When it comes to being kind to the human beings for whom it was built, the McLaren MP4-12 provides a mixed range of feelings and emotions. The supercar possesses the technical complexity that could allow it to offer a superior level of comfort, but many of its systems simply aren't set up in a way that favors this.
The access is difficult due to the complex door opening & closing routine and the tub construction that gives the car a wide sills. When you are installed in the seats, you'll be treated with a level of comfort that sits within the class average.
Fortunately, things get better when it comes to the luggage compartment. This offers 5.09 cubic feet (144 liters) of space, one of the best values of the supercar segment. On the other hand, the MP4-12C offers a smaller overall volume than some of its competitors, due to the fact that the storage space behind the seats is virtually inexistent.
McLaren has built the MP4-12C following F1-inspired guidelines and this doesn't just help the driver, it also creates a pleasant environment. This is most obvious when talking about the "science of haptics" - many parts of the car's interior were conceived so that they also provide an useful tactile experience. This is best illustrated by the different way in which the gearbox controls buttons are sculpted and placed at a different height.
The automotive producer has also managed to pack an extremely complex vehicle function setup using a simple multi-button layout placed on the center console.
Thus, you have a three-mode switch for the powertrain and a similar one for the handling. The first also includes a manual shifting option, while the latter allows you to also deploy the rear wing. The two are activated using a dedicated button placed below, so that the passenger won't switch your handling to "track" mode by mistake.
In addition to that, we find a "winter" button and a "launch" one, but this is where the story ends. The setup is intuitive and easy to use - excellent job McLaren.
Running our fingers across the large leather-finished surfaces of our test car brought the work "OK" to mind, but nothing more. It seems that the leather upholstery is focused more on keeping the weight down rather than offering a delicate tactile experience. Fortunately, the 2013 revamp received by the car promises to offer this by allowing customers to choose from a wider range of finishes.
As for the tech bits of the MP4-12C that matter for this chapter, we'll start with the suspension. McLaren has skipped the stabilizer bars, gifting the car with a hydraulic setup that features interconnected active dampers. The ride is extremely compliant and offers an impressive separation from any road issues, but once you start to encounter more serious potholes or bumps, this doesn't shine anymore.
An element that certainly takes away points when it comes to comfort is the exhaust voice. This does feature a sound controlling valve and McLaren brags that the soundtrack was deeply tuned, but the result is rather uninspiring. The exhaust is too loud on many occasions and even if it came with fewer decibels, it would be difficult to describe its noise as "pleasant".Continue reading