It’s not everyday that you get to spend some time with a McLaren, especially here in the States. Happily, last week I got to do just that with a zip around in an MP4-12C on the north side of Houston. It was supposed to be a photo session, but we just couldn’t leave well enough alone. It’s everything they say it is, that’s for sure.

Regular readers of GTspirit have read many things about the MP4-12C many times here. However, this was my personal opportunity in the McLaren, and I definitely was blown away.

First off, it’s built quite good. Excellent quality in and out. I’d checked one out at Houston Coffee & Cars earlier this year, but getting to spend some time with this one in detail and on my own proved to me that it’s a very well made automobile. You know how it can be, you fiddle around with the knobs and switches and what not just to get a feel of things – luckily the McLaren was stellar in all aspects of build quality.

The afternoon I got with the McLaren was preceded by a morning of driving and photographing several different GranTurismo S’s, Bentley Continental GT’s and Panamera S’s. It didn’t take long before it became immediately obvious the MP4-12C was at another level. Certainly clear after the first “almost full throttle” acceleration attempt from coasting to a paltry 75mph.

The McLaren tried to get bonkers a little, even in a nice straight road, and had to be reeled in forthwith. Where we were, sadly nowhere near a motorway, a pedal-to-the-floor run wasn’t just unsafe, it would have been idiotic to attempt. Launch Mode was discussed, but we had to really keep it toned down and, as I said, due to where we were.

But it didn’t matter, McLaren earned my respect that afternoon, despite my initial criticisms when it was announced. When the MP4-12C was announced, I excitedly assumed it was the legendary F1’s successor. Myself and many others were disappointed by it’s specs, look and pricing. Just didn’t seem anywhere near as extreme as the F1 – because it wasn’t. Maybe the so-called P12 that’s rumored will become that successor.

Still, the MP4-12C is definitely worth all the hype, even if it’s not as extreme as McLaren’s previous offering or as beautiful as it’s main competitor, the Ferrari 458 Italia.

Nino Batista is a professional motoring photographer in the United States and is a U.S. partner/editor for GTspirit.com. Nino Batista on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ninobatistamotorphoto

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