In technical terms, the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C Sports Coupe is a work of art. In terms of looks and performance it lives up to McLaren's design legacy both for consumer sports cars and Formula 1 racers. Make no mistakes, this is not a car for everyday driving; this is sleek, finely-tuned, finely-engineered automotive perfection built purposefully for the most demanding and moneyed of weekend racers and private club members. That said, the 2012 MP4-12C does represent something of a departure from McLaren's previous consumer endeavors. While a car with a base retail price of $229,000 can by no stretch of the imagination be called 'affordable', this iteration of the MP4-12C does aim, at least, to be more 'consumer-friendly' than previous cars in the McLaren line.
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But the greater economic appeal has not dampened what lies under the hood. The 2012 MP4-12C has an absolute beast revving inside - a 3.8 liter V8 engine with a staggering 592 horsepower. Its dual clutch seven-speed transmission is geared towards lightning fast shifts across hairpin turns, and its body design for slipstreaming in the wake of competitors before effortlessly overtaking. It's not flashy, but by no means is it ugly. The MP4-12C's stripped down chassis is not meant to win style points specifically, and in terms of flashiness it loses out to competitors. The same couldn't be said, of course, on race day. In terms of suspension, the MP4-12C is as smooth as silk, and reviews have stated that on the track or road the car handles like a blindingly fast cloud.
As mentioned, the 2012 MP4-12C does not have the style of its Italian or German brethren. If the aim of your game is brand recognition or impressing people outside a flash nightclub, then look towards the Ferrari 458 Italia or Lamborghini Gallardo. The base price of the Ferrari is slightly higher at $258,000, and it doesn't seriously lose out in terms of handling or performance. Indeed, if you're looking for more of a wild ride, the 458 Italia might be your best option. Lamborghini typically monopolizes the sex appeal in this limited market, with deliberately and shamelessly non-aerodynamic design made for looking as attractive as a car can. The only reason to avoid the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, which ticks all the same boxes as the McLaren, is that everyone - or at least everyone with bags of cash - already has one. In terms of handling, engine power, suspension and driving feel, however, reviews are unequivocal: the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C Sports Coupe is among the best sports cars ever made.