World’s Sexiest Car: the McLaren MP4-12C

February 22nd, 2012

McLaren MP4-12C, front

There’s something about the word “sexy” as applied to cars that in my book just doesn’t cut it. But what else is there to describe the McLaren, now finally coming to the U.S.? “Sensuous”? “Gorgeous”? Get outta here.

We’ve ogled this car before and discussed some of its innovations and performance. Built to compete with the Ferrari 458 Italia, the MP4-12C outclasses it in everything but its name—if only slightly. In exclusivity and style, however, the McLaren clobbers anything on the road.

And yet some idiot tuners, like John Hennessey of Texas, insist on gilding the lily and making a sow’s purse out of a silk ear. Not content with 592 stock horsepower, Hennessey boosts it to 800, adds carbon-fiber aero doodads and so on, to extort more money from you. Stock, the MP4-12C will start at $231,400; no price yet on the Hennessey.

Other tuners with better taste have left the basic design alone, simply adding bigger rims and performance items, while making a sharp car look even better. Wheelsandmore, a German tuning shop, did boost hp to 666 and torque to 472 lb-ft. It sells separate performance parts for McLaren and other rare breeds. Photos above and after the break.

McLaren MP4-12C, rearThere are also some great photos of McLarens over the years here. The company is reportedly planning a hardtop convertible 12C Spider.

So, if you had the bread, why would you want one of these cars? It all comes back (or maybe not) to sexy. If, however, you’re old enough to have accumulated sufficient capital to make this purchase, chances are you ain’t all that sexy.

Will driving a sexy car make you sexy? Certainly not, in my opinion, though many obviously think so. One commenter on my earlier post about this car preferred the Ferrari Italia over the McLaren with this logic: “Face it, the vast majority of people who would see me driving the car don’t know what a McLaren is anyway, but can recognize the Ferrari logo.”

Yeah, that’s why poor ghetto kids wear Ferrari T-shirts. I firmly believe the vast majority of people who buy this car would do so for its exclusivity, which is even greater than the Italia’s, and that’s what will sell it.

The speed tuners exist because their versions, while virtually undriveable on the street, are still more exclusive.

Does exclusivity, in any price range, matter to you when buying a car? Be honest.

—jgoods

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  1. February 23rd, 2012 at 20:59 | #1

    Exclusivity is ver nice but depends on how you defined that. Exclusivity as luxury is always nice and when ever i buy a car I want that because I dont want to be driving down the street and I see 4 more cars like mine next to each other.

  2. Randy
    February 22nd, 2012 at 20:01 | #2

    The McClaren will only impress other motorheads. The Ferarri impresses everyone. Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t love to have a McLaren, just not that one.

  3. February 22nd, 2012 at 15:15 | #3

    I think some exclusivity is nice, but only for the right reasons. You wouldn’t want to be the only one on your block, at work, etc. with an old, rusty, unreliable car, now would you?

    On a more positive note, some exclusivity – even just exclusivity of color – also makes your car a bit easier to spot in a parking lot or wherever else (could be good or bad depending on your point of view). You don’t see nearly as many bright red cars as silver/gray ones, for example.

  1. February 27th, 2012 at 10:26 | #1
  2. April 9th, 2012 at 13:01 | #2