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Thread: mclaren mp4-12c

  1. #1
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    mclaren mp4-12c


    Driving home this evening on 41st in Manhattan I drove past what must have been some type of promotion for the mp4 12 c. The car had quite a crowd around it and was blocking half of the street. All I could think is that the Z8 is a much nicer looking car, and wish that I had my Alpina instead of my daily driver today. Having said that my Alpina is still in the garage because the craters that this past winter created are just now being filled and I have already had to repair 3 rims this season on my dd. I have never had to do that before and am careful to avoid pot holes but this year has been impossible.

  2. #2
    Wow, and I though it was bad here in CA!

    I'm with you on the McLaren, it looks fine, but it isn't a wow to the eye. The initial reports say it drives superbly, but is also a little bland despite its outstanding excellence. Oddly enough that is almost exactly how I felt about my old e46 M3, it was so perfect with the TC Kline suspension that it was also just too clinical and uninvolving at the track, which is why I traded it for the much hairier and far more involving GT3.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #3
    Z8Mania
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    You really cant compare the MP412C and Z8. I think McLaren is going to have a very very difficult time in the US market. Its a fine car but from what I can discern it suffers from being too competent:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...370548144.html
    The Best Sports Car, and Why to Skip It
    By DAN NEIL

    The new McLaren is an era-defining work of jet-fighter performance, yet oddly flat in affect.

    Begin with the proposition that everyone in the car business is a little bit out of his or her mind. From the CEOs to the bolt-turners on the assembly line, from powertrain engineers to your humble reviewer?he said, adjusting his poodle skirt?we're all slightly but measurably tetch'd, meshuggeneh, deranged. If I could choose just one word to describe the mental firmity of these people, that single word would be: not well.

    Indeed, automobiles are strangely summary of a corporation's collective psychology. Cars are complex objects that represent the outcomes of literally millions of discrete compromises governing everything from, say, the elastic modulus of an engine mount to the degree of sassiness in the rake of a windshield. Designer Bob wants a seat fabric that's 3 cents per yard over budget. Sam in purchasing says no way. God, Bob thinks, I really hate that guy?.

    The result is that automobiles are a kind of grand pointillism, seen-at-a-distance portraits of the neurotic human apparatus that builds them.

    And that brings me to Ron Dennis, CBE, the chairman of the McLaren Group, emeritus leader of arguably the world's best Formula 1 operation, and one of the oddest ducks I've ever met. A genius, of a sort?it might be the Chauncey Gardiner sort?a splendid businessman and, let no one doubt, a dead-eyed, remorseless competitor. About a month ago I stood in the sun-flooded atrium of the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England, listening to Mr. Dennis talk about the company's new road-car venture and its first issue, the MP4-12C.

    First impression: Mr. Dennis's reputation for being a wound-like-a-chronograph neat freak clearly undersells his mania. I've been tying ties all my life and never tied one half so perfectly as Mr. Dennis's impeccable blue cravat. The limp, deeply unenthusiastic handshake I received suggested to me a man who couldn't wait to run to the washbasin. Journalists. Ick.

    The MTC?which includes the race operations and wind tunnel?looks like Starfleet Academy with cars. Dazzling, Jovian, orderly and tranquil. All shirt sleeves are starched and everyone's breath smells like Altoids. The place is clean. McLaren buys Windex by the rail car.

    To give you but one example: Every single white Pastorelli floor tile in the subterranean assembly hall has been laid with a laser level to be perfectly perpendicular to the force of gravity. The building floor is 99 meters by 198 meters (not 100 x 200) so as to avoid having to cut any tile. It's Plato's loo.

    To what extent is all this perfectionistic rigor and orthogonality a reflection of the man himself? "All of it," one engineer told me. "This is all Ron."

    Some hours later, as I was shagging the new 12C on a track near Portimao, Portugal, I thought, "That seems about right."

    You've come with me this far, dear reader, and you've earned the payoff. The McLaren MP4-12C is now the best sports car in the world, an era-defining work of technical intelligence and jet-fighter performance that will?be warned?make you look at other cars in your garage like they were lawn mowers.

    Download these data: The 12C accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds flat and ravishes the quarter-mile in 10.9 seconds. An acceleration run in this car feels like being hammered between the shoulder blades by Thor's mystic Mjollnir. At its heart is a midmounted 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 (flat crank and dry sump, naturally) outputting 592 horsepower and 443 torques through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox lubricated with something blessed and wonderful, the Dalai Lama's dandruff, maybe.

    Need to refuel? With its carbon-ceramic AP binders, the 12C will decel from 60 mph to a stop in 100 feet. At higher speeds, the deck-mounted aero brake juts hydraulically into the windstream. On the Portimao circuit, where the front straight ends in a stretch of fairly choppy tarmac, the 12C hauled down from 180-plus mph with a surety that approached inevitability.

