McLaren MP4-12C

The Essentials

  • Price from £176,000
  • What Car? says: 5 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 24.2mpg
  • What is it? Outstanding supercar that's also comfortable to travel in


  • It goes like a rocket, but stays solid and composed so it's relatively easy to drive
  • The ride quality is so good, it's better than some executive saloons
  • It's the most efficient supercar money can buy


  • It's so unflappable you can't quite engage with it like you do a Ferrari 458 Italia
  • It doesn't sound quite as good as a 458 Italia
  • Reliability is a bit of an unknown
  • Drive

    Blindingly quick yet surprisingly easy to drive

  • Inside

    Smart and solid, with a great driving position

  • Safety

    Only four airbags but super-strong structure

  • Reliability

    Feels rock solid but limited sales make reliability hard to track

  • Space

    Plenty of space for occupants but not for luggage

  • Standard and extras

    Not an outstanding rosta of kit, especially for the money, and options are pricey

  • What's it like to drive?

    The MP4-12C is powered by a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 enging with a whopping 592bhp and 442lb ft of pulling power, all transferred to the rear wheels with a seven-speed twin-clutch paddle-shift gearbox. In other words, whether you're setting off from a standstill or cruising on the motorway, if you put your foot down you'll be on the horizon before you've had a chance to take a breath.

    Even better, the car's firm grip of the road and negligible sway mean it stays brilliantly composed even as you rocket through corners, and somehow the ride is more comfortable than many executive saloons.

    The engine sounds ballistic under hard acceleration but the noise melts away when you're cruising, and both wind and road noise are pretty well suppressed.

  • What's it like inside?

    The cabin looks smart and suitably sporty with a modern, high-tech design, although it doesn't quite have the wow factor you'd expect for the money. The seats are extremely supportive and there's plenty of adjustment so you can get comfortable. Rear visibility is a bit limited, as in most supercars, but the view ahead is excellent.

    Practicality isn't the 12C's strong point (or it's point at all); even getting in the car is a challenge as the doors, which open up as well as out, leave a space that's so narrow you have to sidle in feet first. There's plenty of space for the two occupants but the under-bonnet boot is tiny and awkwardly shaped.

    Standard equipment includes a touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth, a part-leather interior, climate and cruise controls and rain-sensing wipers. However, extras such as parking sensors and sat-nav are expensive. The passenger seat doesn't have Isofix but it automatically switches off the airbag here if it detects the weight of a young child.

  • How reliable is it?

    Reliability is hard to assess due to the limited number of McLarens sold but the cabin feels impressively solid. The super-strong materials and structure should stay intact if you have a smash, while a sophisticated stability control system should help avoid a crash in the first place. There are just four airbags, however.

  • Should I buy one?

    You'll need to be super-rich to buy a 12C but re-sale values will be superb. Running costs will be high, too, although the 12C has the best fuel economy and CO2 emissions of any supercar.