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McLaren Convert
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Discussion Starter #1
...and why I left the GT2 for the 12C.

I have owned a 997 GT2 for several years now - purchased used with <200 miles on the odometer. Over 3 years of ownership, my experience has been sublime - a very fast daily driver with excellent driver feedback, phenomenal road feel, incredible reliability, with behavior that is worthy of both the track and routine use. With the exception of the plugs and coil packs, the car was easily serviceable, and relatively inexpensive. The best of all worlds - fast, friendly, well behaved, scalpel like reflexes, and reliable.

As time has passed, circumstances in my life has left me looking for an alternative to the GT2. Although I hadn't considered a British sports car before, the heritage of McLaren, their dedication to motor sports, their pedigree, and their release of an mid engined sports car that is in the price market of the GT2 made it an appealing choice. After much deliberating, I have sold my GT2 and purchased a MP4-12C.

After a long weekend behind the wheel through the open roads of Wisconsin, I have found McLaren's offering to be a worthy alternative to the GT2. In fact, there are many things I find about the 12C that I believe Porsche can learn from.

With the imminent release of the 991 GT3 to the public hands, I hope Porsche hits the R&D department hard to incorporate the technology available in competing sports cars into the 991 GT2.

This is not a debate on double clutch transmissions versus manual transmissions. But I have no doubt that the pricing schedule for the 991 Turbo S will put the 991 GT2 in the same market as the 12C. Here are a few thoughts.

1. Weight

993 GT2 2,855 lbs.
996 GT2 3,153 lbs.
997 GT2 3,170 lbs.

With the availability of carbon fiber and other light weight technologies, Porsche needs to refocus their efforts in reducing the weight of their vehicles. We all know the performance benefits of a lighter vehicle. And while the 991 GT3 incorporates newer technologies to improve handling and power, it will be the heaviest GT3 ever produced. Hopefully, this will not be the case with the GT2.

McLaren incorporates a carbon fiber tub, and makes every attempt to shave weight. Working with Carbo Tech in Austria and Toray in Japan, McLaren is able to produce a complete single-piece carbon-fiber "MonoCell" for the 12C in just four hours. In the previous F1's chassis, the labor required 3000 hours and 100 people. In the MB SLR, it still required 400 hours to produce six carbon-fiber pieces that were then mated together to form the tub.

To bring the cost down and increase the speed of production, the MonoCell uses a new Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) automated process. Sheets of dry carbon-fiber cloth are cut into shape and laid out in a 35-ton, 7-piece steel mold that closes and is infused with resin. The carbon-fiber tub is subjected to 218 psi of pressure at 167 degrees Fahrenheit. After curing two more hours at about 260 degrees F, the tub is then released.

The unmachined MonoCell is already within 1 mm of design specifications. Improve tolerances to F1 like specs, the tub is sent to a computer-controlled milling machine for finishing touches. Because the RTM process can accommodate complex designs, the single-piece hollow tub incorporating different shapes and attachment points is possible - it is the same tub found in every version of the 12C, form those designed for motorsports, to the ones making it to the end consumer. McLaren reports that a single MonoCell tub weighs 165 lb. It is some 25 percent lighter and stiffer than a comparable aluminum chassis.

Other weight saving measures include a lighter wiring loom with a hexagonal cross-section is employed, shaving another 8 lb. And for the car's Airbrake, a flap that rises to help slow the car down above 59 mph, engineers determined a smaller motor could be used for deployment by using aerodynamic forces to assist in its elevation, maximizing braking assistance. Overall, the McLaren MP4-12C's dry weight tips the scale at 2945 lb.

2. Exhaust

Watch the first 10 seconds of this video:

McLaren MP4-12C vs. Ferrari 458 Italia vs. Noble M600 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo S- EVO Magazine - YouTube

We all know that the aftermarket exhausts on the can improve the enjoyment and visceral appeal of driving a sports car. Can Porsche please spend more R&D time improving the exhaust tone of their forced induction cars?

The MP4-12C produces an impressive sound. Unlike Lamborghini's, Ferrari's or the LFA's bark, the 12C produces a satisfying high reving scream with satisfying burbles as the RPMs fall, and a hint of turbo whispering in the background. During WOT, the exhaust produces a grunt that climbs to a scream over 8K RPM.

3. Driver oriented environment.

This:



or this:



Why do PDKs still have a center shifter?

4. The balance between performance and daily use.

With regards to performance, as has been reported elsewhere, the 12C is very very quick. From a standing start, with no technological gizmos, the acceleration feels similar to a naturally aspirated car until the engine reaches boost threshold, after which, the car moves to the next zip code. The turbos respond quickly, and like most forced induction vehicles, requires about 2500-3000 RPM to be in the threshold zone.

The acceleration is nothing less than violent and unrelenting. With the double clutch SSG, there is no perceivable lag as you move from gear to gear in motion. The brake pedal feel is very stiff, but the modulation is excellent. Carbon ceramics are optional, but the steel rotors (like the Porsche) are very very good and are significantly cheaper to replace.

The dual-clutch transmission is excellent. Shifts are lightning fast especially with pre-cog, and the paddles provide a satisfying pull and click as you load the next gear. The paddles are mounted on the wheel itself, which allows the driver to maintain hand position as the wheel turns around. The steering wheel is circular, but not a round tube - it is elliptical providing the driver a sensation of grip and confidence with perfectly positioned paddles.

