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    Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Finally had the time to visit the McLaren dealer and do a short drive in the MP4-12C. Unfortunately, I just had like 30 minutes in pretty heavy traffic. As the overall impressions are quite positive I plan on doing another (longer) test drive which will also include some fast driven bends and a longer Autobahn distance.

    I will just list my key findings in bullet form as to type as little text as possible Smiley

    + brake stability is excellent, the pedal feel is pretty binary, though (might be the result of a worn-off brake in the test car as the dealer indicated) - however, it seems obvious to me that the GT2RS brakes are much more refined

    + engine power at high revs is phantastic (I had no doubt that we are indeed talking about 600hp Smiley); at lower revs the GT2RS has more torque to offer, and you can feel that; turbo lag seems to be bigger in the McLaren than in the GT2RS

    + very nice sound (perfect for my taste): not like a Ferrari, more like the GT2RS (maybe a bit louder - test car had the sports exhaust); I like this "mechanical" sytle engine sound

    + the double clutch system works very, very nicely (I just don't like the attached paddles which somehow feel a bit strange as the other paddle also moves if you use one). Overall, the very refined interaction of engine and gear-box impressed me quite a bit; the level of refinement is similar to the PDK in the turbo S

    + steering feel is more synthetic as in the GT2RS but much better than in the Ferraris; in particular, compared to a Scuderia (for example) the McLaren has a nice, rigid feel around the center position; only if you turn the steering wheel you get this synthetic feel the Ferraris offer all the time; the GT2RS steering is simply the best you can get

    + as mentioned I could not drive really fast; however, the suspension is pretty comfortable in standard mode (much more so than in the GT2RS) in the more sporty setup ride comfort is similar to the GT2RS; in bends you feel that the car is more stable (changing throttle input etc.) than the GT2RS (mid-engine car vs. rear engine); body roll in sport mode is very limited; also, body movements are minimal even under full brakes

    + you also feel that the precision o the GT2RS suspension has no rivals out there: you can feel that the McLaren's suspension depends on several electronical devices - in contrast, the GT2RS feels simple but just perfect and has this outstanding level of feed-back; it cannot get any better than in the GT2RS

    + interior: very nice (quality issues typical for a car shortly after lanuch of production are quite obvious, though); I would need different seats as the seating position is a bit high if you want to wear a helmet (similar problem as in most Feraris: if I want to wear a helmet I cannot properly adjust the seat any longer as my head touches the cealing...)

    + luggage compartment is rather big - but then there is no other space for luggage...

    + important options for a daily driver (speed control, navigation system etc.) are all available (except for other seats, as mentioned above...)

    In summary, I was quite impressed by the McLaren Smiley

    Assuming that the NBR and HHR lap times of GT2RS and McLaren will be very similar (and I look forward very much to the next issue of Sportauto - at least the HHR lap times are very close based on SportAuto) I would put the folloing verdict:

    No doubt, the GT2RS is the more refined, more precise and more fun car to drive. Steering, brakes, suspension everthing is a tad better than in the McLaren. Power is the same. The McLaren has the more modern gear box. With the same gear-box technology I have no doubt that the GT2RS would be clearly faster on all tracks (while the two cars might be on par now).

    But then, I would probably say that, compared to a turbo of turbo S the McLaren is the clealy superior car: you also have this very nice and refined double-clutch gear-box plus an additional performance (straight line and track) which is really stunning. I would also pick the McLaren over the Scuderia or 458 - simply as the McLaren is the faster car compared to the Ferraris. However, on this level this is clearly a matter of taste. Objectively speaking, the McLaren has the better steering than the Ferraris, has more power, better lap time performance and is more understated in terms of looks. The brakes might be on a similar level as the Ferrari's.

    The McLaren is a great car - well done Smiley

    (P.S.: Sorry for the poor pics...)

    pic2.jpgpic3.jpgpic4.jpgpic5.jpg1317501030734pic1.jpgpic6.jpgpic7.jpg


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Thanks for the info, I for one like the MP4 a lot and I'm sure that once they iron out the early production issues and get the dealer network going McL are going to be a strong force in the segments they try to get into.


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Thanks for the very interesting post.

    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    MKSGR:

    Great write-up! thanks! Smiley

     


    --


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Excellent write up Markus!

    Lookong forward to your high speed autobahn report.


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    good write up...this is the first time i read something positive about the mclaren from someone who understands cars and is not biased.

    however, i would not compare it to turbo or turbo S as these, being daily drivers imo, are the ultimate sports gt commuters.


    --
    Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... That's what gets you.

