There have been a number of blog pieces comparing the MP4-12C to the Ferrari 458 Italia, including this one, and most give the edge to the McLaren. A lot depends on who’s doing the comparing, of course.
McLaren gave the car to some media folks to drive at the great Autodromo circuit in Portugal, and we’ll show you the video after the break. Interesting to watch their facial expressions. Jenson Button, a great F1 driver, also demonstrates.
We’ve written a lot (here and here) about the McLaren, because it’s a car with enormous potential and a great developmental history. It’s also going to be sold in the U.S. at the end of this summer for a sticker price of $231,400, which makes it a clear bargain in the rarefied world of highest-performing sportscars.
What do you get for that kind of bread? Well, first year’s production will be limited to 1,000 cars, so that gives you some exclusivity. The MP4-12C will get you to 60 mph in about 3 seconds and to 120 mph in 9. If you keep pushing with your right foot, the car will reach 205 mph.
By all reports, it is an outstanding handler, featuring something called
Brake Steer, which applies a discerning brake selection system, and an electro-hydraulic anti-roll system, which allows the car to comfortably maintain a balanced and flat ride while taking sharp corners or absorbing minor bumps along the road. Finally, the McLaren’s Active Dynamics Panel allows the driver to select among three suspension modes, depending on driving situations.
The chassis is largely carbon-fiber, as in F1 machines, and it’s very strong and light in weight. A good description of how carbon-fiber is made and used in this car is here.
McLaren was formed as a racing venture, and the company continues in that vein. The racing equivalent of the 12C is the new MP4-12C GT3 Porsche-killer, recently unveiled testing in Spain.
Okay, hot shoes: Which would you prefer—the 458 Italia or the MP4-12C? You already know how we would vote.