It's hard to know what to think about the McLaren 12C. Here's a car which was widely lauded when new, but also criticised for lacking that little extra something. It's a car, too, which some aspiring enthusiasts struggle to get excited about, perhaps because it lacks the visual drama of, say, a Ferrari 458 Italia. Yet it's also a car which is beloved by its owners, who boast of a suite of talents more rounded than any supercar of its ilk - and unbeatable at the price.
What price is that, then? Well, for a long time the 12C has hovered around the £100,000 mark, which has made it seem good value versus the Ferrari, but rather pricier than an R8 V10 or a 911 Turbo. Of course, the counter-argument to that last point goes that the Macca is a class above either of those rivals; a genuine supercar with F1 technology and knowledge running through its veins.
The thing is, 12C prices are again, gradually, dropping. As evinced by this example - the cheapest we've yet seen online, and as far as we can tell, the bottom of the market in the UK at the moment. Granted, it isn't the most desirable 12C going - it's an early example, badged MP4-12C and introduced before a raft of upgrades that gave the model more sparkle.
Nevertheless, an early MP4-12C is still a very tempting thing at less than £80k. This is, lest we forget, about than the cost of an entry-level 911 with a couple of options on it. And the 12C is just as usable, too, as many of its owners will attest - fuel consumption is reasonable, seats are comfortable, and around town it's considerably less tricky than its Italian rival, while still offering the same level of pace and involvement out on the open road, or as near as makes no difference.
Downsides? Well, these aren't unreliable cars, but they are costly to fix when they do go wrong. McLaren parts are notoriously expensive, and independent specialists are few and far between, meaning you'll probably want to take it back to the dealer for work to be done, all of which is a pricey business. But McLaren's extended warranty is comprehensive, and covers cars aged up to 12 years old. So factor in the cost of extending it each year and an annual service - you should see change back from five grand all-in - and you shouldn't have any unpleasant surprise to worry about. And let's face it - running a 458 isn't exactly a business for the faint-of-wallet.
All of which makes this 12C a very tempting prospect. To hell with the naysayers; this is a bona fide McLaren supercar for a very reasonable price, and a proper supercar with a motorsport pedigree that you can nevertheless use every day, should the mood take you. All this for £80k? Where do we sign?
SPECIFICATION: MCLAREN MP4-12C
Engine: 3,799cc V8 twin-turbo
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 600@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 443@3,000-6,500rpm
First registered: 2012
Recorded mileage: 29,000
Price new: £168,500
Yours for: £79,995
See the original advert here.