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I recently had the opportunity to borrow McLaren’s new MP4-12C for a weekend, a gesture extended by Al Habtoor Motors, McLaren’s agents in the UAE.

I picked the car up after a visit to the showroom, which was supposed to include a 15 minutes familiarization session with the car’s features. I ended up spending over 3 hours there! We did not feel the time passing by as we discussed one of man’s best topics (besides women and football), namely cars. I was so happy to find the team at Al Habtoor Motors very well informed about not only their car’s technology and features, but about the motorsport industry and its history.

It was already evening by the time I left the dealership. On my way out, I was told to drive at 80km/h over the speed-bumps opposite the showroom. The sales team sounded so confident with this challenge that I decided to try it. To my surprise, the car crossed the speed bump so smoothly in its suspension’s comfort mode that I hardly noticed it. It was almost like a saloon car.

The first evening was spent cruising The Walk in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence – the car driving very comfortably in automatic mode – before we stopped for dinner and coffee. I noticed that the car was not grabbing as much attention as I had expected. The fact that this is McLaren’s first ‘mass production’ car – a lesser-known animal than say a Ferrari or Lamborghini – probably had a lot to do with it. Perhaps it was the understated white paintwork, or the VERY quiet exhaust valves. I use my Maserati GranTurismo S on a daily basis, so you can imagine the type of symphony I am used to while driving.

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