What’s it like?
It knows about first impressions, that’s for sure. The not-so-subtle valance extensions front and rear and small carbonfibre bootlid spoiler will seem as nothing the moment you see the purposeful-looking carbon-ceramic brake discs. And then open the door and feast your senses on a cabin decked out in generous helpings of soft alcantara and carbon trim. Maserati may claim that this is a road car, but with four point racing harnesses anchored, behind the lightweight bucket seats, to a half-sized rollcage, it must be hard to convince owners that it wouldn’t be better enjoyed somewhere fast, with plenty of run-off and the odd flag-waving marshal.
Somewhere with sympathetic noise regulations too, really. Crank it over and the brassy growl that the V8 settles into is a long, long way from shy and retiring. Noisier and harder-edged still if you select ‘Sport’ mode, when blips of the throttle seem shrill enough to shatter spectactles at close range.
Bumbling around town, the MC Stradale doesn’t exactly make you comfortable straight away. The turning circle’s respectable and the ride, although a little crashy, could be worse. But the gearbox is far from suitable for stop-start traffic; in ‘Auto’ mode upchanges come quite clumsily, and in ‘Sport’ they tend to thump through the driveline a bit, even when you’re expecting them. The car’s extra sharp throttle response can cause issues during the daily traffic drudgery too, since there’s no creep in the robotised manual transmission.
The MC Stradale’s long distance cruising gait is surprisingly civilised, however. At decent speed and over the smaller, longer-wave lumps and bumps you tend to find on trunk roads and motorways, it rides in fairly absorbent and quiet fashion. The engine’s roar is more muted at low rpm, too. The 17mpg you’ll get out of the car will be more of an issue if you plan on making more than occasional use of it, but for most owners even that kind of thirst will be little more than a passing concern.
And when you’re at a safe enough distance from civilisation to open it up, the MC Stradale certainly proves its worth. Its sheer urge isn’t of the order that forces your hips backward in your seat; the car is fast without having real supercar performance. It doesn’t grip the tarmac like a 911 GT3 RS or Nissan GT-R, either.
But what it has got is feelsome, reassuring steering, a very responsive powertrain and a tender, delightfully communicative chassis that gives you plenty of information of how much grip you’ve got to play with at either axle. There’s a little understeer in that chassis, sure – but not so much that it can’t be driven around.
Getting the best of out the car is a genuinely engrossing task – and one that just about feels acceptable on the public road. That’s ultimately the MC Stradale’s biggest selling point. Because to drive a GT3 RS or a Nissan GT-R to its full potential anywhere on the public road feels about as socially monstrous as taking your eight-year-old to the bookie’s.
Should I buy one?
If you’ve outgrown track days and care more about the finer feelings inspired by a car than its outright capacity to cover ground, sure.
On a circuit, the MC Stradale would make short work of its tyres; wouldn’t be a great deal faster than Lotuses, BMWs or a lot of other performance machinery costing half the price, either. It weighs too much, produces too little power, to be considered alongside the most specialised performance cars you can buy for £110,000.