When McLaren launched the MP4-12C supercar in 2011, it created huge expectations. Given McLaren's Formula 1 credentials, and the legacy of the radical1990s McLaren F1 supercar, the MP4-12C just had to be something special. In reality, the car was sleek, quick and advanced. But it lacked vital soul and engagement. Enter the 650S: the car the 12C should have been from the outset.
For most petrolheads, McLaren is a world championship-winning Formula 1 team that builds and campaigns F1 racing machines. But McLaren also creates sports cars, the most famous of which remains the legendary 1990s three-seater F1 supercar designed by South African Gordon Murray.
While the F1 is a sports car legend, McLaren's more recent road car efforts haven't exuded the same sense of greatness. More specifically, the first of McLaren's 21st Century supercar efforts, the highly anticipated MP4-12C, simply didn't provide the kind of rush its ardent would-be fans had been hoping for.
It's hard to pin down just why the 12C didn't live up to expectations. Subjectively and emotively, the shape is pretty rather than arresting, with an aesthetic approach too generic to be truly arresting. Yes, it turns heads, but not in the...