A week and a half ago, our man Alex found himself in Italy hooning around in the new McLaren 720S. It’s a technological showcase that also happens to be bonkers fast, and it shows how far McLaren Automotive has come in a very short space of time.
That’s not to stay the car that started it all is a dinosaur. The 12C - introduced in 2011 - marked the beginning of the Woking-based supercar builder as we know it today, was the first road car to wear a McLaren badge since the legendary F1. At the time, it was just about the geekiest supercar in its segment.
We’re not just talking about its hilariously clunky original title of ‘MP4-12C’ (shortened to just ‘12C’ in 2012’). Nope: we’re talking about the carbonfibre tub, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 pinched from a deceased racing car project (which can be traced back to Nissan, weirdly), and the car’s enormously clever ‘ProActive Chassis Control’.
This system has all four dampers linked to one gas-filled ‘accumulator’, effectively negating the need for an anti-roll bar. Sensors monitor body movements, stiffening the dampers when required, and ‘decoupling’ them during more gentle driving. The result is a ride that’s weirdly smooth for a shouty V8 supercar.
The 12C evolved into the 650S in 2014, with the ‘original’ car hanging on for a few more months before being discontinued. The P1-inspired styling on the 650S immediately made the 12C look dated, but a few years on, there’s something pleasingly understated about the car.
Six years on, the earliest used 12Cs are still going for well over £100,000. This Ice Silver example is the cheapest we’ve seen for sale in the UK, but you’ll still need to stump up £109,950. Still, that is cheaper than a Ferrari 458, for which you’ll need at least £140,000.
So, put yourself in the shoes of a rich-ish used supercar buyer for a moment: do you get the McLaren, or spend a little more and go for the Ferrari? To the comments section!