How To Make A McLaren 12C Sound Better Than A Ferrari 458

The McLaren 12C is a fantastic car, there’s no disputing this fact. It was born from years of street and race proven technology and received by the automotive community with open arms. But there was something missing.

The performance within was heralded as a real milestone for the “super sports car” segment. With self leveling suspension and some super slippery aerodynamics paired with an extremely potent turbocharged V8, the car quickly catapulted itself far beyond what most drivers are capable of fully exploiting.

Much like the Nissan GT-R, the technology packaged into the 12C leaves the driver a bit insulated from the very aspects that made cars like the Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Countach so endeared among enthusiasts. They weren’t easy to use, they were loud, and they weren’t really good for much other than driving quickly.

Last weekend I encountered a 12C Spider whose owner had quite properly mitigated one of these aspects. The stock exhaust on the 12C has a nice purr to it but is decidedly quiet when revved next to something like a Ferrari 458 or Mercedes SLS. The turbochargers muffle the sound from the 12C, to the point where you’re left pining for the crack of an Italian V8 or the bellow of a German V8.

The solution comes in the form of the McLaren Sport Exhaust, which, as far as I can tell is just straight pipes. One of my favorite mantras perfectly applies here: louder is better. The free flowing pipes expel exhaust gasses with a new timbre, the roar under power assaults your eardrums in the best way, with crackling overrun off-throttle as the cherry on top.

NOTE: I should have listened when they said it spits flames…this GoPro was hanging onto the back of the car by a thread of melted plastic, but somewhat incredibly the thing fired right back up after it cooled down and I put a fresh battery in.

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