Wheels (Australia) - - Garage -

AI I’m not ex­actly sure why, but I’ve al­ways thought that ‘own­ing’ a su­per­car would bring cer­tain so­cial draw­backs. You know, the kind where peo­ple la­bel you a ‘tosser’ and make funny hand sig­nals with their pinkies. I once wit­nessed a pre­vi­ous ed­i­tor of Wheels emerge from his house to find the Lam­borgh­ini he’d parked out front now cov­ered in eggs. For some rea­son, how­ever, this doesn’t ap­ply to the Mclaren. Peo­ple ab­so­lutely adore it.

CK Look, I don’t doubt the Macca is a neck snap­per, but I have been get­ting the same kind of re­ac­tion in the Jimny – and I didn’t even have to pre­tend I’ve got the GDP of a small na­tion hid­den down the back of my couch. Blokes in dual-cab utes have stuck their heads out the win­dow to catch a glimpse of the Ten­nis Ball in traf­fic, peo­ple slap their friends on the arm and point as I drive by – com­mut­ing is a truly con­spic­u­ous ex­pe­ri­ence.

AI Con­spic­u­ous? Try stand­ing next to the Mclaren on a fuel sta­tion fore­court when a burly truck driver starts charg­ing to­wards you, shout­ing “Mate, are you kid­ding me!” At first I thought he was mount­ing some kind of at­tack. He was hu­u­u­u­uge, heav­ily mous­tached and ap­proach­ing at a speed that made es­cap­ing in­side the car impossible. But then: “This thing is in­cred­i­ble! I can’t be­lieve it. We never see Mclarens. Quite a few Porsches and Fer­raris but Mclarens are rare. How’s it go?” That rar­ity, and the fact it looks oth­er­worldly – is there a more vis­ually dra­matic car maker right now than Mclaren? – seems to be the rea­son peo­ple are drawn to it.

CK There doesn’t seem to be one sin­gle cat­a­lyst for the Jimny’s at­ten­tion­hog­ging ways. For some, it’s the de­light­fully retro looks and Ten­nis Ball colour combo, but I sus­pect much of it is car­ried over from the cul­tural im­pact of the pre­ced­ing three gen­er­a­tions which had an en­vi­able rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing in­fal­li­ble both out bush and in the high coun­try. Oh, and it’s just about the an­tithe­sis to ev­ery­thing else you

MCLAREN 570GT Price as tested: $538,845 This month: 874km @ 13.3L/100km

can buy to­day. It waves a pint-sized mid­dle fin­ger to mak­ing a sen­si­ble pur­chase, and peo­ple like that.

AI One of the best things about driv­ing cars like this is get­ting to share them. I once parked in a Mcdonald’s and couldn’t leave for 30 min­utes be­cause of the wave of pre­pubescence that de­scended upon it. Some of them knew it was a Mclaren but most didn’t. They were drawn to its looks. Few su­per­cars have this much drama sit­ting still.

CK While the Jimny doesn’t have those bed­room poster looks that kids love, there doesn’t seem to be a gen­dered split in at­ten­tion when it comes to the Jimny. Ev­ery­one just adores it. I was ac­costed in a car park by a trolley-pushing mother who wanted to know ex­actly what the new Jimny was like. Turns out she had owned one in her youth and had al­ways re­gret­ted hav­ing to let it go.

But the most ex­u­ber­ant re­ac­tions have been from other Jimny own­ers. A fe­male third-gen Jimny owner looked like she had just won the lotto as we crossed paths one morn­ing, flash­ing her lights and wav­ing with so much en­thu­si­asm I thought her hand might be­come de­tached. Two gen­tle­men in a fourth-gen lined up against me at the lights with win­dows down, and bel­lowed “JIMNY POWER!” in sheer de­light. I bet you don’t get that in a Mclaren 570.

AI Fi­nal point on good­will. Lots of it comes your way when you’re swan­ning about in the Mclaren. Peo­ple don’t re­sent you as a rich wanker. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, they see you as some­one to share in the thrill.

CK So, any chance I can have a spin?

SUZUKI JIMNY Price as tested: $24,490 This month: 436KM @ 8.2L/100KM

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