With more power come greater responsibilities, who said that? Was it Spiderman?? In our case the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Coupe has more power than before (616 Hp) and slight tune ups here and there to keep Darwin happy. The coupe weighs in 40kgs less than the Spider which we tested earlier and we were, in lack of a better term, blown away by its abilities. Weight is the ultimate nemesis and every kilogram counts, and in view of the handling characteristics and the sheer g-forces encountered while hammering the accelerator on the Spider, we were terrible terrified of this one. Weekend in Dubai just got shorter and louder to say the least.
2013 McLaren MP4-12C Coupe Review
There isn’t much to differentiate between the Spider and the Coupe. The significance of the carbon-fiber center tub is that it’s the key element for strength and torsional rigidity of the chassis. It’s the backbone that holds everything in place, it even has the same part numbers between the two models. Having said that the Coupe feels and behaves the same as the Spider, it should have been the other way around, but we tested the Spider first and thus we were pleasantly surprised to feel that the coupe felt the same.
Driving the McLaren around town has always been a pleasure. This is a supercar that does not act uncivilized at low rpm stroll around Beach Road. There are no hiccups or sharp engine braking in taking the load off the accelerator pedal at low rpm. It behaves like any normal car in stop and go traffic. This unique blend of low speed cruising and its ability to demolish a straight road and corners at high speed is what McLaren had sought out from the beginning. The two turbo’s wakes up at around 4000 rpm, and it’s also weird how the McLaren also anticipates the road opening and gets it timing right all the time, with the turbo primed up for spool. What follows next is an instant surge of 600Nm kicking in and you’d be crossing the speed limit well before the time it takes to finish reading this sentence. 0-100kmph goes by in a scant 3.1 seconds and top speed is well over 300kmph (333 kmph to be exact). We do miss the no holds barred status of the Autobahn.
The McLaren’s computing knows exactly the perfect gear under any circumstances. We tried confusing it a bit during our workout outskirts of town and we weren’t able to fool it. There were no second-guessing on gear choices to negotiate the bends but using the paddles in manual mode is nothing short of bliss. The peddles itself are made from a single piece of metal and pressing the right peddle (up shift) results in the left peddle lifting up. One cannot engage both the peddles at the same time in moments of lunacy and brain fade and confuse the car. It’s idiot proof.
The gear changes on normal mode are as seamless as ever but we recommend sport or manual mode to get more intimate feel of it. The up-shifts are precise and lack of mechanical jerks while downshifts result in rev matching which not only uses engine braking to assist with its infinite stopping prowess of the carbon ceramic brakes but also whips up a loud exhaust burst in the process. For us the best place to spend time on the McLaren was on the corners. Come fast and hard into a corner, brake hard which results in the rear spoiler deploying almost vertically and covering the rear view mirror and flick the car into the corner. The steering transmits everything back to its driver. From the feel of the grip and the quickness in which it changes direction and stay there thanks to a banned F1 technology where the inner tires are selectively braked to push the car in line is a true testament to its superior ability. The steering column is perfectly weighted for the job too.
The effortlessness in how it performs these feats and at the same time remain in complete composure is the true strength of the McLaren. Yes we can go mental into a tight bend and have the rear end slide out but it just requires a quick re-correction from the steering wheel and the McLaren is sorted all out. There is never a point when situation went beyond our control. There are backup mechanisms working all the time and takes over after we reach our abilities, and this is a seamless transition. One would always feel like an F1 legend driving this on its limits, well more like the drivers limits as we are still trying to tap into the car’s limits and we were unsuccessful at that.
The McLaren is sure to always push its driver to go further and deeper, it’s almost crying out and encouraging us to go hard while keeping a re-assuring hand on us and giving us the comfort that it will take care of us if anything goes wrong. In that sense it becomes ones best friend really. I did form a close bond with the McLaren over the short weekend we hung out. We talked to each other and played and always came back home satisfied.
The McLaren is best enjoyed over at the track, I am sure that one would see mechanical grip and performance like nothing before. But our tryst in the urban jungle with the McLaren always brought smile and occasional giggles (yes, we are not ashamed to giggle like a 5 year old once in a while).
The hardest part was giving the keys back and walking away from it. This is a vehicle one should have to experience before growing wings.
|2013 McLaren MP4-12C Coupe|
|Displacement||3,799 cc, V8 twin-turbo, dry sump|
|Rated Output||616 hp @ 7500 rpm|
|Rated Torque||600Nm @ 3000 to 7000 rpm|
|Max Engine Speed||8500 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||7 speed McLaren dual clutch seamless-shift Gearbox (SSG)|
|Max Speed||333 km/h|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||3.1 s|
|Price (AED)||starts from 945,000|
Images by Brian Donegan :