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Currently owning both cars at the same time, I wanted to give a comparison between the GT-R and the MP4-12C. Based on performance and price, the 12C seems to be a logical next step for some GT-R owners that can afford it, as I see a trend on the McLaren site with some GT-R owners moving into the 12C as used ones become more affordable in the $150k - $190k range. Once they move on, many have gotten rid of their GT-R and you never hear from them on this site again. Since I now DD my GT-R and still have both, here is a comparison of categories I chose, based on my experience.

Straight Line Acceleration: Without a doubt the GT-R wins in the 0-60 test when both cars use launch control. But it's not that cut and dry. The stock GT-R wins because of AWD consistency, more than anything, but the 12C is no slouch off the line with LC. A stock GT-R can snap off 2.8 -2.9 second 0-60 times, but so can the 12C with the right tires. It's just much more difficult to repeat and the LC is a pain to activate and if any of the required conditions are not met, it simply won't work. But when it does, it is the most gratifying 2WD launch you will ever experience short of the P1. But from light to light, the GT-R takes the win. Now in the quarter, it takes an FBO to keep up with a stock 12C, and likely an e85 FBO to beat it. But the GT-R is so consistent at the drag strip. The 12C requires perfect conditions and patience when using the LC to the point of frustration at a track. I tried three times to make a good pass with the 12C on a cold test and tune day. After I couldn't hook, I gave up and went home and brought back the GT-R and made 12 consecutive and consistent passes that same day. I know my Alpha 7 12C is potentially faster in the quarter, but without drag slicks and lots of practice, it's hard to do. The GT-R, on the other hand, just goes out there and does it the same every time. Now the 12C with an Alpha tune is a killer roll racer and I have yet to lose to anything from a 70 roll in that thing. Also, it's worth noting that the 7-speed DCT tranny in the 12C feels less clunky, a little tighter, and faster when shifting. With all that said, stock for stock, the 12C wins in quarter and from a roll, when the conditions are right and the planets are aligned.

Brakes: This one is subjective when referring to just street use alone. The stock GT-R brakes feel well-modulated for stopping such a heavy car, but they seem to be a one-hit wonder on the track. After the first lap or two, the GT-R's brakes fade pretty noticeably. Yes, rotors and pads can help, but I have fried a set of racing rotors and pads and cooked the calipers so hot that the rubber seals melted. The 12C brakes (I have the carbon ceramics), though they are a little touchy at first when getting used to them, don't just grab hard, they drop an anchor and bolt the car to the concrete the moment you slam them. They are consistent on and off the track and never fade. This, combined with the airbrake, nets a stopping power I have never felt with any car, including the 458. It's hard to beat carbon ceramics, so the 12C wins here, especially on the track.

Cornering: Let's focus specifically on the track as road holding is rarely pushed on the street. The GT-R is an amazing track car. It feels lighter in the corners than it actually is. With a decent track tire like the R888, it grips the corners as if it were 800 lbs lighter… But the 12C is 800 lbs lighter and hugs the corners even better. When I first drove the GT-R on a track, I thought it couldn't get any better as far as computer assisted stability, torque vectoring, and traction goes. But the 12C has a few tricks that take computer aided driving to the next level. One weapon the 12 has is what is called "Brake Steer". This allows the inside rear brake to drag when entering a corner and actually pivot the car as if an anchor had been dropped. This, in combination with the trick suspension, equates to a remarkable cornering ability that not even the 458 can touch. Which leads to the next comparison…

Suspension: Without a doubt, the DBA suspension is leaps and bounds better than the CBA. With most agreeing that the 2012 - 2014's are the best suspension setup thus far, the three modes of comfort are tolerable on most roads, especially for a supercar. I can DD the GT-R and have even taken a 24 hour road trip without feeling overly fatigued or beat up by the suspension. The track setting is not even that bad and it is a nice balance when actually used on the track. But McLaren has seemed to one-upped everyone in the suspension category. The hydraulic suspension lacks a sway bar because it doesn't need one. Body roll in a corner is non-existent. Throw the setting into Normal mode, and you are driving a Bentley. Throw it into Sport, you are now driving a proper street performance car. Throw it in Track, you've just converted to a jaw-jarring, track ready, go-kart or Ariel Atom. While the GT-R settings offer very subtle changes, the 12C has a night and day approach to the selector switch. One caveat to the 12C in this category is the suspension clunk due to the upper A arms being bolted directly to the aluminum frame rails, which are in turn bolted directly to the carbon fiber tub. Anything but smooth roads echos a sound similar to bad ball joints through the cabin. The 650S resolves this with rubber dampeners that isolate the suspension noises, but some say takes away a bit of the razer edge track feel that the 12C is known for.

Overall comfort: The GT-R is a very comfortable and roomy supercar. The 12C is also very comfortable, but not as roomy. The problem is not with the headroom, but rather, the legroom. Anyone taller than 6'3" will be crammed in the 12C, but still have legroom in the GT-R. The Premium and Black Edition seats both provide good back support and isolated road harshness. The standard 12C seats don't provide a solid seatback, it's flimsy actually. Which is why I required that I get the option carbon fiber seatbacks, which don't flex and are supportive. The suspension of the 12C makes it seem to float on the road while in Normal mode, while the meatier height on the GT-R tires seem to absorb the bumps well. I have asked occupants which car is more comfortable and it seems to be 50/50 on the response. This category is subjective and I call a tie here.

