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Discussion Starter #1
In Canada, yesterday. So much to say about the car, but rather than repeat much of what has already been said, I will try to share a few less obvious thoughts or opinions.

First of all, anybody who writes that the car lacks a sense of occasion is clearly pandering to an audience that has become desensitized to overused literary cliches. It couldn't be further off the mark. If you are lucky enough to approach the 12C with its dihedral doors wide open (as I was), you will know you are in for more than a routine car ride. The MonoCell has been lauded for its technical advantages, but it is equally impressive a structure to take in visually as you plan your entry. When you drop into the tub and close the door from high above you, then move off from idle, it feels more like taxiing a high performance aircraft than any other typical sports car. For any of you that are pilots, think a fully-optioned Cirrus SR22 and you will be close. I often get the impression that the sense of occasion journalists talk about is really them imagining they are taking their fancy little car to meet Angelina Jolie for espresso at a Paris cafe. Fine, I'm not sure she'd be taken by that, but if it floats your boat. The 12C probably appeals to a different mental image. If you like the idea of flying your own Lear Jet to your destination, you'll absolutely love it.

Regrettably, my test drive was not at a race track, so my impressions are necessarily more real-world in nature. I'll tell you right now, there will be more praise in the coming months for the M838T engine. It is an unsung hero of this technology expo and reviewers have been remiss in dedicating so few words up to now. You only need to floor the throttle once to be made instantly aware of the truth. By that I mean the brilliance of this powerplant is in a league of its own. The balance of throttle response to boost throughout the rev range deserves engineering awards for a turbo unit. Porsche would kill for a motor like this. If you currently drive a turbocharged supercar, you will be shocked by the efficacy of the 12C's power delivery.

That theme carried over to the rest of my drive and and my overall impression of the car. It is so well resolved, as a complete package, that you seriously cannot believe it is a first generation product. I'm not talking about fit and finish. I mean the various dynamic sensations, from steering to damping, to throttle response and everything in between, are so cohesively integrated that you would think that the platform has evolved over decades. But yet, somehow they've achieved this not only on the first try, but also considering the car is packed with bleeding edge technology never before used in a road car. It is mind boggling when you consider it. As I did several times during and after my drive.

We've already seen a 10.7 second quarter mile from the 12C (I'm betting we'll see even lower), but I can assure you in the real world the gap to its competitors is even larger still. The reason is the traction. The first couple of times you pull out to overtake traffic and you assess the road surface ahead, you are ginger with the throttle because experience has taught you that stiffly sprung cars can give up contact patch easily. I'd say the McLaren just hooks up and goes, but honestly there isn't even a hooking up phase. It just goes. And goes. The boost is otherworldly and full of character of its own. How could it not be? The 12C is the only road car that has given me that sensation of my eyeballs compressing and my vision going slightly blurry for a few seconds. It reminded me of flight training when my instructor made me close my eyes before putting the plane in a steep dive and then made me pull up and recover. The G-loading sensation is similar. Because of the traction, nothing will keep up with you on real world roads if you decide to stab it. I can guarantee you.

I have more reflections, but running out of time for now. Some pertinent notes from the drive:

- The briefing and ride-along was conducted by Simon Andrew, Technical Specialist from the North American office. Solid guy, knows his material backwards and forwards and engaging to talk to on a variety of McLaren topics, including this forum.

- The car was a very well-optioned Volcano Red, but still a production prototype. Carbon ceramic brakes, standard exhaust, superlight wheels. I will post some pics later.
 

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pleased youve got your first ride,and so glad its everything you thought is was,and probably more!!
It isnt even tedious running it in,5K revs wipes out everthing anyway,and im not sure if i need to go over the limited 150mph max
just going out to pick up a paper,its starting to cost me £20 in fuel though!!
 

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6th element. It's good to hear someone mention the engine, it is the star of the show, well equal billing with the ride and chassis dynamics.

Was it the ballistic and linear power delivery that impressed you about the engine or the fact it is Turbo ballistic engine? Not sure if your comments are comparing turbo engines.

Any views on the brakes and trade off with iron discs?

Did you find the steering, although light, gave you no doubt that you would turn in where desired and hit the apex chosen? I thought the steering was outstanding in it's accuracy.
 

