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First drive: 2022 Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.

First drive: 2022 Maserati MC20 Cielo
Maserati has removed the roof from its glorious MC20 supercar, creating the stunning MC20 Cielo.


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2022 Maserati MC20 Cielo

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The Maserati MC20 is a brilliant supercar, but Maserati says it's added another dimension to its V6 coupe with the new Cielo model. Adding a folding roof mechanism with a glass panel might not be good from a weight point of view, but Maserati claims it has made the Cielo as close a match for the coupe as possible. So does the drop-top MC20 make sense?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Maserati MC20 Cielo
Price: From £231,855
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power: 630hp
Torque: 730Nm
Emissions: 265g/km
Economy: 24.1mpg
0-62mph: 2.9 seconds
Top speed: >200mph
Boot space: 100 litres (plus 50-litre 'frunk')


The open-top Cielo largely looks very similar to the MC20 Coupe, but only at the front. Yes, it has the same low grille, the same sculpted bonnet and the same upward-opening doors, but the rear end has changed considerably. There are two buttresses behind the seats and a flat deck, on which you can choose to have the Maserati logo painted. And the whole rear deck sits slightly higher in a bid to accommodate that folding hard-top. Although those changes are substantial, they haven't spoilt the MC20's looks, and whether the roof is up or down, the Cielo looks stunning.


Interiors have not always been Maserati’s strong suit, particularly in recent years. Yes, the styling is generally pretty good, but the fit and finish often leaves something to be desired. Not so here. Quality is imperfect, with the odd hard plastic kicking about, but it’s generally up there with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren. It all feels very well constructed.

That might be helped by the fact the MC20’s cabin is simple, with just a handful of crucial buttons – including those on the steering wheel and those for the gearbox – while everything else is taken care of by the touchscreen and instrument display. Neither is ground-breaking, although both are serviceable, but arguably the highlight is the third screen in the rear-view mirror. Because visibility is practically non-existent, a camera is mounted on the rear bumper and the view displayed on the mirror. You can always flip it back to a conventional mirror finish if you like, though.


Supercars are not known for their practicality, and the MC20 Cielo is not about to change anything there. While it may have two boots – there’s a storage area between the front wheels – the combined capacity of that and the rear luggage space is a paltry 150 litres. You get that kind of space from one boot in a Mazda MX-5, and that’s hardly roomy. But the MC20 does have the same amount of space as the coupe, and that means there’s no penalty for choosing the folding roof. And for the driver and passenger, space and seat adjustability is plentiful.


Performance is the cornerstone of any supercar, so it's a good job the MC20 Cielo has plenty to spare. As with the coupe, power comes from Maserati's 3.0-litre Nettuno V6 petrol engine, which uses turbocharging to produce 630hp. That's more than enough in a car that weighs about 1.5 tonnes, so 0-62mph takes the same 2.9 seconds as in the coupe, while the top speed is around 200mph. It's quick, then, and it's also pretty economical. Maserati claims more than 24mpg on the official economy test, and experience tells us that's probably a little pessimistic on a long, gentle run with the roof down. Assuming you can do any of those things, of course. The advantage of losing the roof is better access to the V6 soundtrack, and that makes the Cielo's accelerator pedal even more addictive than that of the coupe.

Ride & Handling

As you’d probably expect, the MC20 is an utter delight to drive. The steering is a little light – particularly around the straight-ahead position – but it’s still heavier than that of a Ferrari, and that accentuates the feel and the precision on offer. Responses are immediate, and though the Cielo is slightly heavier than the coupe, it really doesn’t feel it. The best thing about the MC20, though, is the ride. No matter whether you choose the Cielo or the coupe, it’s surprisingly comfortable for what it is, and that makes it very usable. Yes, you need the nose lifting kit to prevent scrapes on the underside, but the motorway ride is as good as most sports cars, if not quite up to the uncanny standard of a McLaren GT. Of course, if you switch through the suspension modes it firms up noticeably, but you get even more body control in return, and that makes the car feel really sharp and agile.


With prices starting at around £220,000, the MC20 Cielo is about £30,000 more expensive than the hard-top MC20, and whether that represents value is down to your needs. If you want a car for the occasional track day, the coupe will make more sense, but if you’re going to use the MC20 on the road, the Cielo gives you two cars in one. And compared with the equivalent Ferrari – the 296 GTS – the MC20 Cielo is considerably less expensive.


The Cielo adds another dimension to the MC20's brilliance, taking an already fantastic supercar, then improving it with an open-air cabin. Perhaps it feels more GT-like than its rival, the Ferrari 296 GTS, but it's a fantastic road-going supercar that's arguably the most complete and most exciting car Maserati has produced in recent years.

James Fossdyke - 19 Dec 2022    - Maserati road tests
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Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.

Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.Maserati MC20 Cielo. Image by Maserati.


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