Driven: McLaren MP4-12C MSO Spider

Some of you will know that I recently won the chance to pick any car off the floor at Daytona Group to take for a spin. The choices they had available at the time were truly epic but there was one car that caught my eye the second I saw it. I was so excited in fact that I immediately shared pictures on the blog of the car and confessed my love for McLaren Special Operations (MSO). Now when I shared these pictures, I really didn’t even think twice about being able to drive the car but little did I know that I was about to win a drive in it. This weekend was the weekend that I got to drive it. The ultimate road-going MP4-12C (in my opinion) the MSO Spider.

Arriving at Daytona Group is always awesome because the chances of seeing something special parked inside or outside are very special. Today was extremely different because I knew I was about to drive one of those special cars. I walked into the dealership and there she was, the only MSO Spider in the country, and I was about to get my hands on the wheel.

Myself and the sales manager left the showroom floor (he was driving) and I already had that excited feeling in my stomach. Cruising around Sandton in auto mode and the most comfortable suspension setting selected, I immediately noticed how civilised the car was. Obviously being a supercar you expect everything to be tight and you do indeed feel the little bumps in the road a bit more but I was incredibly surprised as to how ‘normal’ it was? Seeing as I was in the passenger seat, I had some time to tinker with the navigation and sound system interface. The touch screen is just the right sensitivity and I was flicking through the menu’s in no time at all. This particular car had the optional Meridian sound system which produces seriously quality sound but for me this is not important with a twin-turbo V8 behind you.

Getting into the driver’s seat my heart rate really picked up and I knew I was in for something quite extraordinary. I pulled off in Auto mode so the car flicked through the gears rather swiftly and easily until we were cruising along the highway in 7th gear sitting at 2500rpm. The car is quieter than some of the luxury sedans I was passing which is good when you are not in the mood to push the power pedal (not sure if this would ever happen to me). I spotted my gap, pulled the left paddle a few times to select 2nd gear and hammered the accelerator. This is when all hell breaks loose. The turbo’s spooled up which honestly sounded like a tornado behind you and I knew I was about to be rocketed forward by all 616 horses. Holy sh#t was the first thought through my mind as I buzzed through that gearbox. That has to be the most mind-bending acceleration I have ever experienced. It was now in Manual and I was flicking through the gears and you cannot comprehend how fast you need to change to keep up with the relentless power. I did that again and again and again. It is impossible to get tired of it!

Once we were off the highway, we put the roof up (which happens rather swiftly and up to 50km/h) and had some fun from robot to robot. Although with the roof up the sound of the engine is louder, you simply cannot own a Spider and drive with the roof up on a gloriously sunny day. So roof back off and back to concentrating on my drive. Thanks to the endless number of speed bumps in South African suburbs, I was able to test the lift kit which lifts the nose slightly and makes it an absolute breeze to get over them. The speedy bits of the drive were done and now I was simply enjoying the drive in a close on R5 million supercar seeing as this does not happen every day (although one day it will). This McLaren really showed that you can drive a proper supercar everyday with little to no hassle at all. I urge those with this sort of bank balance to just go and have a look at the car for yourself. It is properly beautiful to look at and the level of technology and refinement of this car is endless (just like the 616hp twin-turbo V8 sitting behind you). What a drive and what a day! I am still smiling like a little boy as I type this!

A huge thanks to Justin Divaris (CEO of Daytona Group) and Grant Dryden (Sales Manager McLaren SA) for the opportunity to drive one of the fastest and most capable supercars around.

Thanks to Marc Rudman for snapping some awesome pics of myself behind the wheel of the car pulling into the dealership. Some more pictures on FB.

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