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7500 KM Report - But, what is it like?

3153 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  AugustWest
What a summer! The Spider is here, the Mega Mac is on the way. But what of our humble 12C coupe - the embattled carbon soldier that paved the way for this global conquest? Still doing so, I should say. Yes, the discussion is now dominated by opinions about residuals. And non-swipe doors, or the odd remaining teething issue here, and there. But will history care about any of that? I was 10 years old when I saw my first Ferrari. Probably smelt it, too, running rich as they were. I remember the moment clear as day. So, who is writing for the kids, or the fans? For those searching for any vicarious fix and indeed any answer to the ever-nagging thought - what is it like to own and drive a McLaren? I'll try...

It is ethereal. Utterly so - but I will get to that in a minute. There is an analogy that needs exploring, first. Remember the first time you drove an automobile? Not necessarily a sports car, but the first time you literally put hand to shift lever and foot to clutch. What sensation, this! You'd already imagined how it would feel, through hours of studying Dad's gear-changes from the passenger seat, watching his every move, feeling the car react underneath you. Yes, you'd known you were a "petrol-head", a "car guy" for years already, anxiously waiting for the day when the car would respond to your own meticulous gestures. For Dad was good, but you could do better - inside you knew it, no question. So, now here you are! But what are these linkages I'm feeling? Of course! How could I not realize that the parts beneath the gear lever and pedals, the parts attached all the way from the steering wheel to the very rolling wheels at each corner - they are all connected! And, in an instant, something that was seemingly so familiar was exploded - like a supernova - into a world of new possibilities. The known became unknown, again, and you changed that day, didn't you. This car, this object of our species' creation, it is so much more than I thought!

That is what it is like, the McLaren. It takes your inputs and throws them in the face of your predilections. It says simply Yes I am aware that you were expecting something familiar and relatively relaxing for your brain to consume, but we have more exciting topics to cover today. Like the older kid on your block that beckoned, "meet me after school, we'll blow this joint and I'll show you some things you've only heard about." Indeed, the first few weeks will be spent running in the motor, the next few after that spent exploring the redline. What does 8500 RPM feel like on a twin turbo V8? Well, you have to clarify - do you have a seamless shift gearbox at your disposal, or not? If you do, then this may be your orientation, like Neo seeing the Matrix for the first time. Because seamless gear shifts mean that the boost never drops off. See? Things have changed, now. When you change up a gear, the car accelerates harder.

When you come to mental grips with that, you'll start exploring the subsequent dimensions of your new reality. Cornering, for example. Be prepared to have your conventional assumptions dusted, yet again. The body will not roll. You can drive it in deep and yank the wheel, or take it in fast and smooth to load it up, but the car will turn and mock you with its flat-ness. Even when you get the Brake Steer working, the nose tucking in impossibly further the faster you go, it will resolutely refuse to tip you towards the outer two wheels. And, of course, your brain flip flops at the idea. This opens up new possibilities...

If, up to this point, it all sounds a bit cerebral, then we are on the same page. There is no denying it, this McLaren is foremost an assembly of technologies. Technologies that must be experienced and understood - in fact, several times over - before the true intentions of their collaborative use can be realized. But there will come a day, for every 12C owner, I am certain, when the revelation will be every bit as strong and life-changing as that first time behind the wheel, as a child. It happened to me the day that I felt, as you naturally do with any vehicle that you drive often, as "one with the car". Because, to get to that feeling in the McLaren means that your brain has finally adapted to the new sensations. Your nervous system has been re-programmed and your communication with the car is now autonomous. You will know when it happens because you will feel like you and the car can do anything. Like you are riding a dragon in a mythical world of unlimited potential. Like I said, it's ethereal. The only downside is that is also precisely the moment when driving your other cars will suddenly feel one-demensional. But such is the casualty of a paradigm shift.

So, at 8 months and 7500 km, that is what it felt like, for me. This post will gradually make its way down the list of threads, superseded by newer thoughts and musings, perhaps some more about residuals, until it is gone and forgotten forever. But this Internet is a pretty neat technology itself, isn't it? Maybe one day, a long time from now, a search query will cause a resurfacing. What was it like, I wonder, for those first 12C owners when McLaren started selling cars...

This is my account. I'd love to hear yours.
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i still cant wait for my spider!!!!!!!!!!!!
great posts guys!
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