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2013 McLaren MP4-12C Review
Reviewed by Automotive on
McLaren is a company renowned for producing small-run super cars. The McLaren F1 revolutionized the supercar movement and broke ground for the numerous niche manufacturers that are turning out a few dozen high-end cars a year. The MP4-12C is McLaren’s latest endeavor, and is the first vehicle from McLaren that is in the range of ""affordable"" exotics, relatively speaking. The 2013 McLaren MP4-12C is the second model year of the vehicle, and the England-based company is not content to sit around and let the model merely get a year older. The new model sees improvements in power and capabilities, as well as tweaks to some of the technology in use.
New For 2013
The 2012 version of the McLaren MP4-12C was a vehicle that was raw, and seemed like it was rushed to the public in order to capitalize on immediate interest. The 2013 McLaren MP4-12C gets a number of updates to make the driving experience more thrilling and entertaining. McLaren is using these updates to provide great customer service as well, as they are offering customers who bought the 2012 model free retrofitting of all new updates except for the suspension lift functionality. New for 2013 on the MP4-12C are:
- An engine-computer update that raises the horsepower output by 25 horsepower, up to a total of 618 horsepower
- New transmission programming
- Software that allows drivers to alter the level of engine noise entering the cabin
- Bluetooth and navigation functionality through the infotainment system
- Tweaked radio antenna for better reception
- Suspension lift mode that allows the car to be raised at lower speeds to allow for better road clearance over speed bumps and rough roads.
The exterior of the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C demonstrates a great amount of thought on the part of McLaren. It is aerodynamically sound while not looking too outrageous. It is refined and sleek, uncluttered and mildly adorned. Fenders pop up on either side of the low hood in the somewhat traditional supercar fashion. The grille is low and somewhat small, but that’s due to the mid-chassis placement of the engine. The huge air inlets behind the doors are not merely part of the design; they are functional in cooling the engine. The doors themselves pivot upwards instead of swinging outwards. A number of colors are available, as are a variety of wheel styles. There are plenty of other options that can be used to personalize the MP4-12C, including a Stealth Pack that puts a dark finish on the exhaust tips and rear wing supports. Optional lightweight wheels and carbon-fiber body elements provide individuality while reducing curb weight, giving both style and performance upgrades.
Interior & Cargo
To start off with, supercars do not concern themselves with cargo space, and the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C is clearly a supercar. The cargo space is a mere 5.1 cubic feet, which is roughly the same as a Porsche 911. The MP4-12C also manages to account for enough leg and head room to make the interior comfortable for both driver and passenger. Standard interior features include manually adjustable seats, leather upholstery, cruise control, and a seven-inch touch screen display for controls The options on the interior drive the price up fairly quick, but are useful. These include a navigation system, power-adjustable seats, a full leather interior, parking assist, and carbon-fiber interior trim. All of this is ergonomically sound, with an elegant presentation, thanks to almost every control being integrated into the touch screen display.
The 2013 McLaren MP4-12C has a number of safety options as standard equipment. Anti-lock disc brakes are standard, with even more efficient carbon-ceramic brake rotors as options. Front, side, and knee airbags are standard for both the driver and the passenger. Traction and stability control are also standard, although the purist may switch these off to allow the MP4-12C to get wild and loose. A hill-start assist is also standard, which makes it easier to get the touchy dual-clutch transmission moving without any drifting.
You can’t talk about the driving experience of the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C without starting off at the incredibly powerful engine. While the pure size specifications of the engine are surprisingly mild, it being a 3.8-liter, V-8, McLaren continues to squeeze every ounce of power out of it. With some computer modifications, they have increased the horsepower output to 618 horsepower while not adding any weight. Put simply, the power behind the MP4-12C can tear your face off. It hits 60 miles an hour from a standing start in a mere 3.1 seconds, while having a top speed of 205 miles per hour. The dual-clutch automated manual transmission is not a traditional manual, but still provides excellent performance and responsiveness. The suspension is adaptive, with three different driving modes to choose from to allow the driver to adjust for road condition and anticipated action. A functional airbrake combines with heavy-duty brakes to bring the MP4-12C down in speed quickly for fast cornering. The steering is very sensitive and responsive, much more so than the average driver is used to.
If there’s one thing that’s disappointing about the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C, it’s the refinement. The MP4-12C is very simple and smooth to drive and it lacks the visceral power and handling of many supercars. Some purists may scoff at just how accessible it is, but this is thanks to advances in technology. The McLaren has incredible body control, even for the super car category, and has plenty of highly effective driving aids.
Key Competitors For The 2013 McLaren MP4-12C
- Ferrari 458 Italia
- Porsche 911 GT2 RS
- Lamborghini Gallardo