When we first drove the McLaren MP4-12C in 2011 'clinical' was the word which sprang to mind, especially when comparing it to its closest rival, the Ferrari 458 Italia. It was faster, cheaper and lighter than the Italian, but lacked that emotive connection and drama.
Now, though, seven years on and below £100,000, could the MP4-12C be the best possible entry point into supercar ownership?
McLaren's PR originally described the 12C as an 'and' car - one that rides AND handles better than any rival, has better visibility AND more luggage space, while producing more performance AND fewer emissions. Remember, this was McLaren's first foray into making a mass production supercar and they weren't going to be beaten: the 12C's 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 gave it 30hp and 44lb ft more than a 458, but it also weighed 50kg less. Ok, maybe the 458 sounded better, but the 12C was considered a more capable all-rounder.
That capability came from the suspension system which used active dampers and hydraulics to provide roll control, whilst the open diff with brake steer system - brought to the road by the F1 arm of the company - aided traction through corners. Link those up with a rigid carbon fibre tub and seven-speed automatic gearbox, and the 12C went down a British road like nothing else.
This 2012 car comes in Volcano Red - the best colour - with black leather interior and Alcantara inserts. It's also still got four months of McLaren warranty, providing a worry-free post-purchase period. If something with a more sonorous soundtrack is what you're after, a Maserati Gran Turismo Sport or Audi R8 V10 Plus could do the trick, but the MP4-12C is in a different league to drive. As the most technologically advanced and rarest car at this price point, having once been the least emotive choice amongst its peers, it now finds itself as one of the few truly exotic supercars in a field of 'merely' super-GT alternatives.
SPECIFICATION - MCLAREN MP4-12C
Engine: 3,799cc, V8 twin-turbo
Transmission: seven speed dual clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 600@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 442@3,000-7,000rpm
First registered: 2012
Recorded mileage: 28,000 miles
Price new: £168,500
Price now: £98,995
See the full advert here.