    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    A good friend of mine,  co-owner of 458 Challenge,  owner of  F 599,  Corvette ZR1, ex owner of California, Porsche Turbo Sportec and many other cars  has driven one last week in Maranello . 

    He also was very impressed by the car , specialy the power . He dit not find it ' boring'  as some magasine suggested.


    --

     997.2 C2S, PDK, -20mm


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    He also was very impressed by the car , specialy the power . He dit not find it ' boring'  as some magasine suggested.

    Absolutely, to call the McLaren boring is really very strange. I found the car pretty fascinating to drive (sound, feel behind the wheel, power, interior feel, exterior looks) SmileySmileySmiley


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    KresoF1:

    Excellent write up Markus!

    Lookong forward to your high speed autobahn report.

    I am now very interested in how the car feels at higher speeds and also in some faster bends Smiley


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Thanks a lot for the writeup, Markus...great description and very good comparison to the GT2 RS and Ferraris. kiss

    The McLaren MP4-12C is one of the few cars I didn't have the chance (and time) to drive but it must have been a lot of fun.

    I just can't wait for your longer driving report.  wink


    --

    RC (Germany) - Rennteam Editor Porsche 997 Carrera GTS Cabriolet PDK, BMW X5M, BMW M3 Cab DKG, Mini Cooper S Countryman All4


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Thanks Markus, 

    Very interesting indeed!Smiley


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Futch:

    Thanks Markus, 

    Very interesting indeed! Smiley

    +1 Smiley


    --


    997.1 C2S
     GT Silver/Cocoa, -20mm/LSD, PSE, short shifter, SportDesign rims, Zuffenhausen pickup, BMW Z4 2.5i Roadster Sterling Grey/Red


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Nice review and thank you!
    --

    There is no try. Just do.


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Nothing like real life first hand experience Smiley Thanks for the great report.

    J.Seven


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Thanks! Regardless of the not so positive reviews, I find the car fascinating.


    --

     911 Carrera 3.2 - 997 Carrera


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    NIce work ....  looking forward to know more details.....thanks ...


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Great write up. It certainly has changed my view of the car.

    FWIW, I believe those that claimed it was too boring were referring to the car being too refined compared to the Porsche RS, Ferrari and Lambo as well as others. They coveted a certain amount of rawness in a sport car.  


    --

     


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Great review. I always believed the car would be extremely fast but I think the boring comments aimed at it are more to do with how it feels at normal speeds where it had no aural drama or excitement. It sounds like the revisions to the exhaust have gone someway to overcoming this early criticism.

    Interestingly I know of an owner who has suffered no less than 18 faults with his car thus far in a little over two weeks of ownership. Most of them are electrical issues and it seems like McLaren have launched the car too soon despite them having claimed to have racked up 6 figures of development mileage. His business partner took delivery of one on the same day and has also suffered a catalogue of faults with his car. McLaren will get it right I'm sure but I fear that their reputation could take a big knock outside of their "home" UK market if their international customers suffer similar issues.


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Imagine having those electrical gremlins poping out in a palce were the nearest dealership/shop is hundred s of miles away... which is the situation for many places of the western world. Buyers will not put up with it (not only for the amount of money they spent but especially from the strong competition the car has) so they better get it under control soon or it will hurt their image/reputation permanently, and rightly so.


    --


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    ISUK:

    Great review. I always believed the car would be extremely fast but I think the boring comments aimed at it are more to do with how it feels at normal speeds where it had no aural drama or excitement. It sounds like the revisions to the exhaust have gone someway to overcoming this early criticism.

     

    Personally, I thought that the interior does indeed have some special feel as well (ignoring the engine sound for a minute): the test car was equipped with a lot of carbon items, resulting in a pretty refined and high-end interior feel. Also, the rather tight cabin has something I would call exotic (coming from Porsche Smiley).


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    ISUK:

     

    Interestingly I know of an owner who has suffered no less than 18 faults with his car thus far in a little over two weeks of ownership. Most of them are electrical issues and it seems like McLaren have launched the car too soon despite them having claimed to have racked up 6 figures of development mileage. His business partner took delivery of one on the same day and has also suffered a catalogue of faults with his car. McLaren will get it right I'm sure but I fear that their reputation could take a big knock outside of their "home" UK market if their international customers suffer similar issues.

    You know the old rule: never buy a brand new car in the very early launch phase Smiley


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    nberry:

    Great write up. It certainly has changed my view of the car.

    Nick, a test drive might make sense for you. As I understand your sportscar preferences you might like the car Smiley


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    I have dealership issues. Also, based on Iain's post I would certain wait to see if all the gremlins are corrected. That may take awhile.indecision


    --

     


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    MKSGR:

    Personally, I thought that the interior does indeed have some special feel as well (ignoring the engine sound for a minute): the test car was equipped with a lot of carbon items, resulting in a pretty refined and high-end interior feel. Also, the rather tight cabin has something I would call exotic (coming from Porsche Smiley).

