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24 juillet 2011 7 24 /07 /juillet /2011 09:30

mclaren mp412c 061Comparison done on European ground (UK), it features the McLaren MP4-12C, the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. This is the first comparison won (by a wisker) by the McLaren -  in opposition to Bristish magazines, Car & Driver is using 'objectve' numbers rather than emotions to find a winner. Review of the McLaren below.


Tales of McLaren Group boss Ron Dennis’s obsession with organization and precision are legion. In many ways, the MP4-12C is the roadgoing embodiment of his compulsions. Take the center-mounted tachometer: in most cars, a blip of the throttle sends the rev needle up and back like a ball tossed in the air, slowing at its peak. Not so in the 12C. Rev the twin-turbo V-8 in neutral and the needle sweeps steadily, stops abruptly, and goes back down at the same steay pace.

Next to the overly elaborate GT2 RS and the curvaceous Ferrari, the 12C is almost understated. The main attractions here are the dihedral doors, which pivot up and out after a light massage under their lips, which activates a sensor to open the latches. Ingress is easy – simply step in and sit down. Climbing out over the wide sill is tougher.

Get into the McLaren after driving the Porsche or Ferrari, and the differences are apparent – maybe only to a small degree, but the small things matter here. The seats fit perfectly. The range of steering-wheel adjustments for rake and reach will accommodate the most acrobatic of driving positions. The cowl eight is low, which gives the 12C even better forward visibility than the two other cars here, although the Ferrari’s lower rear end provides a better view straight back. The McLaren is built around the driver. The setaing position is farther inboard than in the Ferrari, which gives the 12C a narrower feel and lends the driver a better sense of the car’s placement on the road.

Comfort and visibility also help make better use of the McLaren’s power, which propels it forward to the best acceleration times in the test. Its 13.9-second 0-to150-mph time is half-a-second quicker then the second-place GT2 RS’s. You wouldn’t know by the engine note, which is muted compared with the Porsche’s and Ferrari’s. Switching the drive mode to “sport” or “track” pipes more of the sound into the cabin, but it doesn’t change the fact that much of the noise is lost in the sound-damping turbochargers. The quiet highway ride is nice, but when you pay for 593 horsepower, you don’t want to hear them only at high revs.

The dial adjacent to the drive mode controls the chassis and the 12C’s trick suspension, dubbed Proactive Chassis Control (PCC). If there is a single key to the 12c’s brilliance, it is this. Through an interconnected system of hydraulic fluid and nitrogen, PCC allows for the separation of roll stiffness from suspension reactions at each wheel. In “normal” mode, it gives the 12C a ride like a family sedan’s. Turn the dial to “track”, and it’s nearly as stiff and unyielding as the GT2 RS. Even on the waviest of road surfaces, the McLaren stays vacuumed to the tarmac.

The 12C is a car of total coordination. The superior visibility grants the driver greater confidence, and the suspension compliance allows for full use of the brakes and engine. Add in linear power delivery, a smooth brake pedal, and predictable steering, and you have a vehicle that, however monstrously powerful, feels like and extension of yourself. Everything in the McLaren works exactly as expected, allowing you to adjust your speed in small increments and, ultimately, get from point A to point B quicker than in the two other cars.

The 12C is maybe a millimetre short of perfect, though. At low speeds, the gearbox and brakes conspire to make creeping stops difficult to modulate. Over single-wheel bumps, an audible “thunk” resonates through the carbon-fiber chassis. Our prototype test car lacked a functioning infotainment system.

By most indications, however, McLaren has elevated the supercar. The MP4-12C offers a range of capability not seen before. It’s the sort of car that can be driven across the country and straight onto the track, with no compromise on either end of that spectrum. For now, it’s as close as you can get to eternal automotive bliss.

+ Highly versatile suspension, smooth power delivery, comfortable cabin

- Somewhat lacking in soul, difficult to exit with grace, unproven reliability

= An astonishing combination of refinement and performance in a user-friendly package

You can find scans of the full article on German Car Forum.

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