Super Cars – How Maserati’s New Supercar Engine Works | Fintech Zoom

 Kurt Verlin

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Maserati Nettuno Engine technical diagram
Photo: Maserati

Last year, Maserati unveiled its upcoming new MC20 supercar — and along with it, a brand-new engine. Dubbed Nettuno, the engine uses cool pre-chamber ignition technology derived from Formula 1, the fastest motorsport in the world. But how does it work?

Upcoming Supercar: Learn more about the exciting MC20

Active and passive pre-chambers

A pre-chamber is a separate chamber located inside the cylinder head and connected to the main chamber where combustion usually takes place. There are two types of pre-chamber ignition systems: active and passive.

In an active pre-chamber ignition system, a lean air-fuel mixture is injected into the cylinder. On its own, this mixture wouldn’t have enough fuel to combust efficiently, but a rich mixture created in the pre-chamber is then shot into the cylinder to improve the combustion process.

This makes the engine more efficient but does not work well with catalytic converters, which require a specific air-fuel mixture — making active pre-chamber systems not worthwhile for road cars seeking to pass emissions tests.

The Nettuno engine circumvents this issue by using a passive pre-chamber ignition system that simply takes advantage of the combustion benefits of the active system, but while also using the ideal air-fuel mixture that plays well with catalytic converters.

High Performance: Text

Higher compression ratio

Thanks to the improved combustion, Maserati’s Nettuno engine can have a higher compression ratio, which is generally a good thing as this means the engine can get more work out of the same amount of fuel. In fact, according to the company’s patent for the engine, the pre-chamber system allows the Nettuno engine to use 30 percent less fuel or be 25 percent smaller than if it didn’t have the system.

Ultimately, it’s a lot more complicated than I’m making it seem, and making the concept work in practice requires some clever precision engineering, but that’s the gist of it. If you’d like a more in-depth, technical look at the Nettuno engine, check out the video embedded below created by the excellent Engineering Explained channel on YouTube.

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