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Underrated: McLaren MP4-12C

1 year ago

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Steve Sutcliffe | Journalist


26 July 2023

The McLaren MP4-12C came in for a fair bit of stick when unveiled in 2009. Critics (much of the press included) claimed it looked like a supercar that had been designed by a supercomputer, not a human being. They (we) said it lacked personality as a result and was ‘too generic’ compared with the somewhat more beautiful Ferrari 458 Italia that had also gone on sale that same year.

Things didn’t get much better for McLaren’s new supercar when it began to roll off the production line at Woking around 18 months later. The first customer cars suffered from all sorts of electrical issues: the air con was suspect, their sat navs hadn’t gone live by the time they left the factory, and their sound systems often failed to produce much sound.

The car’s early-adopter owners, many of whom had either swapped out of their Ferraris and Lamborghinis or simply added a 12C to their collections, got very fed up, very quickly indeed. They’d got used to supercars that weren’t just great to drive but which also worked properly. So, for a while, despite the 12C showing signs of genius in the way it drove, it began to look like Woking had tried, and failed, to take on Ferrari at its own game.

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