A nice close look at the rarest new McLaren of all.
When McLaren finally begins cranking out the P1 supercar, don’t expect to see it all that frequently; the car maker says only 500 will be made at most, which means they’ll make 500 of them. But that still means the P1 will be 100 times more common than the McLaren MP4-12C High Sport seen in this video. (more…)
McLaren redefines the super sports car. And we're okay with that.
Story: Michael Crenshaw
Photography: Andrew Link
The McLaren MP4-12C isn’t perfect; it’s a 99 percenter. Perfection is a relative term in the world of supercars. They’re “super cars” literally and figuratively, and about as close to a perfect car as you can get. However, they’ll usually break your back if you thrash them around every day. But with the MP4-12C, McLaren has developed a car that, if anything can be considered the ultimate supercar, it would be this. It’s the future.
There’s so much tech in this 3,161-pound carbon-fiber, aluminum and magnesium amalgamate that it begs you to research the build process and the intricacies behind it. Going into the entire process would take too long, so we won’t get into all of it here, but let’s just say McLaren builds this car to the most exacting standards in the world. Cast a critical eye over the whole car, you’ll see why. Stitches are perfectly sewn; the steering wheel falls into place under your mitts like your hands were their archetype; and the body seems to be designed from all your childhood dreams of what an automobile should look like. It’s magical.
The McLaren MP4-12C drives like it’s under a spell, too. Think, look, twist the steering wheel, gas and you’re there—all without the slightest interruption of your thoughts. It’s almost as if you’re just an avatar for its skin, which seems to wrap around you. It’s almost too good at perceiving your every thought—practically before you do. With three different transmission, suspension and vehicle dynamic modes—Normal, Sport and Track—the MP4-12C changes its character with the flip of a toggle and can go from subliminal to sublime. If you’ve ever wanted to know what “beast mode” is like, switch it to Track and hold on, ’cause your senses will need some time to react to the altering of space around you.
Propulsion is provided by a gold-encrusted, diamond-powered rocket motor. Okay, maybe no gold (as in the original McLaren F1) or diamond is used in this McLaren, but the engine is a jewel. The 3.8-liter aluminum twin-turbo V8 will rev to 8,500 rpm and spit out an outrageous 592 horsepower with a snarl that’ll twist your lady’s panties backward during full-throttle upshifts. Nearly imperceptible shifts occur from the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox when in Normal mode, but switch to Track and you’ll feel every horsepower and every shift throw you back in the sculpted bucket seats. It’s the best example of contrasting personalities in a car we’ve ever come across; “dynamic” is a word the MP4-12C does not fall short on.
Now, what does make this McLaren fall short of being perfect is that it doesn’t let you loose—literally. No matter how hard we tried, whether it was going into turns at triple-digit speeds or trying to do doughnuts, the McLaren just wants to grip. In other words, you can’t upset the car even when the traction control is “fully off.” With a combination of advanced electronics and “brake steer” (applies brakes to offset wheel spin and understeer), the “electronic nannies” interfere far too often to let loose and allow the car to be 100 percent natural. Basically, the McLaren MP4-12C throws up two middle fingers at physics and says, “Read ’em and weep.”
After spending time with the MP4-12C, it was hard to give it back. Okay, the lack of being able to fully drift at high speeds or do doughnuts was disappointing, but that’s obviously not what this car is about. It’s made to be driven every day and turn into an animal at the flip of a switch, which it does perfectly. If you want car that’s 99 percent perfect, this is it. Too bad you need to be part of the one percent to own one…
Nine MP4-12C GT3 race cars will compete, but only one can win.
24 hours in a spa sounds like a pretty relaxing way to spend a day. The 24 Hours of Spa endurance race, however, is a grueling, stressful test of man and machine on one of the world’s most difficult race tracks, Belgium’s Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Kiiiinda different. (more…)
Oversteer aplenty—but only if you're filming a McLaren promo.
In case you missed all of our bragging about it, we drove the McLaren MP4-12C coupe a couple weekends ago. It was, without hyperbole, one of the most amazing cars we’ve ever had the privilege of driving here at 0-60. It’s a dream wrapped up in a fantasy, then drenched in euphoria and sprinkled with excitement.
We double-checked the date on this one to make sure it wasn’t just an April Fool’s Day gag we missed, but nope, this report came out just yesterday. According to AutoExpress, McLaren is currently working on a two-door wagon based on the MP4-12C. (more…)