LOCATION SPOTTED: Hamptons Vintage Auto Poker Rally 2012 (Bridgehampton)
- Acceleration 0 to 60: 3.0 sec
- Braking: 60 to 0: 106 feet
- Quarter Mile: 10.9 sec
- Slalom: 74.9 mph
- Skidpad: 1.03 g
***There isn’t mush car activity during the winter months in the Hamptons. So I thought that I would try to make a post featuring a car that I spotted at a special auto show in Bridgehampton just as the summer season was coming to a close.
The McLaren MP4-12C is a mind-bending combination of numbers. It has 592 horsepower, yet it’s V8 engine only displaces 3.8 liters. This makes the McLaren’s engine the most powerful production engine per liter currently made. The car too has Formula 1-sourced enhancements like “brake steer”, which brakes the inside rear wheel automatically during fast cornering, which helps cure under-steer (even though the car already has a rear-weight bias).
This car has been tried and tested in countless car magazines and also compared to other exotics in its class. It hasn’t always come out on top. In fact, RoadandTrack, CarandDriver, and others haven’t placed in first place of any of their “super car comparisons”. Why?
I’m not so sure that the magazines are accurate in their portrayals of the MP4-12C, and to be honest there are waaaaaay too many reviews of the McLaren and its performance credentials. Instead of beating a dead horse into the ground and talking about the performance of the McLaren, I’m just going to talk about it’s interior and exterior styling. Afterall, that’s really what most “Hamptons” drivers care about most; standing out from the crowd. I am going to talk about how the McLaren accomplishes that.
Though I haven’t driven it, I did get to sit in it that day and it certainly has the most unique interior of any car, or even any supercar I’ve witnessed. Everything is bespoke, completely bespoke. Compared to a Lamborghini and many other supercars it is obvious, to a certain extent, that they borrow interior trim parts from other, lesser cars. Anyone who’s ever been in a Gallardo ever, will understand where I’m coming from (the navigation system is from a B7 Audi A4!). Don’t get me started on Ferrari, the California (the cheapest Ferrari) has the navigation system out of a Dodge Ram…
Anyway, back to the MP4-12C. The interior is fascinating not only because every knob, switch, and dial is each a work of art (and is completely untraceable to any other car [believe me I’ve checked]), but that the cabin is not trying too hard. Ferrari does make some nice interiors, however, some of the shapes and angles of the dash and door trim look a bit too contrived, sometimes to the point of (dare I say) ugliness. Putting that Dodge Ram navigation system doesn’t help the look of your interiors Ferrari. “cough” “cough”
McLaren puts a simplistic, yet elegantly designed center stack into their MP4-12C. It culminates a tall and thin “iPhone-like” touch-screen which seems to serve as a center-command system for the car’s navigation and radio. Then, things go berserk, but in a sleek, smooth, machined “Apple” kind of way. The climate control for each passenger is located on each door sill right by the door-pulls. This makes the McLaren a true dual-zone climate-controlled car, something that Aston Martin can’t say about some of their two-seat-er super-cars.
Exterior-wise, the MP4-12C doesn’t quite have the presence a Ferrari, it also doesn’t quite have the sound of a Ferrari. Sure, the McLaren certainly was loud, the owner actually revved it up as high as it would go in neutral, but it didn’t really hold a candle to the Ferrari 458 I heard in East Hampton town a few weeks before. To be honest I’m not sure if the guy really knew how to put the car in neutral (pull both transmission shift-paddles back at the same time), after all, he said, “ah these German cars are terrific.”
The creases and folds in the McLaren’s body definitely look great, but the Italian styling is truly breathtaking. I think that is where the MP4 loses it’s appeal. It just isn’t outrageous-looking. However, I still maintain that in a few years, the younger generation, like myself, will definitely start to gravitate towards superior technology and simple, elegant styling. The Hamptons is full of some of the richest, of whom many are young, people in the world. In time, I think more and more wall-street tycoons will start to roll up to fancy restaurants and order their “Surf-and-Turf” in MP4-12Cs. Mark my words.