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pleased youve got your first ride,and so glad its everything you thought is was,and probably more!!
It isnt even tedious running it in,5K revs wipes out everthing anyway,and im not sure if i need to go over the limited 150mph max
just going out to pick up a paper,its starting to cost me £20 in fuel though!!

Limited to 150mph:eek:, what do you mean, i hope you are mistaken, you must be.
 

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Nice write up. It seem's that everyone who drives a 12C, that does not have a camera pointing at them, or a microphone in hand has the same impressions.

Simon Andrew is a top bloke, he is my technical contact with McLaren and also gave us our first driving experiance in the car.

I drove a 458 yesterday for the first time, I will start a thead on my impressions between that, the 12C and the LP550 that i drive on a regular basis soon.

Most of all glad you loved the 12C
 

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Really appreciate the write-up (as all of them). Every new detailed impression only fuels the fire of my anticipation!

Particularly love this Line: "You only need to floor the throttle once to be made instantly aware of the truth." I hadn't quite realized it before now, but it IS kinda odd there's not been much more made of the engine (or the accelerative traction, esp on bumpy surfaces (altho' most journos did mention it after their time at Portimao).
 

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Really appreciate the write-up (as all of them). Every new detailed impression only fuels the fire of my anticipation!

Particularly love this Line: "You only need to floor the throttle once to be made instantly aware of the truth." I hadn't quite realized it before now, but it IS kinda odd there's not been much more made of the engine (or the accelerative traction, esp on bumpy surfaces (altho' most journos did mention it after their time at Portimao).
Acceleration!!! got my tail wagging tonight under braking, when i was about to hit a well known corner not realising i was going 30 mph quicker than usual,you really have to re-calibrate your driving,partly because you are going so much quicker and also because the ride says you are not,epic
 

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Nice write up. It seem's that everyone who drives a 12C, that does not have a camera pointing at them, or a microphone in hand has the same impressions.

Simon Andrew is a top bloke, he is my technical contact with McLaren and also gave us our first driving experiance in the car.

I drove a 458 yesterday for the first time, I will start a thead on my impressions between that, the 12C and the LP550 that i drive on a regular basis soon.

Most of all glad you loved the 12C
Looking forward to that
 

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Discussion Starter #10
6th element. It's good to hear someone mention the engine, it is the star of the show, well equal billing with the ride and chassis dynamics.

Was it the ballistic and linear power delivery that impressed you about the engine or the fact it is Turbo ballistic engine? Not sure if your comments are comparing turbo engines.

Any views on the brakes and trade off with iron discs?

Did you find the steering, although light, gave you no doubt that you would turn in where desired and hit the apex chosen? I thought the steering was outstanding in it's accuracy.
Yes, it was the combination of linearity and sheer propulsion that impressed. I've not owned a lot of turbo cars, but I have driven all kinds, from stock Porsches to chipped and highly modified ones, and even the Gumpert Apollo. The M838T will set a new standard for turbo power delivery, in my opinion. Even comparing against normally aspirated engines, the benefits of turbo charging implemented so effectively far outweigh any disadvantages. When you factor in the size (i.e. packaging) and light weight of the motor, I believe we will see the 12C forcing the hand of competitors to go with turbo motors in their next generation competitors. That is, if they want to keep up.

Regarding the CCBs, they are absolutely fine for road use - nothing to worry about. If you haven't driven a car with them before, you will need to get used to the initial bite in low-speed situations. But it is a nuance, not a tangible advantage or disadvantage either way. They are stunners to look at, by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Really appreciate the write-up (as all of them). Every new detailed impression only fuels the fire of my anticipation!

Particularly love this Line: "You only need to floor the throttle once to be made instantly aware of the truth." I hadn't quite realized it before now, but it IS kinda odd there's not been much more made of the engine (or the accelerative traction, esp on bumpy surfaces (altho' most journos did mention it after their time at Portimao).
That truth sentence is just as much a culmination of the past several months of media BS. After all the comparisons and manipulations by certain manufacturers of their test cars, etc. you need only pin the gas once in the 12C to understand that it's all been a pathetic charade, hasn't it? If you are used to driving fast cars, you'll know instantly that McLaren has delivered a rocket ship. Despite anybody's allegiance to whatever brand and propensity to believe false advertising, if they line their customer car up beside a 12C, they are going to be humiliated. Mark my words. They'll discover that the hard way and then they will truly know the meaning of emotional.
 

