A selection of customer reports available on McLaren Life forum.
14 DAYS / 1000 MILES (ROUNDINCIRCLES) link
My background is motorcycles (15,000 miles a year) and mainly non-turbo 911's plus a Q5 as a daily drive.
The MP12 astonishes me with its explosive and continual thrust and is the closest to a motorcycle in overtake ability. I have recalibrated my overtakes but have been concerned that other road users will not expect a car to come by … remember in the UK the roads are narrow if you want to avoid heavy traffic. It is such a strong engine and goads you into speeds that … well constantly surprise. Fantastic fun.
The engine will deliver what you request with your right foot, fast and slow and anything in between as the fuelling, when warm, is pretty good. It returned 28 mpg on an 80 mile trip around the M25 today, 19 mpg overall and 15 mpg in town with 7 to 15 mpg when driven as it should be.
I was prepared to dislike the loss of a stick shift but have realised that the paddles are the future for quick and precise gear changes. It is a great box albeit some software development in low gear auto mode will improve it. The speed of changes is impressive and allows more focus on placing the car and reading the road.
Can't make my mind up regarding the iron brakes and need more screen time. Certainly the low speed modulation could be better as the peddle needs a fairly heavy foot but the high speed retardation is good.
I have been impressed by the dash board controls and information, very clear graphics and information.
The ride quality continues to astound me and I struggle with the straight line plushness … it's not like any other bone jarring high performance car. The cornering capability is way beyond anything this side of a TGV train and I would welcome some instruction and or track time to get up the learning curve.
Niggles: The bloody door closure which was adjusted today and made a huge difference … just a small adjustment to the strike plate on both doors.
The front wheels machine gun the paint so a full wrap is essential in my view. The paint chips easily.
FALB ON ENGINE NOISE AND BRAKE STEER link
I also opted for the sport exhaust. Love the inconel, hate the induction noise pipe- that thing is getting taken out for sure. Without the induction noise pipe the car sounds perfect inside and out. It would be good to figure out how to get the clear markers in the states. I guess I should start by asking Beverly Hills.
After getting some seat time and getting the feel for brake-steer and the brake diff it all makes so much sense. It is absolutely awesome. Just pitch the car into a turn and even though the outside front wheel is protesting the car just turns in… then turn the wheel a little more and it just rotates into the apex. Fantastic! On the roads it is silly... pitch the car hard over with the wheel and it just lasers in to the turn, slick roads, cold tires etc… Most cars will just slide around as you search for grip, this one finds it for you.
A FEW NIGGLES BY MONCHO link
1. The parking sensors are no good for curbs. Can't rely on them at all. Found out the hard way.
2. Radio is useless. Horrible reception. Hopefully it can be fixed, but seems like an antenna problem, rather than software. Have not tried Ipod.
3. Does not like stop and go traffic (me neither!). Very jerky and gear hunting in auto. Stuck with 2nd on manual and was better.
4. Annoying that seat does not return to previous position upon entry. Need to press and hold memory button each time.
I know it sounds like a lot of complaints, but they're really minor considering how awesome the car drives. I definitely won't miss my R8!
8 DAYS, 900 MILES (TEXAS MONGREL) link
So now I've had mine for a week, and have put over 900 miles on it, rain or shine, freeways, b-roads and even dirt roads. I've gone grocery shopping in it and generally used it as my only car since last Thursday afternoon. The simple fact that I could do this in a 200+mph supercar shows just what an amazing vehicle this is - absolutely comfortable, civilised, and even fairly economical - I've got around 16 - 18 mpg US (or about 20-ish Imperial mpg). Observations; its my first performance car with the paddle shift etc, and at first I really missed the direct connection with the car via a gearbox and clutch. However the more I drove, the more I liked the Jeckyl and Hyde nature of the 'box - slushy when you feel like it and 'time-travel' when you shift down a few cogs. I find the car very nicely sized for back road driving, although it sometimes feels like J-Lo, i.e. I'm aware of a big butt behind me! I only have two beefs with this machine; 1) the frackkin' doors are a PITA - I guarantee that in a years' time they'll rattle like hell because the only way to close them is to slam the s**t out of them! Maybe this will improve as the seals flatten out, but for now it’s bloody annoying. However, my biggest beef is 2) the radio: It is the most crap piece of junk I've ever listened to. I could go out and buy a $7K Kia and get a better radio. How could McLaren get this so wrong... and then charge a big premium for a "Meridian" sound system. It's frigging ridiculous to have such a poor piece of hardware in such a technical tour de force!