The most impressive feature I have found is the hydraulic suspension. I have never been in a car as comfortable and as compliant to Wisconsin roads as the 12C. And I have never experienced a true transformation into a track scalpel until this weekend. When the handling knob is turned to track, I experienced a complete transformation - as if the spring rates have changed on the vehicle. No other vehicle has come even remotely close to the flexibility of the 12C.

When I dial the handling to "Normal" the ride quality is as compliant as a Honda Accord. No bone crushing, back breaking jarring like a GT-R. In fact, I believe there was an accelerometer test showing the forces recorded in the cabin were as compliant as a Rolls Royce. This is a car that you can truly drive every day without visiting a chiropractor.
 

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Good valid points. I think McLaren's different mindset is new and refreshing, whereas Porsche has been improving on the same thing for 50 years. Porsche does need to go lighter as they are increasing in weight each new version. The new Turbo S is 3,538 lbs which seems about 500 lbs too much!
 

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2012 MP4-12C
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Good valid points. I think McLaren's different mindset is new and refreshing, whereas Porsche has been improving on the same thing for 50 years. Porsche does need to go lighter as they are increasing in weight each new version. The new Turbo S is 3,538 lbs which seems about 500 lbs too much!
This article is eye opening and basically goes against all the "porsche is super reliable and solidly made" myths that zoom about here...

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/porsches-deadly-sin-1-1999-porsche-911-996-3-4/

A little taste...
During those years, Porsche worked with its dealers to deny warranty claims, place blame on customers, withhold knowledge of fixes, and generally burn every last bit of goodwill they had built up over years of… um… previous engine failures in air-cooled cars. Again and again during those years, owners of pampered, low-mileage cars found themselves paying five-figure bills to keep their cars on the road. For more than a decade, Porsche simultaneously denied knowledge of engine problems while claiming that their newest engine revision did not suffer from the problems that they were denying had occurred previously.
One hopes that later/newer porsches have improved drastically, and perhaps they have. But the mythology that they've been this paragon of great german build quality is clearly based on hot air...
 
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2,689 Posts
This article is eye opening and basically goes against all the "porsche is super reliable and solidly made" myths that zoom about here...

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/porsches-deadly-sin-1-1999-porsche-911-996-3-4/

A little taste...


One hopes that later/newer porsches have improved drastically, and perhaps they have. But the mythology that they've been this paragon of great german build quality is clearly based on hot air...
Interesting....
 

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I watched Rennlist religiously before trading my 911 Turbo in on the 12C. There were many posts of unhappy new owners. The new Turbo S has had all sorts of problems. Not that the 12C hasn't had its own, but it is a much more driver oriented car whereas the 911 continues to evolve more towards a GT car. Porsche is making its money on SUVs and sedans these days while the 911 is low volume. McLaren on the other hand has all their effort in one production vehicle. Besides a 911 Turbo S is 200k and I got my 12C for only slightly more new.
 

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2012 MP4-12C
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8,257 Posts
I watched Rennlist religiously before trading my 911 Turbo in on the 12C. There were many posts of unhappy new owners. The new Turbo S has had all sorts of problems. Not that the 12C hasn't had its own, but it is a much more driver oriented car whereas the 911 continues to evolve more towards a GT car. Porsche is making its money on SUVs and sedans these days while the 911 is low volume. McLaren on the other hand has all their effort in one production vehicle. Besides a 911 Turbo S is 200k and I got my 12C for only slightly more new.
Agreed on all that. But when you think of all the "real" problems McLaren has had (discounting some very serious, but exceptional problems), the McLaren, relatively speaking, is the "Honda" of the two.
 

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Agreed; and my response comparing the two may have been misunderstood. McLaren is focused on doing one sports car well and my perception is that is with good reliability. Porsche is focused on everything from SUVs to sports cars theses days and with some major issues. Most notably the GT3 recall.

I agree McLaren looks like the Honda of the two from a reliability perspective.
 

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McLaren Convert
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398 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I've now owned 5 Porsches in the last 10 years. McLaren has a long way to go before they can claim level of reliability at Porsche's level. Every major manufacturer will have a major recall. McLaren simply hasn't built enough cars yet to have a major [email protected] up.

After a few years of ownership, when the true test of reliability settles in, I know which car I'd trust time and time again to get me home in the dead of winter.
 

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owner
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bb
Did you end up driving the gt2 year round up there? I remember when you bought it...

Im in illinois, and will put the 12c through the paces next winter. Ive got a set of sottos on ultralight rims all ready to go.
 

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McLaren Convert
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398 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I drove my turbos in winter with winter tires, but the GT2's RWD and rear engine configuration made it too troublesome to drive reliably when the snow was deep - I did drive it when I could see the concrete, but anything more than a few inches and it would have traction issues.
 

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owner
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Right on. Im not looking to run through the snow.

90% of the days here in the winter are cold, with relatively clean roads. I dont have a problem getting the car dirty as I wont own a garage queen.
 

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McLaren Convert
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398 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
The issues I encounter are:

1. Other driver's poor driving in snow crashing into me when ground conditions are bad.
2. Snow plow effect - front end is too low due to ground clearance.
3. Traction with tire type.
4. Sand - to make salt last the season, my area dumps sand for traction at intersections, which actually makes asphalt more slick when the snow melts.
 
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