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I drove a 458 yesterday for the first time, I will start a thead on my impressions between that, the 12C and the LP550 that i drive on a regular basis soon.
For all the talk about the emotional side of the 458 - I think the emotion of the Lambo wipes the floor with it. That batshit insane V10 just roars.
 

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That truth sentence is just as much a culmination of the past several months of media BS. After all the comparisons and manipulations by certain manufacturers of their test cars, etc. you need only pin the gas once in the 12C to understand that it's all been a pathetic charade, hasn't it? If you are used to driving fast cars, you'll know instantly that McLaren has delivered a rocket ship. Despite anybody's allegiance to whatever brand and propensity to believe false advertising, if they line their customer car up beside a 12C, they are going to be humiliated. Mark my words. They'll discover that the hard way and then they will truly know the meaning of emotional.
It all reminds me of a sticker I had on my 1967 Cougar (the first car I had, and the first I rebuilt from the ground up):

"When the green flag drops, the bulls**t stops."

And regarding hitting corners faster than expected - I remember when the original F1 came out that a few were wrecked because people simply couldn't believe how seriously they'd overcooked it into a corner which was so near to their driveway! 0-60 in 3.2 (IIRC) was an entire different planet from the [then-fastest] 911tS which did it in 4.5 (again, IIRC)...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Acceleration!!! got my tail wagging tonight under braking, when i was about to hit a well known corner not realising i was going 30 mph quicker than usual,you really have to re-calibrate your driving,partly because you are going so much quicker and also because the ride says you are not,epic
It's a great point, andy. When Simon Andrew was asking for my impression during the drive, I told him I felt the brutality of the acceleration was being attenuated by the suspension. Based on prior experiences, you are waiting for things to get frantic as the speed goes up - bumps unsettling the chassis, the car starting to move left and right etc. It just doesn't happen in the 12C because the suspension is soaking it all up. So when you finally look down to get some evidence of the speed you are carrying, you can be in for a big surprise. I suspect the aero efficiency plays a role here, as well. Which reminds me, when reason gets the better of you and you finally decide to slow down, seeing the air brake go up in the rear view is ultra cool, isn't it? More sense of occasion for ya. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I really can't say why I love this statement. I just do. :)
Cheers, credit andy c, who posted a similar quip months ago when the press nonsense was in full swing.

On that note, for me, the jury is still out on whether the emotional tweaks were worth the bother. In Track mode it is bloody loud. It still sounds great, but I reckon it probably sounded just as good before. Perhaps on an actual racetrack, it will be useful because your helmet will be covering your ears and your onboard video will have a blaring soundtrack. But for everyday driving, I'm just not sure, yet. I wish I could have tried it the old way, first. I mean really, who do you want to fine tune your supercar - Harry Metcalf or Chris Goodwin. Think about it.
 

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It's a great point, andy. When Simon Andrew was asking for my impression during the drive, I told him I felt the brutality of the acceleration was being attenuated by the suspension. Based on prior experiences, you are waiting for things to get frantic as the speed goes up - bumps unsettling the chassis, the car starting to move left and right etc. It just doesn't happen in the 12C because the suspension is soaking it all up. So when you finally look down to get some evidence of the speed you are carrying, you can be in for a big surprise. I suspect the aero efficiency plays a role here, as well. Which reminds me, when reason gets the better of you and you finally decide to slow down, seeing the air brake go up in the rear view is ultra cool, isn't it? More sense of occasion for ya. ;)
All true,but im starting to get into the habit of watching the airbrake and how it reacts,bad move must keep my eyes on the road,one advantage is anyone trying it on has tended to back off when they see that thing looming up on them,its actually a great deterent for boy racers
 

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Thanks for the write-up. I am very excited for you. And myself. I am up tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Greenwich, CT. Same story, though. A pre-production car.
 

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Thanks for the write-up. I am very excited for you. And myself. I am up tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Greenwich, CT. Same story, though. A pre-production car.
Brilliant,really want to know how it compares to your scud and if you think it will compare as a track toy
PS.you know who 6e is dont you,feels like the 3 musketeers(f.chat)
 
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