After a wait for a few issues to be sorted by the dealer I picked her up this afternoon, and, WOW!
The McLaren has a lot more visual appearance on the road than any photo's portray, and has quite a stance. The interior fit and finish is very good, better than the Ferrari's, exterior fit and finish is probably on par.
I happened to be driving my GTO and California this morning, and got straight out of those and into the MP4-12C. The first thing I noticed is how small the McLaren feels compared to the Ferrari's, but its actual size is slightly bigger than a California.
The MP4 feels much more nimble than the GTO, but most of that will be down to the weight difference. The MP4 is certainly quicker than the GTO once it gets going, and it pulls like nothing I have driven before once you get to 4500rpm all the way to 8500rpm. However I would guess from a standing start the GTO would pull away, as the GTO just sits down and goes off the line with no wheelspin at all, whereas the McLaren gets a lot of wheelspin and needs to be modulated, I assume due to the turbo torque kicking in. Once the McLaren is up to 80mph or so then it would start to pull away at quite some speed from the GTO. The McLaren really IS quick once rolling and I would be amazed if at motorway speeds anything bar a Veyron would currently pass it (except modified cars
Oh, and one thing I was not expecting! The noise!!!! I have the optional sports lightweight exhaust and inside the cabin the exhaust/engine noise is much louder than the GTO, not sure how that compares outside - I would guess the GTO is louder.
I drove the GTO and MP4 back to back on my local twisty hilly roads and the MP4 does handle better than I expected. In comparison the GTO just simply sticks and does not slide very much at all unless properly provoked or driven in a very agressive manner, whereas I found the MP4 to be a little more playful than the GTO but still very well balanced, and the GTO would have its work cut out trying to keep up with the MP4 on the twisties.
Ride is very good, nicely sprung and still dampened to what you would expect. Sometimes feels a but floaty but only in a straight line over undulations, paint finish is very good, better than Aston, Ferrari.
And the not so good bits:
- Seats don't have enough adjustment for height and backrest (and these are the optional electric memory ones)
- interior does feel a bit small, but then as a plus it makes the car feel smaller than it is
- TURBO LAG! Below 3000rpm the small engine does show through. You really have to be above 3000rpm all the time otherwise it feels like I am driving my smart car. There really is virtually no get up and go at all compared to my similar cars. Even compared to my California and C63 AMG below 2000rpm its lousy and between 2000 and 3000rpm its just about on par. To be fair my other cars are NA, but you know its a turbo engined car in the McLaren. And once the power does come on when you back off to brake at say 6000rpm it feels as if the power is still being delivered for a very short amount of time, as if the turbo is still 'un-spooling' which I found a little strange.
- Throttle response leaves a little to be desired. Maybe harsh comparing it with the GTO which is just perfect, but I did expect a little better.
- I wont mention the 'launch car' issues as these have been mentioned in other posts, but they did detract from the experience.
Overall, even with the items above it is a still a great car, and something for McLaren to be proud of. Yes its not perfect, but some of the issues above could be sorted out over time. My main gripes are with the turbo lag and responsiveness, and should be issues that can be fixed.
Some may say its not fair to compare to a 599 GTO which costs over £110k more than the MP4-12C, but its just my way of comparing to what I know very well (>7000 miles on my GTO now and numerous track days).
The MP4 will be put through the same paces as my other cars so it will be interesting to see how it develops with some use and track days.
Some crappy iPhone photos: