Are McLarens really as bad as the snobs say?
McLaren is a very young brand in the world of supercar manufacturers and perhaps that’s part of the reason why people like to pick on it.
Amongst the supercar community, people sometimes turn their noses up at McLarens, claiming they’re inferior in certain ways and that they’re not up to the standard that you should expect with a car that costs as much as a house.
As an average non-supercar-owning motor enthusiast, these opinions may not be known, living only in the gated perimeters of the elite circles and ultra-wealthy. Well, we’re going to explore these nested stigmas and try to understand them as ordinary people that drive old Toyota Celicas and Fiesta STs.
Just like how humans represent a minuscule dot on the timeline of the world, McLaren is also brand new to the game of producing supercars. Their first production car was the F1 and it was regarded as one of the greatest supercars ever made. That was in 1992 and by this time, supercar brands such as Ferrari, Bugatti, Porsche and even Lamborghini had been making cars for decades.
This process includes learning from mistakes, understanding how to make quality cars and learning the processes to do so efficiently. McLaren hit the road running with the F1 but as time has gone on, the differences between a historical brand such as Ferrari and a fresh-out-of-highschool brand such as McLaren have become more apparent, apparently.
Now I’m not one to turn my nose up at a McLaren when I see one. They’re beautiful and ridiculously fast, both in a straight line and around a circuit. However, there are plenty of Ferrari owners, Lamborghini owners, even Audi R8 owners and BMW M3 owners, that scoff at the thought of McLaren being one of the ‘greats’ in the supercar industry.
McLarens have a reputation issue it would seem. A reputation for catching fire, such as when YouTuber Salomondrin’s McLaren Senna went up in flames by its own accord, or when a Senna caught fire with McLaren Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger behind the wheel, or when a 570S went up in flames at the University of Hertfordshire in April last year. McLaren ended up announcing a huge recall affecting several models citing fire risk due to poor design with insulation foam near the engine. But hey, what supercar company doesn’t have a few of their cars catch fire, right?
Well, perhaps the stigma also comes from the awful panel gaps often found in their cars. The kind of panel gaps you would expect on a pickup truck. The kind you wouldn’t want to use your phone around in case you dropped it in it. If you thought panel gaps on a £50,000 Tesla were bad, wait till you see it on a £215,000 car!
Ok, sure they have panel gaps and may catch fire, still not put off? Well one complaint of ‘authenticity’ as some supercar snobs would say, is that McLarens are essentially all the same. They all look very similar, all named similarly and most of them share the M838T engine. In fact, the engine can be traced back to the MP4-12C and is also used in the 650S, 675LT, P1, P1 GTR, 540C, 570S and 600 LT.
Amongst other things such as a rumoured ‘VIP Package’ that you have to buy to have the panel gaps sorted out, reliability issues, failing infotainment systems, poor after-sale service and more, these are just a few of the whispers that we hear.
Are McLarens failing to reach the same level of quality and mystique that other supercar brands have reached, or are haters just clutching at straws? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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This article is purely for entertainment purposes and not all factually accurate.
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