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Best of the Best 2012: Sports Cars: McLaren MP4-12C

Robert Ross

After a few fits and starts, the McLaren MP4-12C (www.mclaren.com) finally has made it to America. We were sorry that McLaren chose not to participate in this year’s Robb Report Car of the Year contest, but this automaker does things differently from the rest. Who else could build a series-production supercar essentially from scratch, bringing all of the latest technical tricks to bear? The $229,000 MP4-12C features McLaren’s own carbon chassis and unique engine, styling from design superstar Frank Stephenson, and a Formula 1 racing heritage equaled only by Ferrari.

A twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 develops 592 hp and 443 ft lbs of torque, enabling the MP4-12C to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in three seconds with the optional Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires and reach a top speed of 205 mph. Both the paddle-shift 7-speed transmission and the proprietary suspension system offer driver-adjustable settings—from comfort to track. The McLaren is easy to drive fast, and unlike high-spirited Italian sports cars, it is almost Stepford wife–like in its ability to please without imposing much personality of its own.

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