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1,500 miles in the first 48 hours - smitten

3904 Views 18 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  brotherharry
So I finally took delivery (chassis 1427) on Friday. Drove off the forecourt at 3pm and pointed North. The plan: get the running in done over the first weekend by driving to the Scottish Highlands and back. Now the official running in page of the manual says use mix of revs, and engine load for the first 1000km and don't thrash from cold. Game on.

The first 130 miles were spent doing what I suspect most supercars would hate: crawling up the M6 motorway in stop start traffic on a Friday afternoon but she coped brilliantly. Quiet, comfortable, sitting in auto mode burbling along. Loads of attention and positive reactions from people around me (interestingly pretty much all the petrolhead cars I saw on my motorway travels would pull alongside for a thumbs up/play but of the 3 Ferraris I saw, none of them did. Just sayin').

Once beyond the urban sprawls and into the Peak district, the roads opened up and so did the throttle and the heavens making it a very rainy introduction to living with a supercar in the real world. Again, coped brilliantly - nay imperiously with the conditions. Adhering religiously to the manual I was 'forced' to indulge in a range of revs and gear selections;). I used this chore as an excuse to test out how noisy the inconel exhaust is in the various modes. Anything outside normal powertrain setting, but below 3500 rpm was pretty uncomfortable to live with particularly just cruising. Work the engine though and the steady drone vanishes and the soundtrack becomes much more livable (and very noisy).

I overnighted North of Glasgow near Crianlarich in a great little B&B set well back and secluded from the main road before heading out early for a full day of driving on some brilliant roads around the Highlands before finally heading back South on Sunday. Even managed to hook up with an splinter group of Scottish Elise owners club hooning around Applecross.

Stuff I loved
  • Seeing heat haze in the rear view mirror
  • Beautifully damped indicator/wiper stalks, nice weight
  • Using only half throttle in higher gears is still plenty fast enough
  • Using full throttle in lower is visceral and laugh out loud
  • Reactions from public
  • She looks stunning
  • Whooshes, chirps and whistles from the turbos
  • Knowing I’ve barely scratched the surface of the performance capabilities

Some thoughts
  • Love the feel of the gear selector paddles in metal, couldn’t help wondering by comparison that the handling/powertrain, air-con rotary controlsvand mirrors/lights switches feel a bit cheap by comparison – too plastic-y. If they were aluminium and had a bit more weight to them would be more consistent haptic touch point
  • I started experimenting with Pre-cog and think I could detect a difference in changes, would be nice to have some indication that pre-cog is ‘active’ to give confirmation to driver – flashing gear number in right hand display screen or a little bite point or resistance from the paddles maybe?
  • I loaded a USB stick with WAV files for best quality uncompressed music, each album in a separate folder. I also had on there a few MP3 files as comparisons. The system only picked up the artist and albums names that were MP3 (because of the ID tags), but it listed all the WAVs as individual songs based on their filename. The search function only works on tagged files. In my RS4, the system would treat each physical folder of files as a separate ‘album’ – making things much easier to navigate.
  • I’d like to have FLAC file format support for media which is a lossless format that also incorporates tags in the same way MP3 files do. All my current collection is in FLAC format
  • Dropping gears whilst in anything other than track mode and using pre-cog seemed to produce a noticeable pause before engaging and power becoming available. E.g. cruising along in 4th and dropping to 3rd for an quick overtake was a bit clunky. Paddle, pause, revs, gear, go. Maybe it’s the expectation of the speed of upshifts being so fast that the downshifts don’t seem to have the same instant change in power delivery. In normal or sport modes I think I became more aware of the computer just having a pause to check itself before engaging the next gear.

I'll post seperately in the Meridian thread on sound quality

Finally, and this is probably nothing that can be done given the nature of the semi-automatic box, a ‘blip’ option would be awesome for when driving through town and you spy a petrolhead jesturing wildly at you. In a manual car, you can dip the clutch and give it some revs, before re-engaging gear. I confess I didn’t test this but there’s probably no way to select neutral whilst on the move and do the same in a 12C. Yeah, yeah, I know a bright orange supercar isn't show off enough....:D

Enjoy the pictures, more on my Flickr here

McLaren Orange
Standard Wheels in Stealth with MO callipers
Stealth Pack
Sports Exhaust
Carbon Vanes, Mirrors and Interior
Alcantara Interior with Contrast Orange Stitching
MSO Custom Zoned Black Outers McLaren Orange Inner Seats
MSO Alcantara Rimmed Steering Wheel with Contrast Orange Stitching
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Looks great Harry but does pre cog still exist or not - I confess I dont know on the new paddle arrangement whether it does or not. On the original paddle set up it was very obvious now not so.
Good point. That's certainly a possibility that it's been quietly dropped from config. It's still mentioned in the manual that came with my car though which made me think still present somehow
How did it behave on original paddle set up?
Harry, how do you find the handling and the brakes compared to your past Cayman R?
I think that the two are actually fairly similar in style; both feel very agile, very flat cornering, can place them well, turn in is great. The Cayman felt like it's steering feel was slightly more talkative and overall feels a touch more 'immediate' with instant reactions. Mine was a manual car too so there was a more visceral connection to power train. From memory the Porsche had more squat at the rear when exiting corners which was great sensation.

Thinking back I didn't spend much time on the brakes;) so can't pass much of a judgement there, but they are both solid and have good progression. I live In a city stuffed with roundabouts linked by dual carriageways (AKA chicanes) so plenty of opportunity to work on exploring them further...

Because the Cayman had 'only' 325bhp I found myself using more of it all the time, in fact I'd go so far as to say you can use all of it all the time, whereas with twice the oomph on tap in the 12C it requires a little more thought and talent and so perhaps you spend less time in the 9/10ths zone - you're still travelling ridiculously quickly but only accessing 2/3rds of the cars repertoire.

As I said in my notes, the 12C will take longer to get to know because it's sheer capabilities are so much deeper but crucially the car gives me the same level of confidence as the Porsche. The Cayman R is a great car and genuinely all you'd ever need for driving thrills, but the McLaren takes that and adds exotic looks and performance to the spell - which more than makes up for the splitting hairs degrees of immediacy and 'always on' style of the Porsche.
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Helps when you have a gorgeous car and great surroundings:cool:
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