    I agree, I spent some time in the two cars in the London showroom a couple of weeks ago. The grey wone with lots of Carbon was very very nice inside. The red one withthe standard center console made me feel that the carbon was a must option.

    My only gripe was (and I'm not a huge guy - 180cm and 87 kg) is that with a helmet on I would constantly hit my head against the top of the door/seam of the roof. (If you've not been in one it's almost like a covered roll cage coming up from the A pillar and across the top of the door. I'm sure great for stiffness, but I could hit my head against it without a helmet and with it would probably always be sitting againt my helmet. Not good in my books...


    --
    Past-President, Porsche Club of America - Upper Canada Region

    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    ISUK:

    Interestingly I know of an owner who has suffered no less than 18 faults with his car thus far in a little over two weeks of ownership. Most of them are electrical issues and it seems like McLaren have launched the car too soon despite them having claimed to have racked up 6 figures of development mileage. His business partner took delivery of one on the same day and has also suffered a catalogue of faults with his car. McLaren will get it right I'm sure but I fear that their reputation could take a big knock outside of their "home" UK market if their international customers suffer similar issues.

    "Speed without quality is nothing", especially on a €200k + car.

    By the time McLaren catch up, the competition will move further ahead.


    --

    "Form follows function"


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    McLaren is not without company in the 'reliability' department. Ferrari road cars always had the reputation that it would be in the shop at least 6 months of a year. It's not until pretty much the last generation of Ferraris that they because reliable enough to be around the same ballpark as Porsche.

    So if we use Ferrari as a yardstick, McLaren still have at least another 30 years to go before they are truely reliable like Porsche.


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    Whoopsy:

    . It's not until pretty much the last generation of Ferraris that they because reliable enough to be around the same ballpark as Porsche.

    So if we use Ferrari as a yardstick, McLaren still have at least another 30 years to go before they are truely reliable like Porsche.

    I would even go as far as to say that even the most recent Ferraris (at least those where I have a personal experience) have a quality level which is still unsatisfactory.

    I am referring to build quality issues (loose sealings in the engine compartment, loose stickers, loose speakers in the interior, engines that don't start up properly, electronics that signal multiple warnings without cause, engines switching to safety mode without reason other than electronical malfunctions, missing brake pad sensors etc. etc.).

    Ferrari's still have an average quality at best Smiley Whether the quality is better or worse than in McLaren's case needs some real-life tests Smiley


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    i agree, ferrari is nowehere near porsche in the quality department. i have had not had a single problem with any of the porsches that i own or have owned. 7 cars.

    a friend who has a scuderia and an f430 has had various issues with both. furthermore, both are as expected garage queens with hardly 3-4000 kms on them.

    porsche's are bulletproof with great fit and finish.


    --
    Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... That's what gets you.

    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    MKSGR:
    ISUK:

     

    Interestingly I know of an owner who has suffered no less than 18 faults with his car thus far in a little over two weeks of ownership. Most of them are electrical issues and it seems like McLaren have launched the car too soon despite them having claimed to have racked up 6 figures of development mileage. His business partner took delivery of one on the same day and has also suffered a catalogue of faults with his car. McLaren will get it right I'm sure but I fear that their reputation could take a big knock outside of their "home" UK market if their international customers suffer similar issues.

    You know the old rule: never buy a brand new car in the very early launch phase Smiley

    Smiley

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20111005/CARNEWS/111009944
    http://jalopnik.com/5843016/is-the-mclaren-mp4+12c-a-lemon


    --

     

    http://i54.tinypic.com/i4ixbr.jpg


    Re: Short Driving Report McLaren MP4-12C

    My experience of Ferrari build quality in the last 4 years across 6 cars and around 18,000 miles has been extremely good. I've only had two minor inconveniences - a microswitch for the roof on the 430 spider went slightly out of alignment and a trunk lid closing sensor striking plate on my first California that was also slightly out of alignment. I've never suffered a mechanical issue and have only had the carbon side panels in the engine bay of the 430 Scuderia replaced under warranty (due to a heat build up issue) and the initial couple of recalls on my 1st early 458. The build quality on the current V8's is very good thanks to the move to the new production hall with it's improved methods of assembly compared to what was used up to the end of the 430 series model run.

    For comparison my first Cayenne stranded me on a busy motorway on ramp after the fuel pump failed and two of my 987 Boxsters had RMS replacements under warranty.

     


     
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