McLaren MP4-12C: reaction from around the world

Published: 09 September 2009

McLaren has now unveiled the new MP4-12C, the supercar hitherto known as P11. We've hit the web to test reaction to the new Macca and have aggregated the global reaction here. Is it a hit? Or a missed opportunity? Read on to find out – we'll be updating it throughout the day...

>> Click here for CAR's full guide to the new McLaren MP4-12C
>> Click here for a gallery of official photos of the MP4-12C


'I think it's very good. Really clever one-piece carbon monocoque promises fantastic strength and light weight, and could well herald the eventual use of such technology in mainstream road cars.  Power/fuel economy balance also very impressive, as are relatively small exterior dimensions yet roomy cabin. It looks good too, in a non-confrontational, timeless, mid-engine supercar way, with just an appropriate hint of the McLaren F1 road car. Plus, most important of all, it promises to be a great drive.'
Gavin Green, executive editor CAR Magazine (UK)

'If the MP4-12C drives anywhere near as well as its specification suggests, the guys at Maranello had better be on their game.'
Angus MacKenzie, editor Motor Trend (US) and former editor of CAR

'Think of it as a sophisticated Lotus Exige with Manettino dials, and an impeccable bloodline of course.'
Wheels24.co.za (South Africa)

'This car can’t fail, regardless of what the FTSE’s doing by the time it goes on sale. A new supercar whose two closest relations are a current Formula One car and the McLaren F1, arguably the greatest road car ever made, will sell on the strength of its name alone, although that name and provenance mean our expectations for the MP4’s dynamics are higher than for any car since the F1. Just as important for buyers is the fact that – unlike almost all other supercars – it shares nothing with with humbler marques and models: no common engines, no common ownership. If only it looked as distinctive.'
Ben Oliver, contributing editor CAR Magazine (UK)

'Our part in this pageant is to pray that the world economy recovers so that McLaren's ambitious dreams come true.'
Don Sherman, Automobile (US)

'I wouldn’t be surprised if many Macca owners end up commuting in their cars. Because it’s user-friendly and comfortable enough to do so. You can’t say that about a Lamborghini.'
Chas Hallett, editor Autocar (UK)

'There isn’t a single car I’m looking forward to driving more next year than the new McLaren. As a brand new car from the ground up, it’s just such an unknown quantity. What will the steering feel like? How will it sound? Will the ride comfort really match a Mercedes E-class’s, as Ron Dennis claims? The tech impresses and I’ll be amazed if the driving experience doesn’t match up. With the striking new Ferrari 458 Italia due, it can’t afford to disappoint. But the styling is disappointingly bland. I think McLaren missed an opportunity to create something really distinctive. What a shame ex-Ferrari man Frank Stephenson was only involved after the design had pretty much been finalised. And the name is just daft. I wonder if, like the Ferrari that Maranello called the 365 GTB/4 and everyone else called Daytona, the McLaren will be given an unofficial name by the public. How does Woking sound to you?'
Chris Chilton, assistant editor
CAR Magazine (UK)

'I like the size. Too many road cars now are big and wide. I like the compactness of this car. I think it is better looking than the Ferrari and other cars that it will go up against.'
Jay Leno, US chat show host and car fanatic. For full interview, buy the November 2009 issue of CAR


'Let's be blunt – a lot of supercars in this price bracket are purchased by people more concerned with their car's looks and less with the intricacies of its development and construction. The McLaren’s default looks are its biggest drawback. It’s looks generic and lacks true character. Sure, those ticks on the side are a clever hat-tip to the McLaren logo, but to most people they are just air intakes. The front end is bland and that black grinning intake looks rather Kia-esque. It's beautifully built and, as expected, employs the sharpest of cutting edge material and production technologies. Everything is bespoke, it will be searingly quick and no doubt deliver the level of engagement that will have numerous rivals sagging on the dynamic ropes. But I wish it had the looks that reflected the engineering passion and unwavering integrity that I know has been lavished on it.'
Ben Whitworth, contributing editor
CAR Magazine (UK)

'All we can say is: Look out Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Audi: McLaren Automotive is back in the game.'
Road & Track (US)

'It’s a more cohesive solid form that is reminiscent of the McLaren F1 road car, embodies the typical character traits of a low-slung mid-engined road-racer and most importantly, according to McLaren, will grow on you and not date as quickly as perhaps the more attention-seeking 458.'
Shahzad Sheikh, CAR Middle East

'It's a shame it looks quite generic, when the McLaren F1 managed to look so different in its day. That's not necessarily the McLaren's fault – back in 1993 when the F1 was launched, it looked totally different to the bloated Diablo and Testarossas of the day, with their pop-up lights and fussy detailing. Ferrari and Lamborghini both followed McLaren's lead in creating cars that look minimalist and tightly packaged - look at the unfussy lines of the Gallardo and brutal functionality of the F430. In today's environment the 12C looks pretty and it looks fast, but it doesn't move the game on. I haven't seen either in the flesh yet, but I reckon – visually at least – the 458 Italia might blow it away. And a turbo engine? If the F1 created any 'brand values' for McLaren Cars to carry forward into its next model, surely light weight, advanced technology, and a naturally aspirated engine were three of them? Gordon Murray specifically wanted to avoid turbochargers, and his high expectations of his engine's performance lie at the heart of the F1's amazing character. Again, I guess the world has moved on, and Gordon Murray wasn't thinking about emissions back in the early 1990s... But now it's all down to the driving, and knowing how much of a perfectionist Ron Dennis, I reckon it'll be brilliant. If it is, then nothing else will matter.'
Mark Walton, editor-at-large CAR Magazine (UK)

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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