Gallery: Europe in a 207mph McLaren 12C
Paul Horrell continues our world tour with the only continent that can lay claim to the supercar title…
Posted: 18 Apr 2013
Not just the pace, but the feel. It means handling, not just grip, and braking, not just acceleration. Most of all, it’s about conveying the subtleties of motion to the driver, through precision and connection in the steering, brakes and transmission. These are things that, even though paradoxically you can’t actually measure them, truly are the measure of a great car for driving. A supercar has to oblige.
Pouring the McLaren into another of these bends, one that throws a challenge by tightening part-way round, shows how it does. The suspension is quite soft – that’s how it rides so well at low speeds, and how when you floor the throttle you get a rather exciting confirmation of the thrust by feeling the nose breathe upwards a little. But softness doesn’t mean roll, because there’s active chassis trickery to quell that. So you get proportionate answers to any motions of your hands on the wheel. And if there’s a little understeer at the point the bend tightens, well, you’re told of it through the wheel, but you need lift the throttle only a fraction because at the same time the car drags a brake on the inside rear tyre to cancel out the pushing outer-front tyre, and it’s pivoted round again on the huge steady-state lateral grip, and then engages the turbos for another catapulting departure.