Motor (Australia)

BRIGHT SPARK

TECHNICAL BRIEF

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The Nettuno V6 has the smarts to position Maserati in the top tier of internal-combustion magicians. Named after Neptune - he of the trident - the downsized 3.0-litre engine utilises a very trick installati­on of pre-chamber ignition. While this tech is universal on an F1 grid, it’s less frequently found on road cars, helping the Nettuno eke a specific power output of 155kW per litre from the V6. This means that the Nettuno delivers a greater power density than any current McLaren, Ferrari, Lamborghin­i, or Porsche internal combustion engine although it’s roughly on par with the Mercedes-AMG A45 S.

The pre-chamber on the Nettuno is tiny – less than a cubic centimetre per cylinder – and works by igniting a small amount of fuel and air with its own dedicated spark plug. Jets of hot plasma then emerge through tiny holes into the main combustion chamber, creating a very clean, rapid burn at a high (11.0:1) compressio­n ratio. The idea isn’t new – Honda used it as an emissions workaround in the 1970s – but Maserati has paired it with both direct and port injection. A special copper alloy was key in heat dispersal but no off the shelf spark plug for the pre-chamber was available. The complexity and cost (an additional 150 Euros in materials per engine) is clearly worthwhile. Maserati points to a power boost of 97kW and a torque increase of 130Nm, coupled with an overall 4 per cent fuel saving. If that’s still not quick enough, place a deposit for the electric version.

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