McLaren MP4-12C

Phenomenal pace and exceptional handling mark the new McLaren firmly in the top echelon of supercars

The MP4-12C is a towering achievement, but it’s missing one vital commodity – the pure ability to thrill.

You get your kicks from the McLaren in a different way to the other cars in our line-up. Unlike the Ferrari, Mercedes or Jaguar, it’s not designed for the driver to switch off the electronic aids and play the hooligan on track. It only wants to be driven one way; smoothly and fast.

This single-minded pursuit of speed is understandable from a team that has made its name in Formula One, but in eking out the last one-hundredth of a second something has gone missing.The twin-clutch gearshift is one of the most rapid we’ve experienced, but you don’t get a satisfying blip of the throttle on downshifts.

Part of the blame lies with the engine. A V8 turbo is the pragmatic choice as it provides the best blend of performance and economy, but its uninspiring soundtrack simply doesn’t do the rest of the car justice. The chassis, meanwhile, is almost beyond criticism, as the amount of grip it generates is staggering.

However, the clever Brake Steer system (which applies the brakes to the inside rear wheel to prevent slip and contain understeer) detracts from the driving experience, rather than adding to it. And turnining it off isn't exactly encouraged by the complicated electronics.

If this all sounds a bit negative, that’s simply because expectations of the McLaren were so high. It has achieved what it set out to do, effectively matching the Ferrari 458 Italia for raw pace, so the MP4-12C really deserves plenty of praise.

Its phenomenal pace and exceptional handling rank it firmly in the top echelon of supercars. And it encourages you to drive neatly and precisely as you try to set the fastest lap time you can. We just wish it was a bit more fun while you did it.

Continue Reading

Most Popular

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another
MINI number plate change
Tips & advice

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another

Need to know how to transfer a number plate between vehicles? Our step-by-step guide breaks it down
22 Nov 2020
Best mini jump starter packs 2020
Best jumper starter packs header
Product group tests

Best mini jump starter packs 2020

Don’t get caught out with a dodgy battery as we test eight of the best jump starter packs
18 Nov 2020
New Volkswagen Golf GTE 2020 review
Volkswagen Golf GTE

New Volkswagen Golf GTE 2020 review

Is the new 242bhp plug-in hybrid Volkswagen Golf GTE the pick of the range? We find out...
19 Nov 2020