I have spend some time compiling data and translated comments.
With the second fastest ever lap time, the McLaren MP4-12C sets the pace. When all sensors are operational, it provides its driver with absolutely inspiring driveability. The grip on the rear axle never seems to subside and the limit tends to be displayed by a slight understeer.
Hockhenheimring : 1'08"7 / 10 points
It is difficult to believe that the MP4-12C can achieve such handling performance without anti-roll bars and without mechanical differential lock, but it does! The pitch and roll are extremely low, thanks to the adaptive damper system, and the traction without concern. In high speed areas, the deceleration performance is convincing – up to 12.9 m / s ².
0-200-0 km/h : 15 seconds / 10 points
Thanks to the automated double clutch transmission, the acceleration is stunning. The traction control measures accurately the amount of slip for optimal take-off. Although the brakes provides good results at high speed (in combination with the airbrake), the final deceleration value (10.7 m / s ²) is rather modest due to lack of quality control in the lower speed range.
Aerodynamic balance : front load 2kg ; rear load 62 kg / 10 points
Even without excessive spoilers, the McLaren achieves significant downforce on both axles. When the rear wing is set in the high-downforce position, 610 Newton of downforce is generated at the rear, but the front value is reduced from 92 to 19 Newtons. The drag coefficient is rather modest at 0.37 with the wing in high position.
Lateral acceleration : 1,4g / 10 points
36m slalom : 138 km/h / 10 points
Until 85% of its performance envelope, the MP4-12C exhibits a very direct and absolutely neutral handling but some changes appear when getting close to the limit. In opposition to the track, where turn-in was brilliant and the steering completely neutral, the behavior reaches its limits in the many successive changes of direction of the 36-meter slalom. However, reactions are never excessive and always easy to control.
Evasive test : 157 km/h / 10 points
"It cannot be safer – goes like on rails," such is the comment written on the test sheet. The swaying tendency that was complained about in the 36-meters slalom is completely alien here. Totaly neutral, the McLaren masters this discipline. It does not reach the absolute best value, but the driveability and safety are at the highest level and deserve respect. The limiting factor here is probably the tire grip.
Wet handling : 1'38"7 / 1 point
Despite the bad lap time, the behavior is acceptable insofar as it is predictable and not tricky. The loss of grip is announced in an appropriate manner. The ABS is convincing in the wet with a high control performance. This is also the case for the intervention of the electronic stability system – if it is enabled.
By the way: the air conditioning also shows high efficacy in a wet environment, avoiding fog on the windows.
Total : 70/70 (71/80 with wet handling)
Driving pleasure : 10/10
Everyday use : 7/10
The McLaren MP4-12C has met with brio the expectations of the Supertest. With the exception of the wet handling, it has reached top score in all categories, a rare achivement.
Performances does not disappoint, but it was expected from a 600 hp, 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 operating in conjunction with a double clutch gearbox:
Prior to the test, how would behave the complex avantgarde suspension/chassis was a big question mark. But convincing lap times on the one hand and satisfactory evidence of a perfectly mastered roll or ride comfort on the other hand show that McLaren has reached its claimed target.
- Test car had a sensor defect on the suspension on the first day of the test, which impacted its handling. Issues have been solved after repair (hence the comment in the Nürburgring paragraph).
- Braking performance is not fully convincing, in particular at low speed. The value registered at 100km/h does not compare favourably versus Porsche, Ferrari and Co. The concern is clearly not fading, but maybe mismatc between (ceramic) brakes and tires. ABS set-up issues.
- Baseprice: 200 000€ / test case price 262 311€, including ceramic brakes and sports tires.