The first deliveries of the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C are set to begin within the next two weeks, but the automaker is already is rushing to revise its new supercar to rachet up its "emotional appeal."
After the Woking, England MP4-12C disappointingly lost its first round of comparos (performed by British automotive press) to its arch-rival, the Ferrari 458 Italia, McLaren announced it will make some minor tweaks to the MP4-12C before customers can get their mitts on their new supercar.
According to Autocar, McLaren was a bit hurt that its MP4-12C was said to lack “aural drama and sense of occasion” when compared to the Ferrari 458 Italia. There’s probably a reason for that McLaren told Motor Trend earlier this year that the car was designed to blend “truly exotic performance and technology" with " day-to-day usability and sensibleness.” Many cars try the jack-of-all-trades shtick and fall flat on their face; by all accounts, McLaren actually did quite a good job at doing both – a rare feat. So rather shockingly, it seems as if McLaren needs to make the MP4-12C worse so that it’s better, at least in this regard.
All of the changes to the MP4-12C will be completed in the coming weeks before the first batch of cars are delivered to customers, and then be applied to all later-built models. Autocar reported that the tweaks are to sharpen throttle response and to create a meatier exhaust tone. For the latter, the company will tweak the air intake design, and specifically the tube that runs from the resonator into the cabin to provide some engine noise. McLaren is said to be adjusting the butterfly valve to open further, which will allow more of noise from the 592-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 into the cockpit.
As can be expected with only minor changes, there won’t be any performance increases on the MP4-12C. A McLaren spokesperson told Autocar “[the MP4-12C] was a bit too sensible before. You won’t notice the changes in normal mode, just when you’re really having fun and pushing it.”
If that remains true, it looks like McLaren might just be able to finally edge out its Ferrari rival. Stay tuned.