Quick update: I've been alternating between the Mac and the FGT in my daily drive to work, and it’s made for some interesting comparisons. The GT is way lower, but has more ground clearance - no need for careful approaches to parking ramps. Believe it or not, the GT is much easier to get in and out of. The GT cockpit is roomier but in the Mac my hair isn't constantly being tickled by the roof. It’s so nice to have a functioning radio in the GT. It’s nice to be able to put my morning Starbucks in a cupholder in the Mac, rather than in one of those cardboard trays that I have to use in the GT. But all this is minutiae; the big issues are ride and speed: the MP is just astoundingly comfortable compared to the GT - no kidney jiggling ride or road noise. And, whilst its fun to play with a gear stick again, and the GT feels more immediate, a look at the speedo tells otherwise - on my normal route, hard down in the GT at a light feels like a solid rush of power that gets me up to around 40 very quickly, but do the same in the Mac and look down at the readout and its saying 65! This is such a deceiving car to drive, way quicker and faster than it feels.
ANOTHER 1000 KM REPORT (THUNDER) link
Very impressive. Pretty amazing achievement for McLaren.
My frame of reference: Current cars are 2012 AMG E63 TT, 2012 GT-R, 2011 Mercedes SLS, 2009 Scuderia, 2011 458 / Recent other cars are 2010 Jaguar XFR, 2007 Porsche GT3, 2010 Porsche Turbo, 2009 Lambo Gallardo Spider, 2010 Audi R8 V10, 2009 Aston Martin DB9, 2010 ZR1
I like the McLaren. Quite unique. Neat technology insertion. I also think that almost everything that had been written about the car (both positive and negative) is absolutely accurate. It just depends on the perspective of, and the prior experiences of the writer/driver.
Here is what I see as the positives: Exceptionally well put together, great paint job and body work, great detail and finish on the interior / Feels solid/durable - has an almost Germanic feel to it / Great engine - feels very strong. Pulls more G Force in each gear than any of my other cars - ties with the GT-R. One of the fastest cars on the planet / Great ride in "normal" mode / Seems to handle very well. Good steering feel and feedback - but to be fair, in winter conditions it has been hard to discern any subtle advantages that this car undoubtedly has over other comparable cars. Amazing traction in cold weather for a 2 wheel drive car / Looks very good in person. Has a clean but exotic look. Very planted looking / Easy and pleasant to drive.
What I don't like so much: Doors look cool, but make getting in and out a challenge (Surprisingly more difficult than the SLS) / Interior is pretty plain/dull in the black motif. After seeing the early pictures, I chose red accents to liven it up and am very glad I did that / The turbo is very strong and torquey, but definitely not nearly as sharp/responsive as the better naturally aspirated engines / The theoretical/advertised low fuel consumption is a myth, if the car is driven with equal briskness as the naturally aspirated engines (which is how I would hope most of us would drive a car like this). If driven like a family car, probably gets closer to the theoretical mileage / The pre-cog function is useful on down-shifts as it prepares the transmission to move in a direction that it is not expecting, and in fact I think this transmission executes the downshifts as well or better than any other I have driven. On the upshifts, the two-step (pre-cog) process slows things down unnecessarily, and makes the transmission less responsive than the best current twin-clutch transmissions / I opted for the sport exhaust, and that is the one option I regret - it makes lots of noise - but it is not good noise. Lots of droning in the Sport or Track modes.
WRT the shift speed, if you are accustomed to something like a Porsche PDK or Merceded SLS, the shits speed feels pretty quick. However, if one has become accustomed to to the newer GT-R (which is a daily driver for me), or the 458, on which I have over 7000km, you'll immediatley become sensitized to the (admittedly very short) pause from starting to move your right fingers, till the job is complete. As an example, on the 458, just for fun (or to show off to passengers), you can shift from 1-2-3-4 before even getting accross a 4 normal lane intersection while accelerating pretty briskly. And yes, I am hoping that the droning is from the piped in system, as I plan to experiment with plugging or disabling it as some point.
