PM editor Alan Duggan was part of a small group of South African journalists invited to drive McLaren Automotive’s record-busting MP4-12C supercar on its home test track at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in England. To say that he was impressed would be like describing Shakira’s hips as ‘okay’.
Preternaturally serene, apparently oblivious to the squeal of tortured rubber and the sheen of perspiration coating my forehead, the test driver raised his voice above the McLaren’s glorious baritone: “Relax… let the car do the work for you.” So I did, and it did, and what came next was a trip to automotive nirvana.
Can you fall completely and irrevocably in love within the space of a single autumn afternoon? Do purple prose and shameless hyperbole belong in a car review? If we’re talking about a palpably sexy amalgam of carbon, aluminium, electronic wizardry and engineering genius – plus the kind of performance that elevates pulse rates to beyond critical – then we would have to say yes.
Meet the McLaren MP4-12C, a race-bred sportscar that promises to revolutionise the industry and shake up some very respectable marques indeed. By all accounts, its major competitor is the formidable Ferrari 458 Italia, a car boasting an even more impressive heritage – and therein lies the challenge for McLaren Automotive, a new company with deep pockets and large goolies.
Read more in the December 2011 issue of Popular Mechanics – on sale on 21 November.