Maintenance and reliability: GT-R wins hands down. If you think $2k brake rotors and $140 dealer oil changes are bad with the GT-R, try $8k rotors and $1k oil changes. A replacement key fob is $2k and the battery is $3k from the dealer, $2.5k on Amazon. Very few things go wrong with a stock GT-R (e85 FBO is a different story), but a few more things go wrong with the 12C. The 12C issues are usually electronic and minor, but can be annoying and time consuming to track down, and expensive. In the rare cases of cracked blocks or tranny leaks, things can get very expensive for a 12C owner. Also, the McLaren dealer selection is very limited and chances are, your nearest dealer is hours away. Yes, I had my GT-R tranny shred first gear because of 500 FBO launches, but a $6k Shep Stage 2 is a far cry from a $30k 12C stock replacement tranny and there are no parts available to rebuild.

Looks / Attention: The GT-R is an attention getter, especially for a car under $100k. It's rare, featured in games, and has a cult following. But let's face it, it's a dick magnet. It doesn't garner the looks of more than one girl for every 50 guys that turn their heads. And its demographic followers are all 16 - 39 years of age. Also, the GT-R is not a sexy car, it's masculine. It is not a car you nickname Katie or Francesca. It's a fire breathing monster of a muscle car. Guys and even some girls will say "Nice car" when you pull into a fuel station, but most don't drop their jaw. The 12C, on the other hand, is a car that gets equal attention from both boys and girls of all ages. It doesn't just get stares from girls, it gets selfies, videos, fingerprints, and phone numbers from girls. It really is on another level of attention and rarity, and the driver becomes an instant celebrity. And those doors… But this can be good or bad because it gets tiring after a while. I had to tint my 12C windows simply because I needed a breather from the stares.

Overall Satisfaction: Both cars are very gratifying to drive. On one hand the GT-R feels tough and always ready for the task at hand. With an FBO, you feel invincible at all stoplights, always ready to defend your undefeated title. On the other hand the 12C feels nimble, light, and ready to pounce that F-car next to you. But the 12C has something extra that the GT-R doesn't. It feels special. It feels like a real exotic supercar from the moment you get in. It feels this way because it really is the definition of an exotic supercar. Where the GT-R is an unbelievably fast ride, the 12C is an experience to behold. This is a very subjective area, but until you've owned both, it's hard to give an unbiased win to either car. Both are great, but the 12C seems to be the car that amazes the most.

Conclusion: The GT-R is a great step into the supercar arena. I would take it over many other cars twice its price. I like owning this car, it's the everyday supercar. But moving forward into that next car can be a challenge given that most supercars under $250k can't touch the GT-R in overall performance. The McLaren 12C/650S seems to be the logical step forward; it has the technological leaps that the GT-R was known for and can back it up with numbers that crush the competition. For those looking for their next toy, but don't conform to the F-car mentality, the 12C, in most respects, really is a worthy upgrade from the GT-R.
 

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Awesome read!
 

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Very informative.........
I guess i will just be happy with my 09 GTR and look to satisfy my track desire with an Ariel Atom.
 

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great write up. i would love to own a mp4-12c and hope to one day, but 3k for a battery? i didn't know the maintenance was so high
 

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THAT... Was a great post. Awesome perspective on both rides.
 

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In the acceleration section, you mentioned how difficult the 12c is to launch yet you say its better than the GTR in that regard. Im confused. You go on to say the GTR is easy to rip off pass after pass. How is the 12c better. I've seen Nike (who owns a 650s) rip off a 0-100 in 5.9 where any FBO GTR does that in 5.7 or quicker.
 

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[background=rgb(246, 246, 246)] One weapon the 12 has is what is called "Brake Steer". This allows the inside rear brake to drag when entering a corner and actually pivot the car as if an anchor had been dropped.[/background]
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this considered the "cheap" way of torque vectoring (lateral braking control)? Mercedes pioneered this as far as I'm aware, and even Ford has been using it on the Focus for a while now.
 

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Nice post! The 12c is so sexy and such a tempting jump from the GTR but the maintenance that comes with "proper" super cars is so terrifying.
 

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Fantastic write up. As we also own a GTR and 12c, I pretty much agree with everything you have written. I prefer the launch on the GTR 10x over than the 12c. GTR is a dig monster.
 

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that was a great write up. when i was considering another car along side the GTR i test drove the MP4, and along side the GTR it didn't wow me like i thought it would, but you only get so much out of a test drive. I wonder what your comparison would be between the MP4 and a Huracan.
Are you keeping the GTR? I couldn't get rid of it as i love the performance for a car that i can drive to work, i wouldn't dare drive the Huracan to work.
 

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Great review and write up!
 

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Jason,

great write up

I'm curious to see how the 12c would do vs my car off a 40 roll. maybe we can get the run in before the winter hits
 

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Brilliant! Thanks for sharing. I aspire to add a McLaren to the stable. I'm curious if you've had any seat time in the 650S? Do you think the 650S is an evolution of the 12C in the same spirit as a CBA GT-R to the DBA?
 

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Great write up. I have a GTR and 650s and as I was reading your post there was a lot of yep, yes, agree etc.

From a dig the GTR always makes me smile, the 650s just leaves me with a permanent smile. To be fair though the 650s is much newer to me, I'm on my second GTR (2011 and then 2014)
 

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Great post! Thanks for the perspective!
 
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