    So the 12C posts some hectic velocity. But it has the singular effect of normalizing such performance. How? First, it's crazy light, a mere 3,279 pounds. There's a kind of sheer depravity of physics going on here, a larceny of inertial mass, as if the car had been scoured of its Higgs bosons. Everything's easier, everything is safer and more controllable. The gyre and pitch of landscape is bent to the car's will. Glorious.

    The 12C is also terribly well fitted. The carbon-shell seats comfortably socket you in place so you never feel like you have to brace yourself on the steering wheel. The driving position is raked and sports-car ideal. The center console hosts the way-cool vertical LCD navi/status screen as well as the three-way chassis and powertrain dials. The fettling in the cabin and engine bay is incomparably purrr-fect. In other words, the car's work environment, like Woking itself, is supremely well suited for good choices.

    But the best way to describe the gestalt of the 12C is to say what it isn't, and that's a Ferrari 458 Italia. Here we meet Ron Dennis again. After decades in the Formula 1 business?and it is a business first?McLaren has only one real rival, and the 12C takes the rivalry to the street. Mr. Dennis is channeling Von Clausewitz: It's war with Ferrari by other means.

    So the 12C feels utterly different. Consider the car's unique carbon-fiber "monocell." Such structures are incredibly stiff and lightweight but also awfully expensive, requiring days of skilled handwork to build. That's why they've been reserved for rare isotopes such as the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo and McLaren's own F1, the first road car with a full-carbon tub (1993). The 12C debuts a still-secret process whereby the monocell can be punched out in a mere four hours. The result forms the foundation of a car that can compete price-wise with the Italia?figure $230,000 among friends?but it weighs nearly 300 pounds less. At McLaren, Bob in design absolutely hearts Sam in purchasing.

    Still, the 12C also suffers a bit from the endless triangulation. For efficiency and packaging reasons?the car is a touch smaller than the Italia?McLaren chose the tiny 3.8-liter turbo engine. In the Ferrari, the naturally aspirated V8, with its crimson cam covers, is a galling showpiece of aluminized testosterone. In the McLaren, there's a lot of carbon fiber but almost no engine visible. Likewise with the sound of the turbo'ed McLaren: baffled, corked, hissing, an aria sung through a straw. If we're talking sound track and not track times, the Ferrari's spine-tingling Nazgul shriek just kills the McLaren.

    And then there's styling, and here the 12C collapses under the weight of its other priorities. Never mind thrilling. This is not even an interesting car to look at, with little amplitude or sculpting in the body and a pro forma supercar profile nicked off an eighth-grader's spiral-notebook cover. The 12C's signature design flourish is the massive engine-cooling gills ahead of the rear wheel arches. At some angles these make the car look like its being overtaken, being consumed, by a Dyson vacuum.

    The designer of record is ex-Pininfarina ace Frank Stephenson?who I know for a fact is a genius. My understanding is that the engineers (McLaren's equally high-functioning manager Antony Sheriff, perhaps?) tossed the car over the design wall late in the process, leaving Mr. Stephenson little to do but fiddle at the margins. It shows.

    And so you have a car that might be taken as a mirror of Mr. Dennis himself. Utterly vanquishing, innovative, a masterpiece of reconciled engineering and accounting. Obsessively compulsively brilliant. And yet oddly flat in affect, a strangely clinical exercise in high-speed, low-altitude mathematics. In performance and dynamics, the McLaren has it all over the Italia. But the Ferrari is emotional, visceral, a whistling scythe of car that cuts off the top of your head and pours in pure automechanical pleasure. The McLaren delivers telemetry.

    And so, ironically, you may not want the best sports car in the world. Crazy, huh?

  4. #4
    Z8Mania
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    PS- Whats your DD. The roads are pretty bad but knock on wood so far Ive been able to avoid wheel damage- I did have to replace a tire though whilst getting on to 684 N.

  5. #5
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    2010 750 LI. You could not tell from looking at the wheels, could not remember even hitting a particular pothole. Could feel steering wheel vibration at high way speed. I am not certain, but I doubt that the run flat tires help any in protecting the rims as the tires were fine but the rims were not. This is my first time with run flats, they drive fine, but still not a fan.

  6. #6
    Z8Mania
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    Nice car. Is it xDrive? I have a 7er also. And my experience is its best to ditch the RFTs. My experience with them on the X5 we used to have and also on my 7er is that they go out of balance in a sense- you need to re-road force balance them every now and then. They also ride too hard and are just generally horrible. I have a separate set of winter wheels and tires and summer and I run MPS2 for the summer and Pilot Alpin or sometimes Blizzacks for the winter. Sottozero are also good winter tires. Sorry to hear this happened to you. It stinks.

