Tweaks to MP4-12C are designed to give the new supercar a stronger emotional pull
20 July 2011

The first McLaren MP4-12Cs to reach customers this week will come with a raft of changes designed to bolster the “emotional appeal” of the new £168,500 supercar.

McLaren has been stung by criticism from the car’s press launch. Almost all the world’s major automotive press, including Autocar, placed the MP4-12C below the Ferrari 458 Italia in tests because it lacked the aural drama and sense of occasion to match its pace and dynamic ability.

See pics of the McLaren MP4-12C

Chief among the changes are an improved throttle response and a “fruitier” exhaust note. A McLaren spokesman said these were changes that had been planned anyway, but the press criticism — and McLaren’s “Formula 1 mentality” — had “upped the pace” of development.

“We want drivers to enjoy the car a bit more,” he said. “The changes don’t lead to any performance increase, but they do lead to an emotional increase when you drive the car.”

Read our full road test of the McLaren MP4-12C

The changes apply only when the MP4-12C is in Track mode. Many of the tweaks are to the car’s Intake Sound Generator, which controls the amount of noise coming from the engine bay into the cabin. A tube containing a butterfly valve runs from the engine’s plenum chamber to the cabin. The valve now opens wider in Track mode.

“It was a bit too sensible before,” said the spokesman, “You won’t notice the changes in normal mode, just when you’re really having fun and pushing it.”

Mark Tisshaw

See all the latest McLaren reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Seat Leon ST Cupra 2.0 TSI 4Drive 300PS DSG
    First Drive
    28 April 2017
    Seat's fastest Leon ST is fun to drive quickly and has enough space for all the family, but VW's own Golf R Estate is even better to drive
  • Porsche 911 GT3 manual 2017 review
    First Drive
    28 April 2017
    The new 911 GT3 is an excellent machine; does the addition of a manual gearbox make it even better?
  • Skoda Karoq
    First Drive
    28 April 2017
    The Yeti has morphed into the Karoq for its second generation, and this early drive reveals a solid, practical small SUV that could challenge the class best
  • Opel Ampera-e
    First Drive
    27 April 2017
    Opel's second-generation Ampera is smaller than the first, and now purely electric. It's also very capable with a remarkable range
  • Lotus Elise Sprint
    First Drive
    27 April 2017
    The latest incarnation of the Elise may be out of its depth on track, but on the public road it is probably the purest version since the original