McClaren MP4-12C better than a Ferrari 458? Muddy Ground test drives one.

Today I had a test drive of the McClaren MP4-12C, as you do. I've a budget for a new car of around £200,000 so thought I'd take one out for a spin.

Er, in my dreams. What I did do, however, was see one being driven through Lambeth. Now all the reviews would have you believe that this thing looks bland compared to a Ferrari 458. Don't listen to such silly people. Sure the 458 looks a stunner, and the MP4-12C is overly adorned with aero features, but by heck when you see one it's a moment. The thing has presence, it really does. It's like the first time you saw an early Countach, the proper one without a rear wing. You're driving along, see it coming towards you, then hit a lamp post as you crane your kneck whilst shouting "fugginellitsoneofthemMcClarenfugginthings" to yourself.

I want one, but am approximately £180k shy of the asking price.

The one I briefly saw was in a burnt orange with dark highlights in the air intakes and it looked drop dead gorgeous. It sounded very, very nice indeed. Amongst norrmal traffic it looked alien, which is surely the point of supercars?

So 458 better? Dunno, never driven one so can't say. And really, these cars do 200mph. Where in the UK, on a public road, are you going to do that AND explore the limits of handling at the same time? Yet somehow a magazine test driver can take a pair to Wales, then come back ranting on about the on the limit power slides, blah, blah, blah. I lived in Wales, I go there regularly. Can imagine near Trawsfynedd on that long, long straight really being a bit naughty and possibly hitting some high numbers, or that lovely road out of Betwys towards Snowdon being very silly around the corners at rantic speeds [best I did was 140mph on my motorbike; allegedly officer ;¬) ], but really nobody is going to push these cars very far on a public road. Even in our boggo 1.6 automatic Focus it was hard to go more than a mile or two without getting stuck behind somebody for miles. Even if I did manage to find a clear road, it was eye opening to come barelling around a corner at 60mph only to find Aunty Maude off shopping in her Picanto at 15mph. Which happened all too often. Which, incidentally, made me a bad driver in the eyes of my wife. Drive at the speed limit, no rush, don't go too mad around the corners, yet because I'm stamping on the Stop now! pedal to the extent that the anti locks come on due to some oldie chuddering along on the white line at cycling speed, I'm the bad driver?

Ooops, waffle central.

If you have £200k to splash on a toy, go look  at the McClaren. Just don't bother with their clunky web page.

On the subject of cars, I saw a stay-at-home mother dropping her children off at school here in a Porsche Panamera. Surrey, eh? Need one of those for the school run, off to the gym, Waitrose for some lunch, then school run again.

And Porsche? You there? My test drive of the Panamera, to be positively reviewed here, hasn't happened. You've not contacted me! Why? Come on, don't be shy ;¬)