Spannerhead Dot

Design Showdown:
McLaren P1 vs. LaFerrari

March 6, 2013 by Matt

McLaren Ferrari Logos

In anticipation of their reveal at the upcoming 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the automotive world is abuzz with talk of the latest offerings from perennial Formula 1 and road-going supercar rivals McLaren and Ferrari.

You can read more about their staggering technical specs here; for now, let’s examine them from a design standpoint and weigh in on which one is more aesthetically successful, or, to tip my hand a bit, which one is less ugly.

Our first contender is McLaren’s so-called F1 successor, the P1. Sinewy and organic, the eyebrow-like McLaren logo is echoed in many places throughout the bodywork. Like its little brother the MP4-12C, though, the P1 manages to look dramatic and somewhat anonymous at the same time. Its lines don’t strike me as being particularly resolved, and as such the whole car has a nervous, fragile, unsettled look about it.

McLaren P1 Yellow

McLaren P1 Yellow

McLaren P1 Interior Inside Cockpit Console Dash Dashboard

Next up is the brand new follow-on to the Enzo, the ridiculously-named Ferrari LaFerrari. Unveiled in the past couple of days, the LaFerrari certainly looks more conventional than its British competitor. Still, the black roof and stock supercar proportions combine to make it look like a cutting-edge supercar for, say, 1994.

Ferrari LaFerrari Red

Ferrari LaFerrari Red

Ferrari LaFerrari Interior Inside Cockpit Console Dash Dashboard

On the merits of its styling, which do you prefer? I honestly can’t pick a favorite. I appreciate the creativity of the P1, but the LaFerrari’s lines are more resolved overall. Until an automaker can pen a supercar design at once fresh-looking, well-proportioned, with exquisite detailing and above all, beautiful—yes, I do believe it can be done—I don’t know that I will have a dog the burgeoning supercar fight, a conflict that includes not only the cars featured in this post, but offerings from Porsche, Pagani and Lamborghini as well.

Image credits:

Filed under: Aesthetics, Ferrari, McLaren, News


  1. John D says:

    I kind of like the Ferrari. The McLaren is pretty amazing to behold and gorgeous piece of art, but a bit difficult to know what to make of it and where it fits because it just looks so…’other’…if you know what I mean. I mean, when I look at it I don’t think ‘supercar’ at all. It’s pretty cool and I would love to see it in person, watching my own reaction to it…but for the here and now I think I lean towards the Ferrari simply because it’s more recognizable as a supercar. Basically looks like another take (or mid model facelift) of the 458 Italia. Add pointy nose, lots of sheet metal oragami and *presto*, a “new” supercar! Gotta keep the fickle billionaires entertained, doncha know…

    • Matt says:

      Haha :)

      I agree. I’m not wild about either but I lean toward the Ferrari as well. One thing’s for sure: It will be fun to see them in action on Top Gear or another show!

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