The Nettuno It is a brand new engine for Maserati, a brand that claimed to embrace the future of electric mobility openly, but nevertheless presents us with a completely new gasoline engine. The supercar Maserati MC20 It will be the first to debut this mechanic, but the rest of the Maserati range may also have it in the future.
It is a 90º V6 in aluminum, 3.0 liters and supercharged by two turbos, one per bench. This block that goes up to more than 8,000 turns, develops 630 hp and 730 Nm delivery. We are talking about a 210 hp / liter engine, as Matteo Valentini, the engineer in charge of the design and development of the Nettuno, recalls, who together with Jonata Azzali, head of production, has guided us in a virtual visit to the new Engine Lab, where the V6 Nettuno were born.
The Nettuno, with dry sump, is distinguished by its system with a pre-combustion chamber inherited from the technology used in Formula 1. It is the first time it has been used in an engine intended for a road car. Although Valentini explains that the real novelty is how this system is implemented in the Nettuno.
It has a double injection (indirect and direct) and a double ignition, with a spark plug in the pre-chamber and another in the combustion chamber, that is, in the cylinder. The goal is to achieve high power while improving efficiency.
With the arrival of the Nettuno, Maserati works again as an engine manufacturing plant. And it is that the engines that currently equip the Maserati range come from other brands, either from the old FCA group or from the old agreements with Ferrari.
Nettuno, the engine built under pressure
The Nettuno is manufactured in a renovated wing of the factory in Modena, in what was originally the power bank. Now transformed into an ultra-modern 350 m² building, with almost clinical cleaning, 10 people take care of the handmade of the Nettuno thrusters.
The manufacturing process of the Nettuno is somewhat peculiar. In the Engine Lab, the Nettuno is manufactured in a restricted access area, with filtered air, like a laboratory, to prevent the entry of any “contaminating” element from outside, such as dust or particles. In addition, the Engine Lab is under pressure. Thus, every time a door is opened, a puff of air is generated, so that no type of contaminant enters.
The Nettuno engine is made up of about 1,300 components. It is an engine assembled by hand over six assembly stations. But beware handmade does not mean artisanal. Throughout this process, technology plays a key role: supervising, controlling, monitoring and keeping records of all the manufacturing steps to guarantee the highest reliability.
Each assembly station has two displays. The main one tells the operator which process he is playing, such as putting the rings on the pistons, for example, while the second screen is smaller, tactile and allows the operator to interact with the process. And is that although the assembly is manual, the mechanics are surrounded by technology that controls and ensures that the assembly is being done according to specifications.
For example, there are cameras that control that the rings are correctly mounted on the piston, within the specified tolerance ranges. And in addition, it associates each monitored element with the serial number of an engine. The system thus keeps the record of each element and what tolerance margins they have and, above all, in which engine they were mounted.
At another assembly station, it is the computer that tells the operator which connecting rod sleeve to install and even gives it, so that there is no possible mistake. And it is that previously, the system analyzed and calculated which was the best of those in stock for which block and position based on the tolerances allowed, both for the shirt and the block.
In one of the last stations, zenith cameras check that the elements and even the nuts are being assembled in the correct order. Otherwise, a warning is sent to the operator to correct the error. If you don’t, you can’t continue mounting.
Lastly, once the engine is assembled, it is not brought directly to the car’s assembly line. Before he is subjected to a power bank test. On the one hand, it is thus checked that the engine gives the indicated power and torque (630 HP and 730 Nm) and, on the other hand, it is checked that it is well assembled, checking that there are no losses or leaks of any kind. The engine oil is subsequently analyzed to see whether or not there are metal particles, no matter how fine, in it.
And what about the electrification of Maserati?
Until not long ago, the brand had to bet clearly on electrification, having its future flagship the Maserati Alfieri, like a 100% electric car. (At this point, after almost six years, we can forget about the Alfieri). And so it was hinted again when the production of the Maserati GranTurismo.
Given the investment required in making the Nettuno, it seems unlikely that Maserati is just a brand with electric models in its catalog. There is no doubt that this engine will find a place in other models of the brand, as a possible replacement for the Gran Turismo. And who knows if it is also under the hood of other models of the group, such as Alfa Romeo.
However, that does not mean that models equipped with the Nettuno, including the MC 20, will have some kind of electrification in the future. The engine, they say in Maserati, is thinking to work in conjunction with electric motors.
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