With the top down, the Cielo allows you to hear Maserati’s Nettuno V6 engine more closely, of course – and sometimes with greater appreciation than the coupé. The roar of the turbos, the squeal of the valve gear, and the slightly flat sound of the combustion itself remain awe-inspiring when you’re just chugging along. The gearbox’s penchant for too many gear changes and low revs for travel when you leave it in automatic mode also don’t help create much drama. In fact, a Maserati supercar should sound sweeter. But let the engine rev a little and that hum becomes a revving one above 5000 rpm, which is much nicer and more exciting to the ear.
More broadly, the Cielo’s driving experience is characterized by fluidity and lightness of touch. It’s an unusual way to go about things for a big car with a 600-horsepower mid-engine, but it makes the MC20 particularly well-suited to Britain’s rugged back roads, where it rides quietly even in its sportiest driving modes. It also feels hard on bumps. A low-roof cruise at everyday speed is a pleasure, enhanced by the intake of more sights, sounds and smells from the outside world than a coupé can manage.
The car could do with a sharper response and a firmer feel in some respects. Although it drives well, there’s more than a hint of over-assistance and a lack of significant definition in the feel of the steering wheel and brake pedal – while the shift speed of the two-speed gearbox is as quick as it should be. you are driving in Corse (track) mode.
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