McLaren steps up testing of its new supercar; performance figures to be revealed next month
23 February 2010

The head of the McLaren MP4-12C's development team has described the firm’s upcoming supercar as the most “stable high-speed car” he has ever driven.

A team of around 25 engineers and technicians, led by Mark Vinnels, are currently testing several Experimental Prototype (XP) MP4s around the world as development enters its final stages.

See McLaren MP4-12C pics

Vinnels said the MP4 was meeting all the objective and subjective targets the team had set the car and was performing well next to its rivals.

“These XP Beta cars are already achieving outstanding results in many of the subjective areas, which includes ride quality, handling and many other aspects of dynamic performance,” he said.

“The benchmark competitor vehicles we have tested become nervous and twitchy at higher speed, but the 12C feels more stable than anything I have driven. Because the bump rejection is so good, the ride is smooth and the steering is solid.”

The most recent additions to the latest MP4 prototypes include a revised iteration of the M838T twin-turbo engine, transmission featuring new gear ratios, a more efficient cooling package, new suspension geometry and upgraded electrical architecture.

McLaren hopes to announce early indicative performance figures for the MP4 next month.

“Between now and production the vehicles and the team are working flat out,” said Vinnels. “All this is geared towards not just achieving our unprecedented levels of performance but also guaranteeing the levels of quality, reliability and durability with which we expect to delight future McLaren customers.”

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Our Verdict

McLaren 12C

The McLaren 12C has extraordinary pace and handling, but is a touch clinical

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Comments
36

23 February 2010

I can't wait for this car to come out. It's development has been fascinating, because it's quite clearly a supercar who's development has been led by people who came from F1. Mclaren are more of an F1 team with a supercar business attached, whilst Ferrari seem to me to be a car company with an F1 team attached.

I'm not sure which way round works best, but that's what makes this exciting....

23 February 2010

This guy knows nothing about the history of Ferrari and the vision of Enzo, a guy who Tstag clearly has never heard of. If this thing is better than the 458 i will eat my ass.

23 February 2010

[quote sennadiditfirst]If this thing is better than the 458 i will eat my ass.[/quote]
In that case, someone needs to call the RSPCA...

23 February 2010

don't be a donkey

23 February 2010

or at least give him some salt first

23 February 2010

Ferrari stopped being an F1 team supported by a car division a long time ago - in fact about the time that the Old Man stopped vetting potential purchasers and starting selling cars to investment bankers.

Given that the McLaren F1 was a better car than the F40 or F50, what makes you think that the MP4-12C will not be better than the 458?

JP

23 February 2010

I sense that there will be a lot more pro-McLaren comments to come if some of the first few are anything to go by. Is that because the MP4-12C could actually be genuinely brilliant or because it's simply British?

The McLaren has all the ingredients to be best in class, but amongst all the science and maths, will it be too clinical and lack passion which Ferrari has in spades (in addition to all the whizz bang technology)? The F1 probably deserves it's status as the greatest supercar ever, but it doesn't stir the emotions like an F40, F50 or Enzo did.

And if looks are anything to go by the 458, in my eyes, wins hands down. The McLaren just looks like a late 80s/early90s concept sports car. Good looking but not a stunner.

Lets wait for a back to back comparison. I'd be happy to have either, but although it's not as good as either i'd still plump for a Gallardo given the choice!

23 February 2010

[quote Lanehogger]The McLaren has all the ingredients to be best in class, but amongst all the science and maths, will it be too clinical and lack passion which Ferrari has in spades (in addition to all the whizz bang technology)? The F1 probably deserves it's status as the greatest supercar ever, but it doesn't stir the emotions like an F40, F50 or Enzo did.

And if looks are anything to go by the 458, in my eyes, wins hands down. The McLaren just looks like a late 80s/early90s concept sports car. Good looking but not a stunner.[/quote]

That's the point - the McLaren will be an engineering masterpiece because that's what the company stands for and how it works. The Ferrari will be capable but it's as much for show as for go.

23 February 2010

[quote jprestidge] Given that the McLaren F1 was a better car than the F40 or F50, what makes you think that the MP4-12C will not be better than the 458?[/quote]

I would have hoped the F1 would be better than the F40 and F50, look at the price tag!

Well the F430 has went down as one of the best cars ever to drive, apparently this replacement (458) is far more advanced again, it'll hopefully be an interesting battle for the best supercar (Note not hyper car)

I'd still have a Gallardo mind.

DKW

23 February 2010

It would appear rump steak is on the menu.

Deciding which car is better will as ever depend on how you assess it.

The Ferrari in truth will be probably at least about impressing ones peers as it is about driving pleasure.

It is a measure of the faith people have in the standards and professionalism of McLaren that there are such high expectations of what is, apart from a one-off many years ago in a different market segment, almost a first atempt at a road car. While other road car newcomers will be expected to have dodgy interiors and partially developed dynamics, we expect, and will probably get, build quality and finish posibly better than Ferrari and cutting edge dynamics.

I hope they are concentrating hard on about the only thing that really matters, which is whether the car is a true pleasure to drive at speeds it's actually going to be driven at (between 0 and 100). It is after all being put forward primarily as a road car, not a track car.

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