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NEW DRIVE MP4-12C Orange Appeal - is more than skin deep

Key Facts

Engine- 3800cc twin turbo v8
Power 592 bhp
0-60 3.1 sec
Economy 24.2mpg or 279g/km
Price - £168,500 plus
Made in Britain. – Woking , Surrey
Verdict 4.5/5 stars

For the past 8 months the McLaren MP4-12C was merely a bold orange picture on my bedroom wall.  I was lucky enough to take my first experience as passenger thanks to David Tibbetts -   Midlands McLaren sales manager at Rybrook – Hockley Heath, near Warwick.  The orange McLaren has an instant appeal on you; to actually see one it doesn’t compare to my poster. It’s so much more appealing. It takes a while to soak up the finer details. 


When you see a McLaren 12C with its skin pealed off as per the show room model you can see how much precision engineering and thought has been put into this car. The twin turbo V8 engine is slung in a solid silver frame. Front and rear suspension, brakes  and pipework is similarly engineered with pin sharp precision. The driver and passenger sit within a carbon fibre Monocell  which reflects the  strong racing heritage.Sliding my fingers across to activate the gullwing doors is a new motoring  experience in its self.  The large doors swing up effortlessly. 

Taking my first steps into the car my mouth shot into a smile. Looking around the car you can see how much effort was put in. The contrasting orange stitching and leather seats are worth every penny on the long list of extras. The visibility in the cockpit is really good for such a low down super car.  First impressions are important. My view is that if the passenger is happy in their environment then the driver surly should also be. The seating position is snug.


Pressing the start button you really sense how many horses you have in the stable of the V8 engine, even though it wasn’t in track mode. The MP4’s noise from 0 to 70mph is astonishing,  you wouldn’t really expect that MUCH noise from such a well built clinical supercar. The McLaren is like  a cheetah, more stealth like -  more slick and tamed than a hearth throbbing lion character of a Lamborghini.

Never before have I accelerated to 70mph with such ease and fun. The rapid acceleration is matched with brakes that felt like chucking an anchor out of the window. The test car did not have the optional ceramic brakes. The rear spoiler did it bit to drains out a lot of speed when braking hard.

Selecting track mode stiffens the suspension and makes the car much MUCH MUCH louder making the drive more MORE MORE of an enjoyable experience. I asked David does the MP4 12c live up to its brother ‘McLaren f1’ shadow? His answer was simple “It does but in different ways. The MP4 makes it easier to drive. In the F1you had to be on the ball all the time”.  I could sense all the electronic wizardry  keeping us in tight control. The car was a cool £165,000 plus extras. You can soon run up a car costing £220,000.  Quality and cutting edge technology come at a price. For the discerning and patriotic buyer with deep pockets the McLaren is a stunning car – which can be tailored to your character and coloured from stealth like matt black, to classic urban grey to glamorous red to zingy orange.!



It maybe just fate and a smart business alliance to have McLaren’s sold next to Rolls Royce at the Rybrook show room.  A quote of Sir Henry Royce is “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.” This quote seems applicable to the McLaren team for creating such a fabulous and technical supercar.  The MP4-12C uses all the 21st Century racing F1 technology. What is really great about the car  is that it’s British. Unlike every other product from my ipod, camera and computer which has the made it China, Korea and Japan. You open the drivers door  of the MP4 and the badge  dicreetly says “MP4 -12C Surrey -  England”.  The engine was developed by Ricardo in Warwickshire and assembled in Surrey. The pride of owning a home made  product should be considered by those that put the Ferrari 458 on their shopping list.

A question of those buying a McClaren could be is it good value.  Most cars seem to plummet in value. David outlined that most owners will sell the car for a similar  price they brought them for. A quick look on Autotrader listed just 21 MP24’s cars  nationally between £175k-@200k.that seems to show the appeal and value of this car is strong. My final thought on this super car is that I only hope its not too long before I can have a go around a racetrack.



Mclaren MP4- 12C

Ferrari 458 Italia





3.1 seconds

3.4 seconds





V8, 3799cc
Twin turbo

V8, 4499cc


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