On fuel consumption, I agree that driven at steady cruising speeds, or like a mature adult, it is/can be quite good. With this type of car, however, I seldom take it anywhere that involves steady cruising for any period of time- I tend to find every opportunity to accelerate, turn and decelerate quickly that I can, and then do it all over again an again! Under those circumstances, ie. when using all of the 500-600 hp, I have found that every one of the cars I have had, whether supercharged, turbo or normally aspirated, get in the range of 20-25 liters/100km, or 12-14 MPG. Interestingly, at the track, they all get 7-9 mpg.
As to ingress/egress, I have tried various methods, and the way that works best for me (mediun size - 60 year old guy), is to drop my ass backwards into the seat, then rotate both legs in - that way I do not bang into the door every other time. Not a really big deal - definitely easily done - my point was that given the "everyday supercar" designation, scissor doors are not really the natural choice. I do like the "sense of occasion" they provide however, which I think frankly is far more important for a supercar experience than how easy/friendly it is to drive.
Other contributors’ comments
Interesting to note how many people (me included) who don’t like the artificial induction noise. Me thinks McLaren got it right, out of the box and Mr Harry Metcaffe and co. (motor journalists to everyone else) don’t live in the real world. I am seriously considering having this feature disabled and think that McLaren should offer it as a no cost option and not saddle the dealers with the cost of rectifying their knee jerk reaction to some unjustified press. By Zippycar.
I will have reached my 600 miles tomorrow and my biggest gripe with the car, aside from the stereo, are the doors. In a car costing this much money and not a pared down special like an F1; F40, etc., it should not be an acquired art to open and close the (bloody!) doors. Quite often I have to give up swiping and use the key to get in, very uncool and annoying and then there is the, will I, wont I, close the door first time from the inside - invariably not. How many other cars have you driven, when opening and closing the doors was even a conscious operation? Passengers never get it right and often go from too little, to, way too much. How much weight would have been added to motorise closing the final 10mm of the doors? Not much I’m sure, if McLaren did it. By Zippycar.
So, I just finished a little run on a free German Motorway. Contrary to a track, going constantly at speeds mostly well over 200km/h. I am still grinning, amazing experience. When I drove, I got the sense that this car just wants to go, go, go... even after 250 km/h you still have this sense of forward movement. When I needed to break, the car was amazingly stable and solid. It truly is the best car I ever had, and I do own some neat cars...
When in normal mode, one can have easy discussions even at over 200 km/h, and you have a smooth ride. Similar feeling in my quick limo (Audi S8, which is built for rides like this). This is great and useful, as I am not always in play mode but want to get quickly from A to B. Of course, what made me grin was in Sports Handling and Track Powertrain setting. Gears slamming in, great accelerating sound. Yet comfy ride... OUT OF THIS WORLD...
A couple of observations, I wonder what others think:
a) Fuel Consumption & Gauge: Rode the car at 210km/h AVERAGE speed for about a 100km stretch. Half empty tank got into "you must fill up now". But when I filled it up, I only got 55l of fuel in to fill it up. I think the display gets it wrong. The minute thy system showed to go get fuel, I had no remaining range shown to me, which is odd. But given the very different fuel consumptions, a remaining range gauge is useless in my point of view. If a software upgrade can be made, I would do a "remaining liter/gallons" gauge, as I certainly know that this car uses 25 to 30 l / 100km if driven hard, and only when cruising at below 140km/h the car uses much less fuel. Such gauge would also be useful for track use!
b) Doors: I know, after my several knee surgeries, I cannot bend my knees well, usually no-one notices. I guess with these doors, I look very old getting in and out, I can live with this. Yet I also have to slam them doors down as if there were no tomorrow to get them closed alright. So not only do I look old by getting into the car, I also look stupid for usually having three tries to get the doors closed. Hope this will easen a bit...
c) Gear Box: When cruising in normal mode, it feels at times as if the car goes to sleep. When you then need a bit more power (perhaps just one gear downwards or just some more torque to accelerate a BIT not a JUMP),you push down just a little on the gas-pedal, and nothing happens (mainly at 60 to 80km/h when in 7th gear). When you then push down a bit more all of a sudden you get a tiger jumping at you. Would be nice to have something in between in normal mode - for sport and track the response is instant and immediate, and somewhat as expected. Also, when cruising at very low speed (10-30 km/h), it almost feels like the clutch is constantly at work, and at times you get this whacky behaviour (similar to the early lambos with automatic clutch). Makes you look like a very stupid driver... but its the car, not me...
The sound system needs a serious upgrade, in my point of view. By Cardan.