Maserati MC Stradale: A modern classic with the best combination of four seat grand-tourer and race car

The MC is refreshingly adherent to feel and sensation rather than acing a game of Top Trumps.

The MC Stradale is refreshingly adherent to feel and sensation rather than acing a game of Top Trumps.
By Sriram Narayanan

Astoundingly high net worth individuals don’t find much in Ferraris or Lamborghinis. There are too many. And there’s too much merchandising. Such HNIs get a Pagani. It is what Ferrari and Lamborghini used to be before they grew up — deranged, rebellious, uncivil and bedroom wall porn. Pagani was started by Horacio Pagani — an ex-Lamborghini employee — in 1992 and their first car, the Zonda came out in 1999.

This writer once asked Horacio Pagani how is it that the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy has such a thick concentration of performance machines — Maserati and Pagani in Modena, Ferrari in Maranello, Lamborghini and Ducati in Bologna.

He said it’s all got to do with the Maserati brothers who started in 1914. Perhaps, every other boy looked at one and thought, ‘I will grow up and make my own.’ That’s a remarkable statement in two ways. One, Maserati may have inadvertently fuelled the desire in certain boys called Enzo Ferrari or Ferrucio Lamborghini.

Two, the year 1914. That’s a century ago when the motorcar was a crude implement and Adolf Hitler was just another human. And around the ancient streets of Maserati’s home, Modena, inside the Piazza Grande that houses the Cathedral built in the 10th Century — a UNESCO world heritage site — you could see why a Maserati might inspire someone. The Maserati MC Stradale — that’s Maserati Corsa (race) car for the Stradale (street).


Compared to the standard GranTurismo, the MC is 80kgs lighter, has a rear-mounted gearbox that ensures a more racecar-like rear-biased weight distribution, and unlike the GranTurismo, doesn’t do stopgo traffic very well.

Give it an opportunity to get into third, though and the pandemonium inside the cabin matches that of a circus that’s just learnt that its star tiger isn’t in its cage. That naturally-aspirated, non-turbo, non-hybrid V8 in the front doesn’t sound like an engine.

The roars, bellows, growls and the rumble sound like a laboratory where big cats are experimented on. Unlike German sportscars that need you to be doing the high 100s to enjoy the performance, the MC starts sprinkling its stardust even at 40kph. The steering has heft, the pedals have feel and it’s a joy to listen to the gearbox aiding the engine to change tenor as if it has to perform at a concert.

In an era where performance cars are judged solely on lap-times and drag-race videos on YouTube, the MC Stradale is refreshingly adherent to feel and sensation rather than acing a game of Top Trumps.

This Maserati with its four proper seats, racecar dynamics and grand touring comfort is the sweet spot between a precise, perfect, but impractical and dull Porsche 911 and a luxurious, but ponderous Bentley Continental, with looks that make visitors to a ten-century-old world heritage site stop, stare, and marvel. And a demeanour to inspire an entire generation to make machines that move your heart and soul. Buy one before they declare it a crime.

Maserati MC Stradale 9/10
Pros: Space for four, looks, engine note, feel and sensation
Cons: Ancient in-car interface, no reverse cam, last of its kind
Bottomline: The best combination of four seat grand-tourer and race car with supercar theatrics

Price: Rs 2.35 crore (ex-showroom Mumbai)

Engine: 4691cc V8 petrol Power: 454bhp Torque: 520Nm

Transmission: 6A, RWD Weight: 1800 kgs

Fuel capacity: 83 litres

Speed 0-100kph: 4.5 secs

Top speed: 303kph
Pics and text: BBC TopGear India;
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