June 28, 2011

Mclaren MP4-12C vs Ferrari 458: Strike Three!

Holy smokes, this one is devastating. One of the reason we like 5th Gear shoot outs with Jason Plato and Tiff Needell best is because, they are fun of course but mainly because they are racing drivers, old fashioned ones at that, they like their cars with a good analog feel and soul.

Have a look at what happens to Tiff when he tries a long drift, that is just horrible! And Plato's verdict is even more devastating: "This car is programmed to be driven the way McLaren wants you to drive and I'm not programmed that way". Ouch. Downshifts? "It does not downshift when you want it"...Ouch.

I guess cars truly are the personification of the companies who build them, Ferrari might have had some combustion problems but the 458 is clearly the car of the moment, the one all other makes need to measure up to. The Mclaren MP4-12C reflects Mclaren's corporate image, it's impeccably built and with clever engineering, the best money can buy and all... but apparently, soul is not for sale.
(Thanks Ruben!)


  1. I'd love to see an Alonso/458 Italia vs Hamilton/MP4-12C comparo. One can only wish.

    The Ferrari beats the McLaren on everything that matters. Period.

  2. Holy ultra ouch Batman! That's a definite death sentence for the tracktard real drivers crowd (like me) on the McLaren!
    Very happy to wait for the 458 Scud until 2013 and will now comfortably skip McLaren ownership.
    The car should still do well with the "look at my new toy" and the "Traffic light GP" crowds given the impressive power and acceleration and beautiful execution.

  3. @ CG: I'd been approached by McLaren's US sales on the MP4-12C; asked them weeks ago if the suspension could be dialed in (caster/camber/toe) for track use, beyond electronic damper settings. They didn't know, and apparently they've yet to find out. Based on my experience, and that of journalists, neither the engineers, nor marketing support got any memo on track-focus/capabilities out of the box. McLaren is still shush about the massive shunt the MP4-12C had at the 'Ring a few weeks ago, which probably was a track-record attempt. At this point, the car appears to be an expensive street toy for the Lexus (LFA) crowd.

  4. Oh, btw, if you go to Fifth Gear's website, they have several outtakes while driving the MP4-12C -- lots of turbo lag exhibited.

  5. Just imagine that drift that went bad but at the nurburgring... that must have been quite a fender bender! 8o

  6. That's the Top Gear Test Track isnt it? haha

  7. It will be a long wait for the 458 "scuderia", it has not been given the official go yet and with tests like these...maybe only after the 991 gt2 comes out?
    Expect a modest bump in power but 100kg less with a better track setup out the box

  8. I feel for the poor private individual who will end up owning '458 FNE' after every journo and his dog has finished hooning the boobs off it...

  9. I'd love to own that UK press car, it seems to be quite special. I mean all of a sudden the 458 became as fast as the 911 GT2RS even though it wasn't a couple of months ago.

    I mentioned it before on the other MP4 article, the suspensions flawed, and brake steer is a poor replacement for an LSD, it doesn't aid post apex traction anywhere near as much as a proper LSD.

    Can't even begin to imagine a scud replacement.

  10. I feel the term "Hooning the boobs off it" deserves special recognition. :)

  11. You can't blame the journalists, that car is like the hot chick that walks into the bar with the red "hoon me" tank top, just begging to be hooned...

    That 458 must be something really special for Tiff and Plato to enjoy to that degree.

  12. What I find amusing is the journalist praising the F458 Italia, a car that is soft, disconnected and heavy when compared to the 430 Scuderia.

    Ferrari is doing the right thing, the F458 is already racing in the Challenge series (800 lighter than the road version), FIA, ALMS, GT3 series. All the development will help the 2013 (confirmed) 458 Corsa (Scuderia/Stradale version) to set the bar higher.

    Porsche can still work on increasing boost on the VW Beetle, but an all motor high rev car like the Scuderia, F458, GT3 4.0 RS is what fun is all about.


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