  7. #7
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    I did get an x drive and have Blizzak tires and rims for the winter. They made a tremendous difference. We did have the worst winter in a decade in terms of the amount and frequency of snow this year so I am not surprised by the potholes, but am by the slow pace at which they are being repaired. The problem with running non fun flats is that the car has no space for a spare tire. While I tolerate that not having a spare for the Alpina I will not for the dd.

  8. #8
    Z8Mania
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    I have a similar situation. I have an Alpina B7 as my daily- I took to buying a 5th snow wheel, mounting a michelin pilot A/S on it and acquiring a jack kit and now if I need a spare I have one. Yes, it takes up trunk space. But it also adds weight to the rear which is a good place to add it. Even with the RFT, a pothole can leave you stranded. IMHO theres no substitute for a real spare. Thats basically why Im not a fan of the RFT- in theory they sound great but in reality they dont really get you much more protection, and the penalty in ride is not worth it- JMHO. Heres a shot of my trunk- I dont really need to carry a lot of stuff so it works for me. The wheel and tire are in a tire tote. I also have a spare large garbage bag in the car to wrap up the dirty wheel and tire if I need to change it.
     

  9. #9
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    The 7 is super fast for its size already. How do you find the B7? More power then you need? I already feel the the 7 borders on being too powerful.

  10. #10
    Z8Mania
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    I don't find it too powerful. The power delivery is really terrific but it's slightly lacking in the 0-1800 rpm range. This is due to the turbo motor otherwise the motor is plenty strong. Where I live the people drive like crazies on the highway and I find I often like having the power. The car is big and heavy and IMHO could use more power in the lower rev range. It's got more than ample power in the upper rev range though. So if you're carving up a back road and the RPMs are in the mid range on and you just press on the throttle the power is very strong. But it never works against you nor ever feels overwhelming. A friend has the dinan mod: 580hp/ 640 ft lbs (stock is like 510/520) and he says it really helps out. I feel the car is fine as is. I guess it's a question of what you're used to. The stock 7 is a really nice car. Fwiw I think the b7 despite it's 21s rides nicer- it's just higher quality suspension components that are better tuned (BMW tunes for the heaviest motor- so the regular 7 is tuned for the 760).

  11. #11
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    Since my commute is almost 100% highway I guess I never notice the issue at lower RPMs. On the highway the stock engine performs excellently, especially when passing.

  12. #12
    Z8Mania
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    Theres no doubt on my end that the 750 is a wonderful ride. I really like it. My daily driving is a bit of highway and backroads. What I like about the Alpina is it has a sublime ability to be a roomy and comfy cruiser one minute and an M5 the next. In order to do that with the size of the vehicle they need the added power. I really like the extra shove.

    So what do you think about the 12C? In the end I come down where Mr. Neil does- though I have not had the chance to drive it- I find this new generation of sports cars is so good and refined that they don't connect with me.

  13. #13
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    I do not like the body style at all. Looks to me like they incorporated body parts of Ferrari, Audi and Lambo to create this. The front looks like a Ferrari, the middle like a R8 and the rear reminds me of a Lambo. All in I think it just does not work. Technically speaking, hard to argue with the performance numbers. Having said that I think that cars have already pushed past the ability of most people to use them, never mind use them properly, so either I am getting old and the need for speed does not thrill me, not likely, or a car, like a spouse, should be a combination of looks and substance. In this case, I think the car is lacking in the looks department and the substance does not fill the void. Having seen it up close on the streets of Manhattan, I think it is more of an oddity then a beauty like the Z8.

  14. #14
    Z8Mania
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    If you would combine your thoughts with those of Dan Neil and you have my opinion. I really wanted to like the car and I was into it for about a month. But then I realized its not just the performance beyond most people but also the fact that in order to hit their target market they will have to make it very useable every day and that means it will be a bit dull unless you drive it like a maniac. With a sports car, I want to feel connected 100% of the time. If that means it can be tiresome on a really long drive, thats fine, thats what cars like the 7er are for. Btw- on the looks- I think the 458 has it licked by a mile. With a car like this I want to go into my garage and say: wholly molly!!!! The McLaren is playing from the styling playbook of the last generation Ferrari, the F430. And its not surprising because Frank Stephenson designed the F430 and hes McLaren's design chief now. He also designed the (then) new Mini. I like his work a lot. But here I'm afraid its just a bit too "generic supercar". The Porsche Carrera GT is a little like that, but its Porsche and they have a strong brand- and that car is one hell of a drive- but here I've just lost interest.