After months of speculation, Maserati has unveiled its all-new, in-house-developed V6 that’s set to debut in the brand’s upcoming MC20 mid-engined supercar.
Codenamed ‘Nettuno’ – translating to ‘Neptune’ in Italian – the twin-turbocharged, 90-degree V6 measures 3.0 litres in displacement, thanks to an 88mm bore and 82mm stroke.
In its launch guise behind the passengers in the MC20, the six-cylinder mill develops 463kW (630 PS) of power at 7500rpm and 730Nm of torque from 3000-5500rpm, with a redline of 8000rpm.
Those figures exceed those of both the current most powerful V6 in the Fiat Chrysler (FCA) stable, the 397kW 2.9-litre biturbo unit employed by the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm, and Maserati’s outgoing 338kW/520Nm 4.7-litre naturally-aspirated V8 as used in the GranTurismo sports car.
Interestingly, the new V6 sports an identical power output to the Italian brand’s last MC-badged car, the 2004 MC12 hypercar, which sought power from a 7500rpm, 6.0-litre naturally-aspirated V12. However, its lack of forced-induction is noticeable in its 652Nm torque figure, which is bettered by that of the modern turbo-six with half the capacity.
Key features of the Nettuno engine include a 11:1 compression ratio, a dry sump oil system and twin fuel injection, which combines direct injection at 350 bar of pressure with 6 bar of port injection to reduce noise at low rpms and improve emissions – the latter needed to meet Europe’s stringent Euro 6d emissions regulations set to come into effect in 2021.
There’s also a Formula 1-derived pre-chamber combustion system, featuring an initial combustion chamber between the main chamber and central electrode, connected by an array of holes – the first time such a system has been used in a road car.
A secondary, traditional spark plug supports the system, ensuring regular combustion continues even if the engine is not operating at a performance level that would require the pre-chamber to activate.
Maserati reports a weight for its first in-house-developed engine in 20 years of less than 220kg, along with a 1-6-3-4-2-5 firing order.
The first vehicle to be powered by the Nettuno, the mid-engined MC20 supercar, will make its official debut at an event at Maserati’s headquarters in Modena, Italy on September 9-10.
The MC20 will also herald a return to racing for the Italian marque, likely in a class such as GT3 or GTE alongside rival machinery from Porsche, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and more.
While not confirmed by the carmaker, it’s expected both less and more powerful variants of the engine will launch in coming years. A circa-390kW version is rumoured to feature in an upcoming mid-size Maserati SUV, while a variety of electrified variants are reported by overseas media to debut in higher-spec MC20 models and as a replacement for the Levante SUV’s Ferrari-derived 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8.