Currently reading: Take it or leave it: why the McLaren 12C was a near-masterpiece
The McLaren 12C is our top used-car pick of the week

McLaren Automotive was in its infancy when the MP4-12C supercar came to fruition back in 2011.

With the Ferrari 458 at the top of the class in almost all calculable aspects, Woking had to pull out all the stops to build something special to beat the Italians at their own game.

Did it manage it? Almost. The McLaren MP4-12C (later shortened to 12C) was a near-masterpiece, and despite having surpassed a decade on the road, this supercar still stands out – now as a second-hand option that’s well worth considering.

Behind the driver sits a snarling 3.8-litre V8 engine that produces 592bhp and 442lb ft of torque. That’s enough to whizz you from 0-62mph in a staggering 3.3sec and on to a top speed of 205mph.

Not only did we describe the MP4- 12C as “ferociously, apocalyptically quick”, but it was also ever so slightly faster than its Italian rival, which could complete 0-62mph in 3.4sec and had a 202mph top speed.

98 Mclaren 12c front quarter

The MP4-12C wasn’t all about speed, though. It was based on a bespoke carbonfibre tub with all-independent double-wishbone suspension, which meant it was able to adapt to all road surfaces with ease, with levels of comfort equal to the most comfortable saloons.

In all, with class-leading comfort, excellent steering and a rousing engine, the MP4-12C is a fine all-round package indeed.

The 458 does come out on top in some areas, mind you. Its interior is of higher quality and the driving experience was far more visceral, thanks to aspects such as its soulful engine note. Our testers found that the McLaren suffered from turbo lag on track and occasional understeer.

What the McLaren certainly does have over the Ferrari is used prices on its side. We found a 2011 car with 15,000 miles on the clock for £79,500 – less than half its original £168,500 price and some £45,000 cheaper than a used 458. It has been through four owners, but it comes with a full service history and Volcano Red paint.

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Verdict: Take it

Chrysler Delta

97 Chysler delta front quarter

£3495: This rebadged Lancia Delta is a far cry from the 1980s rally hero we all love. It’s certainly uniquely styled, and its 1.4-litre petrol engine is competent, but its overall refinement, quality and practicality are unimpressive. This is a tidy example, despite its 96,000 miles, but its character flaws mean we would avoid it.

Verdict: Leave it

Suzuki Jimny

96 Suzuki jimny front quarter

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£3995: Good things really do come in the smallest of packages, and this Suzuki is our case in point. Our find is a 2003 JLX, driven by a 1.3-litre petrol engine. It’s not quick, of course (0-62mph takes more than 13sec), but it’s a reliable runner and a great choice as a beginner off-roader. It has just 35,000 miles on the clock, too.

Verdict: Take it

Skoda Citigo

95 Skoda citigo front quarter

£3990: This Skoda looks like it could be the perfect first car for a youngster. It has sporty gloss black wheels to contrast with its white paint and has driven only 34,000 miles. That price looks inviting, but a history check shows it’s been involved in a Category S incident, meaning it suffered damage to its frame or chassis.

Verdict: Leave it

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macboy 24 June 2022

Interesting comments on the Mclaren 12c because, for many owners, it was a terrible car when it was launched - virtually a beta test car with the number of issues and technical concerns.

Davejavue 24 June 2022

Where do we see these cars ? Why don't you add a link so we can go straight to the car ? Can't see that Jimny anywhere online 

BenzinBob 24 June 2022

I agree. Nothing wrong with this, other than its pointless.