the long-nose and long-tail shape formed by hours of wind tunnel use. Hence the forward mounted radiators and their upper surface outlets. On the road car, these are covered by longitudinal strakes to maintain the aperture sizes necessary to prevent the accidental ingestion of small pedestrians.

At the rear, there's a wing spoiler mounted low across the tail, its outboard fixture points cantilevered beyond the sides of the rear bodywork to allow the mirrors a decent shot back down the road. There's no rear window, because a roof-mounted air-induction snorkel and its giant plenum use up all the real estate. The mirrors are all you have to check behind you.

Among the compromises made in the name of racing, interior space escaped the worst of them. There's ample head and legroom for drivers the wrong side of six feet and 34 inches of inseam length, which is a welcome touch in a street-legal projectile like the MC12. And the interior is pretty lavish for a composite car with carbon. The cockpit surfaces are a mix of carbon fiber, perforated leather, blue plastic moldings, and an interesting textile material that resembles carbon fiber but is soft and yielding to the touch.

The steering wheel is a stylish piece with a flattened carbon-fiber top segment, and it guides the front wheels with a directness that is as remarkable for its integrity as it is for its immunity to kickback shock. Even at very high speed, when an occasional crevice in the track is driven over, results in a hammer jolt into the pushrod front suspension, that spike of energy would read as just a brief nudge at the wheel.

With plenty of anti-dive, anti-squat, and roll restraint dialed into the chassis, body motions are tautly arrested, yet the ride didn't seem too brutal on either the oval or the old, original Alfa Romeo handling track we were permitted to negotiate. The limits are high on the MC12, and even our most adventurous corner exploits-given no time to learn the course-produced little more than a brief squirm under power from the big 345/35ZR-19 rear Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires. Bosch's traction-control system helps here, although it can also be disabled.

Turn-in felt as if the car were on rails, benefiting from being mid-engined as much as having sticky 245 cross-section Corsas on the front end. Plenty of power, a good grip, and tons of aerodynamic downforce (the car has two undertail diffusers) show the cars true intent.

Photo Credit: PurePowerPhotography


The Numbers

mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door targa
DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 366 cu in, 5999cc
Power (SAE net): 624 bhp @7500 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 481 lb-ft @5500 rpm
6-speed manual with automated shifting and clutch
Wheelbase: 110.2 in
Length: 202.4 in
Width: 82.5 in
Height: 47.4 in
Curb weight: 3300 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 3.5 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 11.4 sec @ 135 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 205 mph

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