You spring open the MP4’s dramatic insect-wing door by sweeping a hand along a flush surface tucked under the side scoop’s upper edge. Leading with your right leg followed by a dab of body English, it’s an easy glide into the nicely bolstered seat. There’s a huge 9000-rpm tach and a steering wheel unburdened by switchgear, with a center-pivoting shift paddle. The leather and faux suede are sewn to Savile Row standards.
The most impressive part of the cockpit is the intelligently arranged center console. There’s a big red button to fire the engine, one knob to set handling parameters, a second knob to adjust powertrain behavior, and five logically positioned single-function buttons. The less critical controls are positioned out of the action zone on column stalks, along the armrests, and on the dash below the instrument cluster.
The MP4 has two special weapons found in no other supercar. Its hydraulic suspension so inhibits body roll that it handles tight jinks with a go-kart’s agility. And the rear airfoil, which springs to attention during hard braking, adds yards to every straightaway.
The MP4 has the moves of a master and the brains of a child prodigy. It verges close enough to perfect that Ferrari will feel the heat of a serious competitor while other supercar makers will struggle to match this combination of value, performance, and technological intrigue.
The MP4 checks the crucial speediness and joy-ride boxes. It’s quick and decisive when whipped and clever enough to flatter its driver. Turn-in is crisp, and the cornering attitude is readily adjustable. If you charge a bend with excess speed, the MP4 automatically dabs its inside rear brake to mitigate the understeer you provoked. Add throttle prematurely exiting a turn, and the tail will step wide but never in a threatening manner because the stability-control system engages unobtrusively to save the day. Amateurs will enjoy this ride, good drivers will feel like track stars, and great pilots will find the MP4 a handy tool for polishing their skills. There’s something here for everybody.
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||9,700 km (6,000 mi)
||V8, Twin Turbo
||3,799 cc (232 cu-in)
||Electronic Fuel Injection
||459 kW (592 hp) @ 7,500 rpm
||600 Nm (443 lb-ft) @ 3,000 rpm
||Rear Wheel Drive
||7-Speed dual-clutch automated manual with console buttons, steering-mounted shift paddles & launch mode
||Independent double-wishbones, coil springs, driver-adjustable multi-mode variable dampers, hydraulic roll, pitch and warp control
||19" x 8.5"
||Pirelli P Zero 235/35ZR19 91Y
||14.6" two-piece ventilated cross-drilled cast-iron discs with 4-piston fixed calipers
||Independent double-wishbones, coil springs plus z-bar heave spring, driver-adjustable multi-mode variable dampers, hydraulic roll, pitch and warp control
||20" x 11"
||Pirelli P Zero 305/30ZR20 99Y
||13.8" two-piece ventilated cross-drilled cast-iron discs with 4-piston fixed calipers and secondary single-piston sliding calipers for the parking brake system
Dimensions & Weight
||1,434 kg (3,161 lb)
||1,199 mm (47.2 in)
||2,670 mm (105.1 in)
|Fuel Tank Capacity
||72 L (19 gal)
|Number of Seats