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McLaren vs Ferrari

It’s the supercar showdown of 2011 as the McLaren’ MP4-12C faces Ferrari’s 458 Italia. Which will land the knockout blow?

McLaren vs Ferrari header
The gloves are off in the supercar shootout of 2011, as two of the biggest names in Formula One go toe-to-toe in a battle for fast car honours. In the white corner is our challenger. All the way from Woking, and weighing in at 1,434kg with 592bhp, it’s the all-new McLaren MP4-12C. It will be the first in a range of sports cars from the legendary racing team, so its success is vital.
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Exclusive video: we put the McLaren and Ferrari head-to-head
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In the red corner, from Maranello in Italy, is our reigning Performance Car of the Year. The Ferrari 458 Italia marked a long-awaited return to form for the famous brand last year, and tips the scales at 1,485kg. It looks to be at a disadvantage here as its normally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 produces 562bhp , which is no match for its turbocharged rival on paper.
The British built machine boasts a raft of hi-tech features that are designed to give it the edge. They include a race-inspired carbon  fibre chassis to save weight, an Airbrake to enhance stopping power and stability, and an innovative suspension system that claims to deliver comfort and control in equal measure.
A technological tour de force, the, but can the McLaren pull off a sensational victory?

Verdict

What an achievement! With the MP4-12C, McLaren has taken on the biggest kid in the supercar playground – and done it the hard way. Engineering the chassis, engine and twin-clutch gearbox in-house is some undertaking, and we can’t think of another brand that could pull it off as convincingly. So is that enough? 
Well, the new car does exactly what it was designed to do, as it’s faster, lighter and more economical than its rival. But despite all of its talents, we found the 458 more enjoyable.
In such a closely fought test, it comes down to what you demand and expect from a supercar. The McLaren’s clinical performance is something to behold, it really is, yet the Ferrari is more fun. If you want to set the fastest lap time or nail a particular corner, buy the MP4-12C. But if you’re looking for the most engaging and rewarding drive, choose the Italian.
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